“Cassatt was a woman painting in Impressionism, which was usually dominated by men, and an American when most were French,” director of finance Weijun Robertson says of her staff pick, Mary Cassatt’s painting The Child’s Caress (1890). Seated on the couch in the Impressionist gallery, Robertson explains the connection she has felt to the Cassatt work since she started working at the museum in 2011.
“I have this feminist thing about me,” she says. “I think it’s so neat that Cassatt was one of few women who have done this, and it’s kind of how I feel in my position. I am the first woman in my position here, and most directors of finance across non-profits, I would think, are old white men. So it’s cool that this painting has that element to it.”
The painting also has more personal resonances for Robertson. “I didn’t realize how much I liked it until I had my second child,” she says. “He does the exact same thing to me, puts his hand right on my mouth, and it drives me crazy—with babies, you just don’t know where there hands have been!”
Robertson points out that while the title and subject matter of Cassatt’s painting may seem inherently sweet, a mother and child, the work can also evoke the realities of motherhood. On closer inspection, the mother’s slack, downward-gazing face certainly seems to share in that feeling.