VIDEO: A Moment in Art History | The Boating Party – What Inspired Mary Cassatt’s Famous Painting?

The Boating Party is one of the most famous paintings by American-born artist Mary Cassatt, who lived in France for most of her career. In this Moment in Art History, we’ll explore why Cassatt often painted mothers and their children and some of the other elements that may have influenced the piece.


Artwork seen in the background:

Landscapes by Shalece Fiack –

Stone and Steel Sculptures by Charles Adams and Thomas Widhalm –

Portions of the script for this video were sourced from:

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.


  1. The Boating Party is a favorite of mine. But I wondered, Jason, which one offers the more accurate color (especially that vibrant green): the one in your presentation or the framed one from your Washington visit at the National Gallery of Art?
    I always have this dilemma of capturing the true colors in my paintings while photographing them with my old iPhone.

  2. Learning about the life of an artist is always fascinating and adds a great deal to the artwork. I knew van Gogh had a small collection of Japanese woodblocks from when he worked in a shop selling books/art–but did not realize so many other artists at the time also had them. Interesting too that art from other artists was bought with proceeds from sales of own artwork—perhaps an example we should all take to heart.

  3. Hi Jason. I really enjoy your Art Moments. Please keep them coming. By the way, I have your books “How to Sell Art” and “”Starving” to Successful”. Very helpful.
    I am a retired Architect who restarted painting in watercolours and Acrylic Mixed Media

  4. I like the perspective of the boating party, the dark rower vs the more pastel people and the angles that lead the eye. It draws one in and begs to learn more of the people themselves. Thanks for the reintroduction to the piece.

  5. I love this painting and it’s simple but powerful composition. But in her older works I was always very drawn by the play of sunlight on the forms and the glowing translucency of the skin on the people.

  6. Loved this “moment in history” about Mary Cassatt. She was definitely a woman who knew her own mind. I admire her tenacity in pursuing what she wanted to do in a time when women had so little choice about their lives. Her work may be modeled after other artists (as we all do from time to time) but she has a unique style all her own. Enjoyed the “moment”.

  7. Thank you very much. I enjoy it very much. One thing i still don’t quite understand, is, what about this painting makes it so famous. Thanks Jackie

  8. Loved learning about Mary Cassatt. I do like the painting and admire her composition, use of color and talent to produce this painting. It’s a shame that her sight was failing and that she is thought of a female painter for the time period in which she lived. She is a great painter and deserves all the accolades!

  9. Being a mother of many children, I enjoy Mary Cassatt’s works because they spark some lovely memories of raising my kids.

    I enjoy The Boating Party. The colors are great and the perspective is interesting. Thank you for the video focusing on Cassatt. I always enjoy your moments in art history.

  10. I am studying Mary Cassatt, because I will be representing her in a Women In History event in March. Your presentation was excellent in giving me much information about her in just a few minutes. You helped me learn a lot about her life and her career. I really appreciate your work. I am coming to love Mary Cassatt’s wonderful art. As a lifelong educator, I love children and so enjoy how she portrays them. Many thanks.

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