Faculty Book: Sally Webster
Eve's Daughter/Modern Woman: A Mural by Mary Cassatt, paperback edition
(University of Illinois Press, 2008)
Sally Webster reevaluates the typical dismissals of Mary Cassatt as an artist lacking radical convictions with an historical, aesthetic, and symbolist analysis of Cassatt's Modern Woman, a unique venture into the male-dominated realm of large-scale mural painting commissioned for the Woman's Building at Chicago's 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. The author undertakes a complete overview of the mural, synthesizing a wide variety of interpretations and original observations to present the first complete treatment of the work. She connects the symbolism of the painting to Cassatt's life as a woman artist and a member of the Parisian avant-garde, and to the history of woman's emancipation. Dr. Webster ends with a detective story as she joins the hunt to unravel the mystery of the now-missing mural, last known to be in the possession of Mrs. Potter Palmer (of Chicago's Palmer House family). Sally Webster is a professor of art history at Lehman College and the Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: AUG 15, 2008