Mary Cassatt, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, 1878
This painting was rejected from an exhibition where Cassatt was trying to show her work with American artists: the organizers objected to the pose of the child, with someone describing it as being of “almost sensual abandon,” which clearly speaks to the masculine point of view of the critic (and the art world in general at that point). The girl’s pose is almost like a parody of an adult image - even though the girl has one hand behind her head and the other near her hip, her expression speaks to a childhood petulance and boredom. Cassatt never had children herself, but she liked painting them because they had no preconceived notions of what was acceptable. Children, to Cassatt, were truthful and free from social constraints, something that Cassatt would have been hyper aware of in her capacity as a woman artist.