North Carolina Museum Acquires Mary Cassatt’s “Madame X”


The North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) in Raleigh has acquired its first painting by Mary Cassatt thanks to a gift from Charlotte Hanes who, with her late husband R. Philip Hanes Jr. — in whose memory the work was gifted — has been its longtime owner.

“We are very excited and fortunate to acquire this beautiful portrait by Mary Cassatt — the Museum’s first major work by an American female artist before Georgia O’Keeffe,” John Coffey, the NCMA’s deputy director for art and curator of American and modern art, said in a statement. “That Madame X addresses the evolving role of women in modern society is equally important. In my opinion, it is not only the Museum’s most important 19th-century painting by a female artist — it is our finest 19th-century portrait.”

The 1877-78 painting, “Portrait of Madame X Dressed for the Matinée” (above), was recently seen at another North Carolina institution, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, and will go on view at the NCMA this month.

“Painted by an American in Paris,” Coffey added, “‘Portrait of Madame X Dressed for the Matineée’ testifies to the transatlantic dialogue that greatly enriched American art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries”

— Benjamin Sutton (@bhsutton)

(Image: Mary Cassatt, “Portrait of Madame X Dressed for the Matinée,” 1877-78. Gift of Charlotte Hanes in memory of her husband, R. Philip Hanes Jr., and gift of anonymous donors.)