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Picturing a World

Manet, Children in the Tuileries

See the black nurse in a turban on the far right? In her award-winning catalogue for the exhibition, Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today (2018), curator Denise Murrell points out that the population of Paris in the 19thC was much more racially mixed than many people realize. She contrasts Manet's Children in the Tuileries Garden to Lobrichon's Promenade of a Paris Crèche on that very ground.

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Paris crêches

Aren't they cute, itty-bitties holding onto each other's skirts in the Tuileries Garden! And yet so many for only four adults to care for. This isn't your typical picture of a nanny and her charge. What's going on?

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Stereoscopic Salle des Maréchaux

Blog tip: For a slightly disconcerting view of the Salle des Maréchaux in the Tuileries Palace made from stereoscopic images taken in 1865, click here. Meissonier painted the ruins of this room in 1871, after the palace was burned. Read More 
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Drums at the Tuileries Garden

"The naked upper branches reached toward a primordial wildness having little to do with parks or men.… The trees at Shiloh had been like that.… In the growing dusk, golden lights pricked out the Rue de Rivoli to his left.… At the rat-a-tat-tat of a drum being beaten to signal the closing hour, he felt a momentary urge to flout the martial-sounding order."

I was looking for a different painting by James Tissot last week  Read More 
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Palace ruins

The American Civil War (1861-1865) has deeply affected the psyches of Cousin Effie and Edward; and as soon as I learned in my background reading that Carolus-Duran fought in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), I knew a shared experience of war could be an overt point of contact between him and Edward.  Read More 
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Tuileries Garden

On a fall visit to Paris, Edward walks through the Tuileries Garden as evening descends. Imagine him walking the wide path to the left in Pissarro’s painting, which also captures the bare trees that for a moment carry Edward's mind back to Shiloh. The detail that ducks left rippling wakes in the big round pool seen on the center left margin of the painting comes in a letter from Kenyon Cox, an Ohio art student who was in Paris in the late 1870’s. The woman buying roasted chestnuts for her children at the entrance to the garden was inspired by a print or painting that I saw on line. If anybody happens to know of one, please send me the link! Read More 
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