"I have touched with a sense of art some people Ů they felt the love and the life. Can you offer me anything to compare to that joy for an artist?"
The first American Impressionist artist, Mary Cassatt pushed to go to art school, and immediately after graduation left to study in Paris.› While she showed in the Paris Salon in 1868, she became disillusioned with its academic dictates. In 1877, she met Edgar Degas and joined the Impressionist movement, changing her painting style and subject matter to depict contemporary life.
By his own account, it was during one such stint in a jail in La Mancha that Cervantes conceived of his masterpiece, Don Quixote. Two years in writing, it was published to nearly instant acclaim. Within his lifetime it was translated into French and English, read and praised by many of the greatest writers of the day, including Shakespeare.
Although from 1874 until her death, Cassatt remained in France, she was responsible for the earliest American art collections of Impressionist and European art through her active promotion. In recognition of her contributions to the arts, France awarded her the prestigious "L»gion d'honneur" in 1904