In her novel I Always Loved You, author Robin Oliveira imagines a passionate scene between Edgar Degas — a French artist known for his paintings of dancers — and Mary Cassatt — an American painter known for her scenes of family life. The kiss in the novel is pure fiction, but then again, “nobody knows what goes on in their neighbor’s house, let alone what happened between two artists 130 years ago,” Oliveira says.
A new exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., explores the tumultuous, passionate, artistic relationship between the two artists.
“In many ways, [it] is a romance of two like minds who admired one another greatly, and who I believe completely relied on one another for artistic and emotional help,” Oliveira says. “Their relationship is a sort of an elevated, intellectual love affair that tied them to one another for the rest