Mary Cassatt

Susan Cantey's picture

Mary Cassatt



Liner Notes: 

I was going to read several artist biographies, but I liked the first one I read on Mary went with her story for week 11's challenge. If I liked this song enough I'd probably redo the chorus to give it more contrast musically with the verses and probably also add an instrumental bridge. However, I'm not that engaged in this particular that won't be happening.

Mary Cassatt encountered a lot of difficulty exhibiting & selling her works because women in the 1800's were not considered to be serious artists. Female artists were relegated to sitting in museums, making copies of famous paintings for which they were paid a pittance. Even Mary's father disapproved of her artwork. He paid for her food and lodging, but refused to contribute money for art supplies. Nevertheless, with the help of Degas, and with occasional off and on reluctant acceptance by those in charge of France's exhibitions, Mary Cassatt did eventually gain the respect she deserved. Neither she nor Degas ever married, (Mary said that marriage would interfere with her work) but they remained close friends until his death in 1917. By 1915, however, Mary was forced to give up painting altogether as diabetes slowly stole her vision. For the next 11 years, until her death—on June 14, 1926, in Le Mesnil-Théribus, France—Mary Cassatt lived in almost total blindness, bitterly unhappy to be robbed of her greatest source of pleasure.

Many of Mary Cassatt's paintings were of mother and child. Was she subconsciously sad that she never had a child? In my song, her paintings are her children.

I'm getting an error message when I try to post the recording. WTH?? I posted it on SoundCloud instead. Did it work?


Mary Cassatt
Susan Cantey © 2016

A mother tenderly holds her child
You tenderly hold your brush
A mother bathes and feeds her child
You do not
Some of your children live
Some of your children died
Though you’re gone
You still live on
Mary Cassatt
Mary Cassatt

Young Girls Pursuing Fame
The Boating Party
Lilacs in the Window
Under the Horse Chestnut Tree
These are your children
These are your children

First they told you not to paint
You asked them “Why?”
They said you were just a girl
You sighed
Some of your children live
Some of your children died
You lost your eyes
But never cried
Mary Cassatt
Mary Cassatt

Two Women Picking Fruit
Children on the Beach
Jules Dried by His Mother
Margo in Blue, Tea
These are your children
These are your children

Instrumental Outro

Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


cindyrella's picture

I loved her work! I love what you did with this! Many good lines and a very good song!

sheamiejay's picture

Love the balance of the song structure. I like how "you lost your eyes but never cried" lines up together. I like how you continued with new names in the 2nd chorus. I might have used Mary 4x instead of the surname, since we already know from the title. A fitting tribute. Well done!

kahlo2013's picture

Really great take on the challenge and tribute to Mary Cassatt that captured aspects of her life and work well. As always your musical sensibility is lovely and your delivery is gorgeous!

Its always interesting to look at art and try to understand the inspiration in paintings. Nice translation of her bio into song. Yes the link works Smile

JaneG's picture

Sorry you don't think tjis is worth more work. I think it is.