Graduate student Cortney Anderson is currently writing her thesis on Mary Cassatt, her paintings and pastels of women performing needlecraft (particularly that of her sister in the painting Lydia at a Tapestry Frame), and their engagement with Medievalism. Her thesis advisor is Assistant Professor Kay Wells. Thanks to the generous contribution of the Jeffrey R. Hayes Graduate Research Award, Anderson was able to spend the week of January 12th in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.
Anderson reports, “The National Gallery of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art house expansive and important collections of her work. While visiting, I had the privilege of viewing these collections, as well as her works at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American Art. While in D.C., I worked at the Archives of American Art. They own a restricted collection of writings (letters and writings from and concerning Cassatt and her family) that can only be viewed on site. After studying at the Archives of American Art, I took the train to Philadelphia, Cassatt’s hometown. The Philadelphia Museum of Art takes great pride in their collection of her works. The museum owns a painting that I intend to discuss in my thesis: Mary Ellison Embroidering. They graciously allowed me to look over the object files for Cassatt’s works including that of Mary Ellison Embroidering and Portrait of [Brother] Alexander Cassatt and His Son. Overall, this trip gave me the opportunity to view dozens of Cassatt’s works in person as well as access to primary sources otherwise unavailable. I am truly grateful for this opportunity and the enormous contribution it has made to my research.”