Here in the Berkshires, as the days shorten, we face cold rain and a first frost, which certainly means a book beside the fire appeals! Florence Ada Fuller was an Australian artist, a slightly younger contemporary of the real Jeanette Smith. Like my fictional Jeanette Palmer, she studied at the Académie Julian with William-Adolphe Bouguereau. I didn't know of her until I ran across a post at My Daily Art Display. It's always a pleasure to discover a new artist, and Fuller is a reminder that Australia is a whole continent to explore. Where to start? How about Australian Impressionism?
Picturing a World
Maybe while New York is under a ghastly orange haze, it's wrong the wrong time to post a sepia photograph; but I got such a kick out running across this carte-de-visite , that I can't resist. According to the seller, the picture was taken in 1865 even though the card commemorates Carolus-Duran's winning of a silver medal at the World's Fair of 1878. And doesn't he look young and handsome! For Ferdinand Mulnier's sensitive portrait of Jeanette's other teacher, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, click here. For many more of Mulnier's photographs, click here.
Is it my imagination, or does his self-portrait reveal a sadness and sensitivity unexpected in a painter of marzipan nudes and sentimental children? In any case, besides using him to dramatize the teaching methods employed at the time, I wanted the novel to portray the esteem with which he was held by his students. The touch of red on his collar is the much-coveted badge indicating membership in the Legion of Honor. Read More