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Picturing a World

Teacher and pupil

It has to be said of Félix Bracquemond, that although he was a domestic tyrant who stymied his wife’s career in the end, he also taught her well. Best known now for his etchings, he taught her printmaking techniques which she put to exquisite use as in this portrait of her sister, Louise Quivoron. There is no reason to deny that men have cramped women’s careers, but it might be an interesting challenge to write a novel about a marriage that simultaneously expands a woman’s capacities while constraining her ability to pursue an independent career. And what would her sister be like? What would be her role? Read More 

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Kitty Kielland's Studio

I love the way this painting illustrates a young artist’s studio as a place to live. The plain floor and dormer window hint at upper-storey, cheap digs. I didn’t include potted plants in any of my characters’ studios, but they turn up in other paintings and would be part of making an  Read More 

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Michael Ancher’s breakers

I gave my fictional artist Charlie Post an obsession with painting oncoming waves because that really was a motif for more than one 19th C painter—witness this one by Skagen artist Michael Ancher,  Read More 

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Trump = Mrs. Coulter

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed how much the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" is like Mrs. Coulter's evil experiments in Philip Pullman's Golden Compass? Separate migrant children from their parents and lock them in cages. Gives me the moral shudders.
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Anna Ancher’s summer

Today in the Berkshires is a day of hot sun, clear blue sky, and green meadows, lawns, trees, and plants. It’s summer. Anna Ancher’s Harvesters, on display at the Clark’s Women Artists in Paris, 1850–1900 perfectly captures the feel of such  Read More 

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Palmer and touch

Blog post tip: A post on Samuel Palmer's trees at Charley Parker's Lines and Colors is a good follow-up to thoughts about touch in graphic art and fiction. A few days ago, I heard about a child who climbed into the crotch of a tree  Read More 

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Woman artist on a Breton beach

Yesterday, I went to the Women Artists in Paris, 1850–1900 show at The Clark in Williamstown. As good as I’d hoped—I’ll go again! Meanwhile, as I went through the galleries I played the game of deciding which painting I would choose if  Read More 

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Inside Looking Out

I had never seen a reproduction of Kitty Kielland’s Paris Interior until I read the catalogue for Women Artists in Paris, 1850–1900. Now I can hardly wait to see it, first and foremost because it represents the life of a young woman artist, the life explored in Where the Light Falls. Second because I love pictures of views out windows (in fact, I love real views framed by real windows). And third because of the samovar. Read More 

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Marie Bracquemond and touch

As I said in my previous post, Marie Bracquemond’s husband, Félix, hurt as well as helped her artistically. Although they both exhibited at one or more of the eight Impressionist shows, she was, in fact, more receptive to the new esthetic than he was; and his criticisms could be choleric. He also  Read More 

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Happy artistic marriage

At last! A woman artist who was not squelched by her husband, but treated as an equal. This painting depicts Anna Ancher and her husband, Michael Ancher, thoughtfully absorbed in critiquing a canvas together.  Read More 

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