November 20, 1989 12:00 PM

Here is a first-rate introduction to an extraordinary artist, of whom French painter Edgar Degas once exclaimed, “Then it really is a woman who paints as well as that!” This 30-minute production moves at a pleasant pace as it traces Cassatt’s unique career from the time she left Philadelphia in 1847 until her death in 1926. One annoying oversight: The works shown on the screen are frequently not identified. But skillfully shaded into the film is original source material in the form of letters and interviews with Cassatt’s niece and with art curator Adelyn D. Breeskin, who poses one interesting, if nonesthetic question: Were Cassatt and Degas lovers? Breeskin doesn’t think so. (Home Vision, $29.95; 800-262-8600)

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