© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Mary Cassatt, American (Allegheny City, PA 1844 - 1926 Le Mesnil-Theribus, France)
Modeste Leroy, French
The Bath
Work Type
Physical Descriptions
Drypoint, softground etching and aquatint
plate: 31.9 x 24.9 cm (12 9/16 x 9 13/16 in.)
sheet: 43.5 x 30.4 cm (17 1/8 x 11 15/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: lower right, graphite pencil, in artist's hand : Imprimé par l'artiste et M. Leroy / Mary Cassatt / (25 épreuves)
  • stamp: center of lower platemark, blue ink, in artist's hand: Mary Cassatt's blue initial stamp (Lugt 604)
  • watermark: Arches
The artist; to Ambrose Vollard, Paris, 1926, bequest; to his heirs, 1939, sold; to Henri M. Petiet, Paris (Lugt 2021a), 1940, bequest; to his estate, 1980, sold; to Marc Rosen, New York, sold; to Harvard Art Museums, 2006
State, Edition, Standard Reference Number
xvii/xvii (final)
Standard Reference Number
B. 143; Mathews/Shapiro 5
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Dr. Ernest G. Stillman, Class of 1907, by exchange
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Label Text: 32Q: 2700 Impressionism , written 2014
Cassatt’s The Bath

At the instigation of Degas, Cassatt began making prints in the late 1870s. Unlike many of her contemporaries, who made lithographs, Cassatt experimented with aquatint and softground etching to create tone. These nine prints, trial proofs and a final state of The Bath, demonstrate her commitment to innovation.

A pioneering 1890 exhibition of Japanese color woodcuts in Paris inspired Cassatt to begin creating color prints to expand the tonal possibilities of her work. She used two plates, one for the drypoint lines and softground decoration in black and one for the tonal areas in color. These prints show Cassatt’s ingenuity and diligence in working out the process of combining line and color for the final state, as well as her use of colored papers and different inking techniques. These impressions in Harvard’s collection are historically significant as well. Cassatt kept them in her own “studio collection,” which included hundreds of experimental proofs, and they were still in her possession upon her death.

[2006.24.1-8, M14299]

Publication History

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), pp. 178-9, ill.

Exhibition History

32Q: 2700 Impressionism, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014 - 04/03/2015

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu