When Mary met Edgar: Exploring Cassatt and Degas

There are love stories about kindred spirits. There are others about far-off admirers. This is a story of both. In 2014, Christopher Ward visited an art exhibit that explored the relationship between French Impressionist Edgar Degas and American artist Mary Cassatt. The two were inseparable in the late 1870s. They kept studios blocks from each other in Paris and met frequently when in town. Ward, a playwright, was captivated by the pair. “I looked at my wife and said, ‘This is a play,’” he recently recalled. Ward’s “The Independents,” which began performances Thursday at the Jerry Orbach Theater in Manhattan, explores the artists’ relationship in the late 1870s. “I’ve always loved Mary Cassatt,” Ward said. Like writers before him, Ward was curious about the dynamic between the Cassatt and Degas. Cassatt, a single woman who moved to Paris in

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