Raised in an affluent family, Mary Cassatt (1844 – 1926) was one of the few 19th-century American women to become a professional artist in an era when wealthy women did not typically pursue a career. Cassatt studied in the United States, but spent most of her life in France. Mesmerized by the pastel work of Edgar Degas, she found it life-changing as she became an influential Impressionist. Children and motherhood were her principal subjects, skillfully painted with simplicity, vigorous brushwork and luminescent color. Cassatt's art is displayed in many private and public collections, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery.