Thursday, January 4, 2018

Her Paris: Women artists in the Age of Impressionism at the Denver Art Museum

This exhibition showcases over 80 paintings by 37 women artists from 11 different countries who traveled to Paris to study and develop their careers between 1850 - 1920.
Paris was the core of the art world with all its museums, galleries, studios and vibrant city scene.  These women painters fought through the conventional academic system that had excluded them for centuries to create beautiful works that captured the life around them.
Self portraits and paintings of fellow artists were common.  The bulk of their training were from workshops and and special courses for they were not allowed  to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts until 1897.
Marcellini Desbooutin and His friends at The Louvre, before a Fresco by Botticelli
Norbert Goeneutte - 1892
The painting shows a young artist working at her easel duplicating the Botticelli's painting.  The large gap between her and the canvas and the men on the other side to me shows the division of men and women artists.
Berthe Morisot - 1885
Many of the women artist were influenced by some of the men artist of the period such as Degas, Monet and Pissarro.
In the Studio
Marie Bashkirtseff - 1881
An advocate for a women's art academy in Paris, the painting shows women working 
side-by-side at the Academic Julian.
A look of fascination in Mary Cassatt's, The Reader, 1877.  Cassatt came from a wealthy family and could have settled for a traditional role in life by getting married.  Instead she convinced her parents to let her study at the Pennsylvania Academy of fine arts before moving to Paris.
Dans le Bleau (Into the Blue)
Amelie Beaury-Saurel - 1894 
Amelie Beaury-Saurel is a Spanish artist, business woman, art instructor and the wife of the founder of the Academic Julian, Rodolphe Julian.   I really like how she captured the woman staring out into the blue while smoking.  It is speculated it is a self portrait since the identify of the woman is unknown.
Portrait of an Elderly Lady in a Bonnet: Red Background
Mary Cassatt - 1887 
Many critics found her portraits too realistic and not very flattering of the subjects.  I personally love this portrait, the colors and brush strokes are wonderful. 
Woman with Fan
Mary Cassatt - 1891-1892 
With the use of pastels,  sketches could be done spontaneously, right on the spot.  Great movement through out the painting.
Under the lamp
Marie Bracquemond - 1887
Bracquemond was married to a painter and engraver whom she met at the Louvre.  At one point in their life, they collaborated on the manufacturing of porcelain for Haviland.  While Gauguin stayed with them, he influenced her work by using more coarsely woven canvases and to use this rough texture into her work.  As seen above, a chalkier looking surface appears. The dinner portrait of artist Alfred Sisley and his wife is very interesting in that the women takes on a stronger presence where Sisley is rather washed out with the light from the gas lamp and the steam from the bowl, almost like he is part of the wallpaper. 
Lunch in the Greenhouse 
Louise Abbema - 1877
Originally when presented at the Paris Salon of 1877, it was critiqued as being "flat" and that the people were painted with little emotion.   But the year later, it was acquired by the Musee des Beaux-Arts.  I particularly like the wealth and opulence is displays of having a eloquent luncheon in one's greenhouse.
Sita and  Sarita (Woman with a Cat)
Cecilia Beaux - 1893-94 
Elegant! I like how the figure's hair blends with the cats and how Beaux aligned the hazels eyes of both.
Among the Flowers
Louise Abbema - 1892
 As in the Sita and Sarita, the color white dominates.
Three Women with Parasols (The Three Graces)
Marie Bracquemond - 1880
Great color and lighting.
Children Playing on the Beach
Mary Cassatt - 1884
Depictions of children's life were extremely popular.  The famous French art dealer made an contract with Cassatt at the end of the 1880's in which he paid her for a set number of paintings each year.  This was a major break through for it was customary for him to only have such financial agreements with male artists such as Degas, Monet, Pissaro...  This was truly a magnificent achievement by Cassatt.
The Artist's Daughter, Julie with Her Nanny 
Berthe Morisot - 1884
Kitty Kielland - 1890 
After studying in Paris for ten years, Kielland returned to her hometown of Oslo, Norway.  She was instrumental in the development of plein air painting in Norway.   Many times she would venture out in bitter-cold weather conditions and paint on canvases as big as six feet wide.
Autumn, Portrait of Lydia Cassatt
Mary Cassatt - 1880
It was common to represent fashionably dressed women symbolizing the four seasons.  Cassatt paints her sister, Lydia, the portrayal of autumn.  Sadly, Lydia was in her final stages of a kidney disorder that would eventually take her life two years later.   About a dozen of her paintings were of Lydia, the only mementos of their sisterly bond.
The Farm 
Hanna Pauli - 1887 - Sweden
Beach Parasol, Brittany (Portrait of Amanda Sidwall)
Emma Lowstadt-Chadwick - 1880 - Sweden
Lowstadt painted her friend and fellow artist painting on the beach with its beautiful light of the west coast of France.  Like most Swedish artists, she painted plein air. 
Unter den Lind in Berlin
Anna Bilinska-Bohdanowicz - 1890
Anna Bilinska-Bohdanowicz transformed this well known boulevard into a modern urban landscape.  She and her husband planned on returning to Warsaw so she could start a painting school.  Unfortunately this never came to be due to her early death.
The Beach of Dieppe  (View from the Chateau)
Eva Gonzales - 1871-72
Gonzales, whose father was a well-known novelist and mother an exceptional harpist, trained in Paris with Charles Chaplin.  By 1869, she was the only formal pupil of Edouard Manet who taught her to paint in the impressionistic style.
The Tormented
Virginie Demont-Breton - 1905
The daughter of painter and teacher, Jules Breton, she acquired her father's gift of realism and was fascinated with the fisherman families from Wissant, a village she moved to in the north-west part of France.  Such grief and strength is shown in The Tormented.
The Harvesters
Anna Ancher - 1905
She and her artist husband returned from Paris to an artists colony in Skagen, Denmark.
Both devoted their work to the rural life and the working man.  I really like the way she positioned the harvesters and the beautiful color palette that she created in this painting.
Churchgoers (Easter Morning)
Helene Schjerfbeck - 1895-1900
Many of the women artist returned to their native country to find a sharp contrast in life to one they had experienced in Paris, especially in the art world.  Except for this paining Schjerfbeck did not exhibit her work in Finland for almost ten years after returning from Paris.
Peasant Woman from Normandy
Asta Norregaard - 1889
Beautiful depiction of the clothing, the wheat and just how the subject is poised.
Fisher Girl of Picardy
Elizabeth Nourse - 1889
Looking out to sea shows a mother and her son enduring everyday life.
Plowing in Nivernais
Rosa Bonheur - 1850
A head of her time, Bonheur acquired special permission (can you believe it!) from the police to wear men's clothing in public, lived with a women and preferred to paint more masculine subjects such as these Charolais cattle above, a favorite of the farmers at the time.  What great composition and lighting.  It's a large piece, 52.5" high x 102" wide.
Listed for the Connaught Rangers: recruiting in Ireland
Lady Elizabeth Butler - 1878
Lady Butler concentrated on military scenes.  This particular painting stands out not only for its stunning lighting and composition but for its depiction of child soldiers.  For one of her paintings, she went as far as to studying the anatomy of horses at the circus and even bought a field where she requested the British military to run military exercises so she could witness the smoke patterns and even asked them to charge her on horseback.
Offering the Panel to the Bullfighter
Mary Cassatt - 1873 
Cassatt spent most of her life in Paris but she did travel to Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain to study the masters.   While in Seville, she painted a series of paintings depicting the working class.  Above, this flirtatious young lady is offering a glass of panal, a popular drink, to the handsome torero.
The Meeting
Marie Bashkirsteff - 1884
 I see mischief on those young boys faces!
In the Wash House
Anna Elizabeth Klumpke - 1888
Fabulous light streaming in through the large window.

Her Paris 
The Denver Art Museum

I have only hit on a few of my favorite painting in the show.
I suggest purchasing the book on the show, it has very interesting biographies on all the 37 artist and full color photos of each painting featured in the show.
If you have not seen it, go!  The show closes on January 15.