Cassatt, Mary. WOMAN WITH OPERA GLASSES (STUDY FOR "IN THE LOGE"). Drawing, Pencil, circa 1878. 5 x 8 1/2 inches (sheet).In excellent condition.
With the estate stamp "Mary Cassatt - Collection Mathilde."
This is one of a few preparatory sketches for the painting "In the Loge," now in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. In the discussion of the painting on its website, the MFA states: "About the time this picture was painted, Cassatt began to carry a small sketchbook in which she swiftly recorded people and scenes that might later become subjects of paintings, as in the preparatory sketch for In the Loge shown here [MFA illustrates another preparatory drawing]."
Mathilde Valet served as Mary Cassatt's housekeeper, maid and companion. According to the same note, Adelyn Breeskin, Curator of Contemporary Art for the National Collection of Fine Arts, told David Rust that Mary Cassatt left her atelier to her housekeeper, Mathilde Valet, who sold it a year later at auction. Two other sketchbook studies for "At the Opera," also with the "Collection Mathilde" stamp are illustrated in Mary Mowll Matthews' book "Mary Cassatt," Abrams, 1987, with the following comment: "The two studies for At the Opera (with two others whose whereabouts are unknown) form an unusually complete series of preliminary drawings leading up to a finished composition. No Cassatt sketchbooks have survived, but it is evident that many of Cassatt's individual sketches were made on sheets from pocket-size sketchbooks of the type used by Degas and others of the Impressionist circle." This would appear to be one of the two missing drawings referred to above. The left edge of the sheet is uneven, apparently removed from a sketchbook.