The Academy Art Museum is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, Mary Cassatt: Labor and Leisure. Concurrent with this exhibition, the Museum will also feature Labor and Leisure in the Permanent Collection, which includes complementary works from AAM’s permanent collection. An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, January 20 from 5:30–7:00 pm.
In conjunction with this exhibition, Robyn Asleson, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the National Portrait Gallery, will speak about Mary Cassatt’s life and works on Friday, March 31 at 6:00 pm. This program is free to the public.
“This exhibition features several of Cassatt’s best-known etchings, such as In the Omnibus and The Banjo Lesson, among other works, as well as an oil sketch and a state of a print that gives insight into the artist’s process. The title, Labor and Leisure, highlights the intertwined nature of domestic work and recreation for women of the time. Cassatt’s observations of her subjects present a full, dignified and profound picture of life in this sphere. The exhibition also gives viewers an opportunity to consider Cassatt’s diverse and changing influences throughout her career, from Impressionism to Japanese woodblock printing,” states Curator Mehves Lelic.
Mary Cassatt (American, 1844-1926) is undoubtedly one of the greatest American artists in history. She has contributed subtle yet powerful and lucid observations of women’s daily lives, with a particular focus on the tender moments between mothers and their children, presenting them as artistic subjects worthy of full, nuanced consideration. Mary Cassatt: Labor and Leisure includes Cassatt’s permeating depictions of domestic labor and recreation and underlines the complex relationship between women and society in light of the worlds of, and expectations from, the women of the time.
Presenting important etchings, aquatints and oils on loan from the New York Public Library, Adelson Gallery New York, and the High Museum of Art, as well as works from the Museum’s Permanent Collection, this exhibition offers a look into Cassatt’s evolving style and influences in artmaking, from Japanese printmaking to the Impressionists, and invites viewers to consider the relationship between the women she depicts and the multi-layered societal forces at play.
Accompanying Mary Cassatt: Labor and Leisure, this exhibition includes works from the Museum’s Permanent Collection that present diverse and sometimes intertwined depictions of work and play. A counterpoint to Cassatt’s delicate interpretations of labor at home and in carefully composed social settings, Labor and Leisure in the Permanent Collection seeks to inspire conversations about the staggering range of human toil and recreation and expands on the arc of these two concepts from the late 16th century to the present day. The show includes works by a wide range of artists, including Paul Cezanne, Hendrick Goltzius, David Hockney, Beth van Hoesen, Tom Miller, and Robert Rauschenberg.
Robyn Asleson: Curator of Prints and Drawings at the National Portrait Gallery
Friday, March 31, 6 pm
Join us to hear Dr. Robyn Asleson speak about Mary Cassatt’s extraordinary life and work, touching on her take on domestic imagery and her support of women’s suffrage. Asleson will discuss many of Cassatt’s important works on view in Mary Cassatt: Labor & Leisure, including The Banjo Lesson, In the Omnibus, and Under the Horse Chestnut Tree. This lecture is part of the Kittredge-Wilson lecture series made possible by the generous support of Paul Wilson.
Robyn Asleson joined the National Portrait Gallery in 2016. Her exhibition projects at the Portrait Gallery include Brilliant Exiles: American Women in Paris, 1900–1939 (2024), the team-curated Kinship (2022), and Portraits of the World (2016-20), a series of spotlight exhibitions featuring individual portraits on loan from international museums, placed in conversation with works from the Portrait Gallery collection. She was venue curator for the exhibition John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal (2020) and is currently developing an exhibition of nineteenth-century American theatrical portraits, Staging America: Theater and National Identity, 1812-1912 (2026).
In 2016, Asleson co-organized the exhibition The Lost Symphony: Whistler and the Perfection of Art at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. The exhibition built on Asleson’s many publications on the Aesthetic Movement in the United States and Great Britain, including a monograph on the influential English painter Albert Moore (2000) and her prize-winning doctoral dissertation, Classic into Modern: The Inspiration of Antiquity in English Painting,1864-1918 (1993). Asleson holds B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University.
Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Mrs. Gardner Cassatt and Her Baby Seated Near a Window, 1889, Drypoint, Samuel Putnam Avery Collection, Print Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, the New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Under the Horse-Chestnut Tree, 1896-97, Aquatint and drypoint on paper, Courtesy of Adelson Gallery
Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Baby Charles Looking Over His Mother’s Shoulder (no. 2), c. 1900, Pastel counterproof, Academy Art Museum Permanent Collection, Gift of Howard and Joanne Sorkin, 2019
Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), Tibetan Garden Song, 1985 – 1986, Cello, Chrome-Plated Washtub, Glycerine, Chinese Scrollmaker’s Brush, Mirrored Ple, Gift of Drs. Donald and Ruth Saff in Honor of Anne and Philip Simon, 2007. Art @ Robert Rauschenberg Estate / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Included in Labor and Leisure in the Permanent Collection
As the premier art museum on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the Academy Art Museum presents high-quality exhibitions and a full range of art classes for visitors of all ages. Past exhibitions have featured artists such as James Turrell, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Pat Steir and Richard Diebenkorn. The permanent collection focuses on works on paper by American and European artists from four centuries including recent acquisitions by Graciela Iturbide and Zanele Muholi. Arts educational programs range from life drawing lessons to digital art instruction, and include lunchtime and cocktail hour concerts, lectures and special art events, as well as a Fall Craft Show celebrating 25 years. AAM also provides arts education to school children from the region and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
Location: 106 South Street, Easton, Maryland
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Thursday-Friday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Saturday-Sunday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Closed Mondays and Federal holidays.
Currently on view at the Academy Art Museum: Earth Abides: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Cheryl Warrick: Abstract Surge and Hoesy Corona: Terrestrial Caravan.