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Picturing a World

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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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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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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Telling, little details

When Jeanette goes into her first bakery in France, she notices the white cards with prices written in a Continental hand. Those price cards and their style of numbering had stuck in my mind ever since my student days in France, so it’s not surprising that I smiled this morning when I saw  Read More 
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In the Studio

When I began research on women artists in the nineteenth century, I had no idea how many there were. Every new picture of women in an art class or an artist in her studio was an exciting revelation. Among the many, Alfred Stevens’ In the Studio stood out because it seemed to capture a moment in a story.

Once, just for the fun of it, I thought of the standing artist as Sonja. The visitor might be Jeanette. Maybe Amy was posing. Or was that Emily? In fact, no identifications from Where the Light Falls fit exactly. Nevertheless, every time I look at this image, I feel like I’m peeking into their world. Read More 
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