Mary Cassatt will always be known as a "painter of mothers and children," but in her day she was also a rebel.
Cassatt was born in Pittsburgh in 1844 to well-to-do parents who greatly valued education and the benefits of travel. By the time she was 10, Cassatt had seen most of Europe's capitals.
But in 1865, against her family's wishes, Cassatt chose not to marry and moved to Paris to pursue an "unrespectable" career in art.
In Paris, Cassatt developed her subtle, unsentimental style and learned to be a strong-willed businesswoman. She also became the only American (and one of three women) to exhibit work with Degas, Monet, and Pissarro.
"Mary Cassatt: Modern Woman" is on exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago until Jan, 10, 1999. From there it will travel to Boston and Washington.