The 1889 exhibition of work by the Société de Peintres-Graveurs at Durand-Ruel gallery sparked a renewed interest among French artists in printmaking. Approximately 350 works were on view by a total of 39 artists, including Degas, Pissarro, Braquemond, Redon, Rodin, and Cassatt, who submitted an oil, pastel, and one or two etchings.1 The exhibition was very well received overall and Cassatt's prints garnered a favorable mention in a review by powerful critic Fénéon.2
Fueled by this success, Cassatt renewed her printmaking activity with fervor. Over the next year or so, she perfected her drypoint technique and created a portfolio of twelve, submitted to the next exhibition of the Société de Peintres-Graveurs in 1890 also at Durand-Ruel (see lots 45-51).3 It is unclear whether the edition was printed by Cassatt or a master printer. As this would have meant a total of 300 impressions, it would have been an enormous task. Her letter to Pissarro in the fall of 1889 leaves the matter undetermined, '[I] am working at my [drypoints], and have a printing press of my own which I find a great convenience, & a great pleasure, one ought to print all one's own plates only it is too hard work...'4
1. There is conflicting or inconclusive information on which prints and how many.
2. Mathews and Shapiro, p. 60-61.
3. She also created a portfolio of aquatints for the exhibition but the exact contents are not known.
4. As quoted in ibid., p. 61-62.