I recently purchased a painting by Mary Cassatt entitled "Child in a Straw Hat". I had been looking for a print of this piece for years but came upon this painting and had to purchase it. It is definitely an antique and is signed by the artist. The overall condition of this is very nice. The back is wired and ready for hanging. There is a strip of paper on the back that reads as follows: PM1713 | Mary Cassatt, 1844-1926| Child in a Straw Hat (c. 1886) | canvas | 0.648xo.489 m (251/2 x 19 1/4 in.) Lent by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon | National Gallery of Art, Washington . It is signed by Mary Cassatt in the bottom right hand corner. What are the odds that this is authentic? I am sure the original is hanging in a museum somewhere but is it possible that it is really her signature on the piece? How were copies of paintings made in the 1800s? I am very curious though it does not matter to me either way. I am very happy to simply have a copy of the picture for sentimental reasons. Thank you for your time.
Answer Dear Dana, Mary Cassatt is one of my favorites, too. The reproduction you have sounds like an offset litho transfer on canvas. Mary would not have signed a repro [and I don't even think that process on canvas goes back to the 19th century]. She did original lithographs, meaning they were created on stones and pulled, rather than copies of paintings, and those she signed in pencil. I am glad you found a copy of something you like so much. Continue to enjoy. I admire people who enjoy the arts. Alan.
I can provide sound advice on buying, collecting & understanding fine art, especially original works by 20th century masters and leading contemporary artists. I can also explain techniques used to create original works and offer tips on how to tell whether or not a piece is an original work of art.
I have been active in the art world for twenty-seven years. I owned and operated four galleries and a wholesale showroom on both coasts. We specialized in original works by 20th century masters and emerging artists. I have been an art consultant, artist's representative, lecturer, auctioneer, and curator. I had a radio show for two years, "Today's Art World with Alan Klevit" [Washington, D.C.]; hosted two television shows on the arts for six years [Los Angeles Area]; have written for numerous local papers and international art magazines; and currently write a syndicated column, "The Art Beat." I conduct art auctions for charities throughout the United States, and am a frequent speaker/auctioneer on upscale cruise ships, and at civic organizations and local television shows.
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Education/Credentials Undergraduate and graduate degrees from Georgetown University and The American University