In 1871 after graduating from the Art Academy in Pennsylvania, Mary Cassatt went to Paris. She soon made friends with the Impressionists and began exhibiting with them in 1879. Under the influence of Edgar Degas she became interested in Japanese prints. One can sense the impact of Degas' graphics on the work, but the energetic hatching and vivid colour are characteristic of Cassatt herself. The theme of the young mother holding a child in her arms became a key one in the artist's work and brought her widespread fame.