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Picturing a World

Louis Béroud, copyist

Blog alert: A post at Lines and Colors on Louis Béroud has images of copyists in the Louvre, scenes of Parisian life, and an anecdote about the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911.

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Azambre vs. Goeneutte

Website tip: As a follow-up to yesterday’s post Étienne Azambre, check out Gale Murray's review of the Women Artists in Paris, 1850–1900 exhibition in the on-line journal Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide. Along with many other images, it contains Goeneutte’s 1892 painting of Desboutin and his male friends in front of the same fresco at the Louvre that  Read More 

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Étienne Azambre

At a lecture in advance of the Clark Art Institute’s upcoming show, Women Artists in Paris, 1850–1900 (June 9–Spetember 3, 2018) I learned about this painting by Étienne Azambre (1859–1933). Azambre was an almost exact contemporary of the real Jeanette and studied at the Académie Julian from 1879 to 1882 in the studio of Adolphe William Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury, where I place my fictional Jeanette. Wish I had known about her in time! Read More 

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Dutch interior, empty room

This is the painting I have a melancholy Jeanette copy in the Louvre after Edward has gone south to Dr. Aubanel’s sanatorium. It would obviously appeal to an artist who perceives empty rooms as “portraits without people.”

Samuel van Hoogstraten was  Read More 
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This not an April Fool …

This is not an April Fool’s joke, but a genuine double-page spread. Anyone care to speculate on the sex of author and illustrator?
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Watercolorist

Early in my research when I was discovering that there were indeed women art students in Paris in the late 19th C, I came across this copyist. I have loved her and giggled over her ever since. Wouldn’t Jeanette have longed for that dress? But can any painter, even one who prefers watercolors  Read More 
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Drawing at the Louvre

At one point during my research, I became enamored of engraver and librarian François Courboin’s colored illustrations for Octave Uzanne’s Fashion in Paris: The Various Phases of Feminine Taste and Æsthetics from 1797 to 1897. I studied the pictures both for the clothes and their various settings in Paris. Here two women are researching fashion history at the Bibliothéque Nationale. When I sent Jeanette to meet Emily in the Louvre after she has been invited to show her portfolio to Carolus-Duran, I wrongly remembered this picture as being set in the Louvre's print room. No matter.  Read More 
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Trilby

It came as a surprise to me how many professional women copyists there were in France in the 1870's. For background, I read several novels with artists as character. The most important for my purposes was the 1894 bestseller Trilby, written and illustrated by George du Maurier. It is best known now as the origin of the character Svengali, but for art historians its depiction of student life is invaluable. The three men in the background are the Laird, Taffy, and Little Billee, the artists for whom the title character, Trilby, models in the opening chapters. The copyist here is only decoration, but one named Noémie Nioche figures actively in The American by Henry James (1877).

For a contrast to the workaday clothes shown here, check out another copyist painted by a male artist hereRead More 
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Erasmus

Before there were photographic reproductions, artists copied in museums as part of their exploration of past masters' work; and the second-rate among them could make a living copying pictures that other people wanted as souvenirs for their walls. In a passage that was cut from the final text of Where the Light Falls, Jeanette watches a hardened old pro making yet another copy of Holbein's Erasmus. She has a brief exchange with him and reflects on how much her father would like to have the portrait in his study. As far as I'm concerned, the encounter took place and so I'm slipping it back into the world of the novel via this blog. Authors, do some scenes that fail to make the final cut remain potent in your memory? And, readers, when deleted material is subsequently published, do you incorporate it into your idea of a book? Read More 
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Ladies at the Louvre

I loved finding this image early on—Jeanette and Cousin Effie! Or, no, what fun: Mary Cassatt and her sister Lydia posing for Edgar Degas, who reworked this basic composition in several media. (Besides this version, see also, for example, an etching and a study.)

On her first visit to the Louvre, Jeanette is humbled by the glories she encounters; but on later visits a part of her would want to strike a pose of confident, nonchalant connoisseurship. Effie would forever bury her nose dutifully in a guidebook. Read More 
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