The hall up the road, where we went to the concert the other week, also shows films. In Sweden, films are shown in their native language. If the language isn’t Swedish, then the film is shown with Swedish subtitles. Obviously. We had a couple of choices today but, fortunately, we chose the first one. I say ‘fortunately’ because the second option was in French.
The film we watched was a biographical documentary about an American artist called Mary Cassett (1844-1926). I hadn’t heard of her though, having watched the documentary, I have seen at least one of her paintings.
The documentary was excellent. Mary was very much a feminist who believed that women could do anything they wanted to and set out to prove it. She knew she wanted to be an artist from a young age and portrayed a lot of women in her paintings. But she showed women in every day situations, doing every day things. This was revolutionary.
She found little success in the US, so she moved to France where she made friends with Edgar Degas who really loved her work and promoted her left, right and centre. She soon became one with the Impressionists and exhibited with them because she was rejected by the very conservative Paris Salon.
She painted some incredible works, including Woman with a Sunflower. It was hung in the National Gallery of Art in Washington for many years with the title Woman and child. Then, the amazing curator Nicole Georgopulos, discovered that the sunflower was an emblem of the American Women’s suffrage movement. Mary was big on the suffrage front so, obviously, the sunflower was pointing towards it. A little bit of symbolism genius.
Anyway, by the end of the film, we were all big fans of Mary and her works. I am so glad we went. I love learning about new artists and Mary was incredible.