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Picturing a World

Artist-soldier’s notebook at war

Writers jot down thoughts; artists jot down images. As a follow-up to my previous post on Edward Ardizzone's war paintings, here's a drawing from the same year, 1944, by Victor Alfred Lundy, a soldier who kept a notebook all through his service during WWII. He donated it to the Library of Congress, which has digitized the whole thing and made it available to the public. This particular page reminded me of Félix Bracquemond's etching of Bastion 84, the post where Parisian artists including Carolus-Duran served during the Franco-Prussian seventy-five years earlier. Like letters home, off-the-cuff drawings have an immediacy that historical fiction writers can plumb—but sometimes you also have to stand back and observe in silence. Six from L Company hurt here, six killed.
 
Thanks, James Gurney.

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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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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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Marie Bracquemond’s umbrella

I am posting this largely because I think it’s gorgeous. As a teenager, Marie Bracquemond studied with Ingres and she learned etching from her husband, Félix Bracquemond. The elegance of her line no doubt reflects her training, but her use of color and  Read More 
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Marie Bracquemond at her easel

I only recently found Dammouse’s pastel of Marie Braqemond at the Galerie Ary Jan in Paris (where it sold). The picture feels like reentering Jeanette’s world, and so it’s a good place to begin running through Where the Light Falls again, more or less chronologically.

My first ever post showed three women artists in a studio. Because I love novels in which I share friendships vicariously, Jeanette’s time with Amy, Emily, and Sonja was always a major theme for me. Another was the seriousness with which women artists worked in the 19th C—a dedication that seems evident in this image.  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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Résistance

Given the weather in most of the country this January, Carolus-Duran’s plunge into snowy memories during his summertime walk with Edward in the Tuileries Garden makes for a timely post. The painter really did assist his friend, Alexandre Falguière, build a snow sculpture at Bastion 84 on the southern wall of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War, and so I could have him recount the incident to Edward when they discussed their respective wars.

For Bracquemond’s etching of Bastion 84, click here.

For an amusing film clip of a snowball fight in 1896, click here.

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