Words by Jessica Peace
American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt was known as ‘painter and poet of the nursery’, when living in Paris and knockin’ about with Edgar Degas and the like she saw the exhibition of Japanese ‘ukiyo-e’ prints at the école des Beaux-Arts (1890). Heavily influenced by the Japanese style Cassat finished ‘Under the Horse Chestnut Tree’ (1898) some years later, bringing together her fascination with nature and children.
Thought to be about 200 years old when it eventually blew down, the ‘Anne Frank Tree’ was the horse chestnut tree which consoled Anne during her hiding. When her Dad Otto Frank read her diary he was moved by Anne’s mentions of the tree and her response to nature from the prism of the annexe window remarking, ‘She only found consolation in thinking about nature. But she had kept such feelings completely to herself’.