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Picturing a World

Smith College art class

And now back to school! Early in my research on women’s art education, I came across this image of the sculptor and suffragist Alice Morgan Wright (Smith College, Class of 1904). Even though it was taken a quarter century after Jeanette’s time at Vassar, it helped confirm that art was taught seriously at the foremost American women’s colleges. Historians must dig down, be scrupulously accurate; novelists can afford a little leeway to spring out, be imaginative. Happily, in this case, more research showed that twenty-five years made little difference in concrete details. Just look: isn’t the boy model on the right reminiscent of Marie Bashkirtseff’s model in her 1881 painting of the women’s class at the Académie Julian?

Alice Morgan Wright (1881-1975; Smith class 1904) was a sculptor, suffragist, and animal rights activist. Her papers at Smith include original artwork, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, exhibition catalogs, sketches, drawings, and printed materials.

For an essay on plaster casts at Vassar, click here.

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