This work is currently on display at the Degas / Cassatt exhibition at the National Gallery (I’m giving it one of those “Must Go!” Fandango ratings).
He studied the heck out of Cassatt’s pose for a variety of prints and sketches. Degas made 20 known versions, the second largest number of studies by the artist for a work.
Degas wrote, “Her slender…figure, neatly tailored, and her crisply furled umbrella all convey to us something of Mary Cassatt’s tense, energetic character.” In other words, 19th-century ice queen. Love it, Mary!
Henry P. McIlhenny owned and donated the sketch to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Andy Warhol once said McIlhenny was “the only person in Philadelphia with glamour.”