Electronic Theses and Dissertations




Haelim Allen



Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History


General Art History

Committee Chair

William McKeown

Committee Member

Fred Albertson

Committee Member

Earnestine Jenkins


Mary Cassatt is acknowledged as a painter of women and of their daily lives, depicting such subjects as mothers bathing or cuddling their children, young women playing instruments, picking fruit, or attending performances; and girls running or sitting and reading. Her mural for The World Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago of 1893, and entitled, Modern Woman, continues in the same vein as her overall body of work. And yet, Cassatt understood that this mural was decorative in nature with its own visual tradition. The mural is a composition, the largest that Cassatt ever painted, about women and, in this case, modern women. Modern Woman and women’s participation in world expositions in the United States near the turn of the century marked a pivotal point in history for women. Her painting embodies a progressive aspect seen not only in its subject matter, women’s work, but also in the manner in which it was painted. It shows the continued influence of Impressionism and her openness to experimentation. The two initial world expositions were held in the United States (each included a women’s pavilion), the World Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, and the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. As such, Mary Cassatt’s mural and the world expositions housing a pavilion for women reflect the increasing desire by women to have their voices heard. This thesis will examine these exceptional and radical gender-specific spaces celebrating womanhood.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.