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Picturing a World

Hotel Baudy

Doesn’t the animation in the faces of both tennis players and the spectator bring the past to life? It says to me, Invent a story!

The photo is one of many at a French-language website on the Hotel Baudy. In the story of every summer art colony,  Read More 
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Mary Fairchild MacMonnies at Giverny

In 1895, two married, successful artists, Frederick and Mary Fairchild MacMonnies, bought an old priory in the town of Giverny, where Claude Monet was the reigning artistic deity. High walls enclosed their house, studios, and a terraced garden, which became a center of activity for the American art colony drawn to Giverny.

A frequent visitor was Will Hicok Low. During my research, I read his amusing and generous-hearted book A Chronicle of Friendships (1908) with pleasure. To see one of his paintings of the MacMonnies’ garden, click here. For one of her garden paintings, click here.

A nursery for the MacMonnies children with Mary’s copies of murals by Puvis de Chavannes on the back wall exemplifies the MacMonnies’ way of making their home as ideal a world as possible. Unfortunately, Frederick had affairs with  Read More 
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Women, art, and marriage

When Amy Richardson and Louise Steadman confront Jeanette with the need to choose between art and love, they remind her of Marie Bracquemond and Berthe Morisot, whose opportunities to show were sadly curtailed by marriage. They also point out that Mary Cassatt knew better than to get married. For a well illustrated post on  Read More 
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Club for women artists

During my earliest research, I read Studying Art Abroad, and How To Do It Cheaply by May Alcott Nieriker (1879) in the Boston Public Library. (How I yearned for my own copy! How easy now to read it on line!) A couple of sentences struck me forcibly and ultimately pointed to part of my dénouement: Read More 
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Artists' supplies

Website tip: The website of the National Portrait Gallery in London has a useful essay on John Singer Sargent's suppliers of artists' materials>.
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Salon of 1880

The Salon of 1880 was so big that paintings had to be hung on the mezzanine above the sculptures for lack of space in the picture galleries. For the first time, they were also divided into sections for French artists and foreigners. While I was writing, I debated whether to have Jeanette win a place. The historical odds were against it, and I wanted her story to represent what a typical female student experienced. Read More 
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Polish woman artist

Website tips:Look! Another woman artist from Poland in a blog post on paintings of women with parasols or umbrellas. For more about Boznanska at Culture.PL, click here.
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Canvas stretcher

BLOG TIP. Sonja not only attempts to build a frame, she regularly stretches her own canvases. To see how it’s done, click on Darren Rousar’s blog post, Stretching Primed Canvas.
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Sonja

Given Sonja’s friendship with sculptors, disregard of clothes, and brawn, is it any wonder that I exclaimed “Sonja!” when I ran across this image? I love imagining her sitting on the floor while she’s building her big picture frame for a Salon submission—although she would be in trousers.

The pose fits  Read More 
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Salon jury

In 1878–1880, the period of Where the Light Falls, submissions to the annual Salon were judged by an elected jury of artists. Anyone whose work had been accepted for previous Salons could vote, and the jurors were generally the most distinguished (and most conservative) artists of their day. Serving was an honor, but  Read More 
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