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Title: Women Painters of the World
From the Time of Caterina Vigri, 1413-1463, to Rosa Bonheur and the Present Day
Editor: Walter Shaw Sparrow
Release Date: March 23, 2012 [eBook #39000]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WOMEN PAINTERS OF THE WORLD***
The Art and Life Library
WALTER SHAW SPARROW.
The British Home of To-day
A BOOK OF MODERN DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE AND THE APPLIED ARTS.
(Published June, 1904. Out of Print).
The Gospels in Art
THE LIFE OF CHRIST BY GREAT PAINTERS FROM FRA ANGELICO TO HOLMAN HUNT.
(Published November, 1904).
Women Painters of the World
FROM THE TIME OF CATERINA VIGRI (1413-1463) TO ROSA BONHEUR AND THE PRESENT DAY.
Dedicated to Her Majesty Queen Alexandra.
(Published March, 1905).
HODDER & STOUGHTON, 27, Paternoster Row, London.
Higher resolution versions of all art images are available by clicking on the image.
PERCY LUND, HUMPHRIES & CO., LTD.
The Country Press, Bradford.
WHAT is genius? Is it not both masculine and feminine? Are not some of its qualities instinct with manhood, while others delight us with the most winning graces of a perfect womanhood? Does not genius make its appeal as a single creative agent with a two-fold sex?
But if genius has its Mirandas and its Regans no less than its infinite types of men, ranging from Prospero and Ferdinand to Caliban and Trinculo, its union of the sexes does not remain always at peace within the sphere of art. Sometimes, in the genius of men, the female characteristics gain mastery over the male qualities; at other times the male attributes of woman's genius win empire and precedence over the female; and whenever these things happen, the works produced in art soon recede from the world's sympathies, losing all their first freshness. They may guide us, perhaps, as finger-posts in history, pointing the way to some movement of interest; but their first popularity as art is never renewed. Style is the man in the genius of men, style is the woman in the genius of the fair. No male artist, however gifted he may be, will ever be able to experience all the emotional life to which women are subject; and no woman of abilities, how much soever she may try, will be able to borrow from men anything so invaluable to art as her own intuition and the prescient tenderness and grace of her nursery-nature. Thus, then, the bisexuality of genius has limits in art, and those limits should be determined by a worker's sex.
As examples in art of complete womanliness, mention may be made of two exquisite portraits by Madame Le Brun, in which, whilst representing her little daughter and herself, the painter discloses the inner essence and the life of maternal love, and discloses them with a caressing playfulness of passion unattainable by men, and sometimes unappreciated by men. Here, indeed, we have the poetry of universal motherhood, common to the household hearts of good women the wide world over. Such pictures may not be the highest form of painting, but highest they are in their own realm of human emotion; and they recall to one's memory that truth in which Napoleon the Great ranked the gentler sex as the most potent of all creative artists. "The future destiny of children," said he, "is always the work of mothers."
But some persons may answer: "Yes, but the achievements of women painters have been second-rate. Where is there a woman artist equal to any man among the greatest masters?" Persons who do not think are constantly asking that question. The greatest geniuses were all hustled and moulded into shape by the greatest epochs of ambition in the lives of nations, just as the mountains of Switzerland were thrown up to their towering heights by tremendous forces underground; and, as the Alps do not repeat themselves, here and there, for the pleasure of tourists, so the greatest geniuses do not reappear for the pleasure of critics or of theorists. And this is not all. Why compare the differing genius of women and men? There is room in the garden of art for flowers of every kind and for butterflies and birds of every species; and why should anyone complain because a daisy is not a rose, or because nightingales and thrushes, despite their family resemblance, have voices of their own, dissimilar in compass and in quality?
The present book, then, is a history of woman's garden in the art of painting, and its three hundred pictures show what she has grown in her garden during the last four centuries and a half. The Editor has tried to free his mind of every bias, so that this book, within the limits of 332 pages, might be as varied as the subject. The choice of pictures has not been easy, and a few disappointments have attended the many communications with the owners of copyrights; but only two invited artists have declined to contribute. It is not often that so much willing and generous help has come to an Editor from so many countries; and it is with gratitude that I acknowledge the assistance received from the contributors of to-day. Seven pictures are reproduced in colour-facsimile, thanks to the courtesy of the following artists and collectors: Mrs. Allingham, Miss Ann Macbeth, Mr. James Orrock, R.I., Mr. W A. Cadbury, Mr. Charles Cheston, Mr. Klackner, and Mr. Charles Dowdeswell.
The Dedication Page, the Initials Letters, the End Papers, are all designs by Miss Ethel Larcombe, while the Title Page and the Cover are the work of Mr. David Veazey. The silhouettes by Mlle. Nelly Bodenheim, used as tail-pieces, are published by permission of S. L. van Looÿ, Amsterdam.
This volume being the first illustrated history of the Women Painters of the World, Her Majesty Queen Alexandra has honoured it by graciously accepting the Dedication; and in this encouraging act is revealed the untiring interest and solicitude with which Her Majesty has ever followed the progress of women's work.
|Preface:||"On the Scope of the Present Volume." By the Editor.|
|Chapter I:||"Women Painters in Italy since the Fifteenth Century." By Walter Shaw Sparrow|
|Chapter II:||"Early British Women Painters." By the Editor.|
|Chapter III:||"Modern British Women Painters." By Ralph Peacock.|
|Chapter IV:||"Women Painters in the United States of America." By the Editor.|
|Chapter V:||"Of Women Painters in France." By Léonce Bénédite. Translated into English by Edgar Preston.|
|Chapter VI:||"Women Painters in Belgium and in Holland." By N. Jany. Translated into English by Edgar Preston.|
|Chapter VII:||"Women Painters in Germany and Austria, in Russia, Switzerland and Spain." By Wilhelm Schölermann. Translated into English by Wilfrid Sparroy.|
|Chapter VIII:||"Some Finnish Women Painters." By Helena Westermarck.|
|1.||Mrs. Mary Young Hunter. "Joy and the Labourer"||Frontispiece|
|2.||Lady Elizabeth Butler (Elizabeth Thompson). "Missed!"||9|
|3.||H.I.M. The Empress Frederick of Germany (1840-1891). "The Akropolis, Athens: from the Balcony of the Crown Prince's House"||56|
|4.||Miss Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale, A.R.W.S. "Youth and the Lady"||73|
|5.||Miss Ann Macbeth. "Elspeth"||97|
|6.||Mrs. Helen Allingham, R.W.S. "A Cottage near Crocken Hill"||109|
|7.||Helen Hyde. "Day Dreams"||145|
|1.||Rosalba Carriera. "Portrait of a Lady Unknown"||20|
|2.||Madame Vigée Le Brun. "Herself and her Daughter"||166|
|3.||Madame Adèle Romany. "Portrait of Gaëtano Apollino Baldassare Vestris, Dancer"||171|
|4.||Mademoiselle Marie Amélie Cogniet. "Portrait of Madame Adélaïde D'Orléans"||189|
|5.||Rosa Bonheur. "Shepherd Watching his Sheep"||205|
|6.||Francine Charderon. "Sleep"||229|
|1.||H.R.H. the Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll. "An English Hebe."||13|
|2.||Sophonisba Anguisciola. "Her Three Sisters Playing at Chess"||25|
|3.||Artemisia Gentileschi. "Mary Magdalene"||31|
|4.||Rosalba Carriera. "Charity and Justice"||37|
|5.||Elisabetta Sirani. "The Dream of St. Anthony of Padua"||43|
|6.||Signorina Elisa Koch. "The Little Sister"||49|
|7.||Catharine Read. "The Lady Georgiana Spencer"||61|
|8.||Angelica Kauffman, R.A. "The Sibyl"||67|
|9.||Mrs. Stanhope Forbes, A.R.W.S. "The Fisher Wife"||85|
|10.||Mrs. William De Morgan (Evelyn Pickering). "Flora"||91|
|11.||Miss Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale, A.R.W.S. "To-day for me"||103|
|12.||Miss Cecilia Beaux. "Mother and Child"||121|
|13.||Miss Kate Greenaway. "A. for Apple Pie: E. eat it"||127|
|14.||Mrs. Annie L. Swynnerton. "The Sense of Sight"||133|
|15.||Mrs. Anna Lea Merritt, R.B.A. "Love Locked Out"||139|
|16.||Miss Cornelia W. Conant. "The End of the Story"||151|
|17.||Mary Cassatt. "Baby's Toilette"||157|
|18.||Helen Hyde. "The Bamboo Fence"||163|
|19.||Madame Vigée Le Brun. "Herself and her Daughter"||177|
|20.||Berthe Morisot. "Portrait of a Young Woman Seated"||211|
|21.||Madame Jacqueline Comerre-Paton. "Mistletoe"||217|
|22.||Madame Eva Gonzalès. "Portrait of a Lady"||223|
|23.||Madame Fanny Fleury. "The Pathway to the Village Church"||235|
|24.||Madame Vallet-Bisson. "The Departure"||241|
|25.||Mlle. Consuélo Fould. "Will You Buy?"||247|
|26.||Judith Leyster. "The Merry Young Man"||257|
|27.||Mevrouw Bilders van Bosse. "Landscape near Oosterbeek"||267|
|28.||Mlle. Thérèse Schwartze. "The Children of Mr. A. May, Amsterdam"||273|
|29.||Madame Henriette Ronner. "The Last Move"||279|
|30.||Mlle. Marie Bashkirtseff. "A Meeting"||293|
|31.||Mlle. Ottilie Roederstein. "Le Mois de Marie"||311|
|32.||Antonia de Bañuelos. "The Little Fishers"||321|
|33.||Mary Cassatt. "Childhood in a Garden"||327|
|34.||Mary Cassatt. "Mother and two Children"||327|
|1.||Mrs. Marianne Stokes. "The Queen and the Page." Duplex Plate||79|
|2.||Miss Lucy Kemp-Welch, R.B.A. "Labourers of the Night." Duplex Plate||115|
|3.||Madame Benoits. "Marie Pauline, Princesse Borghese." Duplex Plate||183|
|4.||Rosa Bonheur. "Study of a Bull." Duplex Plate||195|
Owing to various reasons, the work of several well-known painters could not be obtained until this book had passed through the press, and a supplement of pictures has therefore been placed between page 324 and page 325. It includes work by Lady Alma-Tadema, Mrs. Seymour Lucas, Mrs. Marrable, Miss Maud Earl, Miss Julia B. Folkard, Miss Maude Goodman, Miss Flora M. Reid, Miss Blanche Jenkins, and Madame Arsène Darmesteter.
It is hoped that the Women Painters of To-day may be studied again in a second volume. In the present book, dealing with 450 years of work, the living painters could not be fully represented, for there are thousands of ladies who now win a place in the art exhibitions of Europe and America.
|Abbéma, Mlle. Louise||237|
|Allingham, Mrs. Helen, R.W.S.||109, 137|
|Alma-Tadema, Miss Anna||156|
|Anderson, Mrs. Sophie||105|
|Angell, Mrs. Coleman||102|
|Anguisciola, Sophonisba||25, 36, 39|
|Art, Mlle. Berthe||276|
|Bakhuyzen, Mme. C. J. van de Sande||266|
|Bañuelos, Antonia de||320, 321|
|Barton, Miss Rose, A.R.W.S.||143|
|Bashkirtseff, Mlle. Marie||293, 315|
|Bauck, Jeanna||300, 301|
|Bauerlë, Miss A., A.R.E.||132|
|Beauclerk, Lady Diana||82|
|Beaux, Miss Cecilia||121, 162|
|Bilders van Bosse, Mme.||267, 269, 272|
|Bisschop-Robertson, Mme. Suse||278|
|Blatherwick, Lily (Mrs. A. S. Hartrick)||155|
|Blau-Lang, Frau Tina||306, 308|
|Bodenheim, Mlle. Nelly||12, 72, 292, 332|
|Bonheur, Rosa||195, 205, 209, 210, 214, 215|
|Bourbon, de, Infante Paz||318, 320|
|Boznauska, de, Olga||316|
|Breslau, Mlle. Louise||304, 314|
|Brickdale, Miss E. Fortescue, A.R.W.S.||73, 103, 114, 126, 141, 142|
|Brockmann, Doña Elena||319|
|Brownscombe, Miss Jennie||161|
|Butler, Lady Elizabeth||154|
|Byrne, Anne Frances||94|
|Cameron, Miss Katharine||124|
|Cameron, Miss Margaret||131, 155|
|Capet, Marie Gabrielle||197|
|Carpenter, Mrs. Margaret||96, 100|
|Carriera, Rosalba||20, 37, 48, 51|
|Cassatt, Miss Mary||157, 327|
|Cazin, Madame Marie||227, 239|
|Chase, Miss Marian, R.I.||130|
|Chatillon, de, Mme. Laure||219|
|Cheviot, Miss Lilian||143|
|Cogniet, Mlle. Marie Amélie||189|
|Comerre-Paton, Mme. J.||217|
|Conant, Miss Cornelia||151|
|Cool, de, Mme. Delphine||232|
|Coomans, Mlle. Diana||228|
|Curran, Miss A.||90|
|Danse, Mlle. Louise||278|
|Dealy, Jane M. (Mrs. Lewis)||144|
|Demont-Breton, Madame||226, 233|
|De Morgan, Mrs. Evelyn||91, 117, 123|
|Dieksee, Miss Margaret Isabel||112|
|Dubos, Mlle. Angèle||216|
|Dubourg, Mme. Victoria||240|
|Dufau, Mlle.||231, 240, 243|
|Duffield, Mrs. William||118|
|Ellenrieder, Anna Marie||298|
|Empress Frederick of Germany||56|
|Enault, Madame Alix||225|
|Fanner, Miss Alice||135, 156|
|Fanshawe, Catherine Maria||89|
|Fautin-Latour, Mme. (Victoria Dubourg)||240|
|Fichel, Mme. Jeanne||216|
|Filleul, Madame||186, 187|
|Fleury, Mme. Fanny||235|
|Fontana, Lavinia||39, 40, 41|
|Forbes, Mrs. Stanhope||85, 147, 149|
|Fould, Mlle. Achille||250|
|Fould, Mlle. Consuélo||247|
|Frampton, Mrs. George||136|
|Gardner, Elizabeth||234, 238|
|Gentileschi, Artemisia||31, 42, 45|
|Godefroid, Mlle. Marie E.||203|
|Gonzalès, Eva||223, 231|
|Gow, Miss Mary L., R.I.||107|
|Granby, Marchioness of||142|
|Greenaway, Miss Kate||119, 127|
|Gutti, Rosina M.||53|
|Guyard, Madame||185, 188|
|Hammond, Miss G. Demain, R.I.||135|
|Hart, Miss Emily||113|
|Havers, Miss Alice||108|
|Heitland, Miss Ivy||107|
|Hemessen, Catharina van||263|
|Heming, Mrs. Matilda||95|
|Herford, Mrs. John||95|
|Herland, Mlle. E.||249|
|Hilda, Mlle. E.||245|
|Hitz, Dora||302, 303|
|Hobson, Miss A. M., R.I.||118|
|Hogendorp, Baronne van||266|
|Houdon, Mlle. M. J. A.||202|
|Houssay, Mlle. Joséphine||251|
|Houten, Mme. Mesdag van||269|
|Houten, Mlle. Barbara van||270, 275|
|How, Miss Beatrice||142, 148|
|Hunter, Mrs. Mary V., Frontispiece,||126, 130|
|Hyde, Miss Helen||145, 163|
|Jensen, Frau Marie||303|
|Jopling, Mrs. Louisa, R.B.A.||120|
|Kauffman, Angelica, R.A.||67, 83, 87|
|Kemp-Welch, Miss L. E., R.B.A.||115, 125|
|King, Miss Jessie M.||159|
|Kollwitz, Fräulein Käthe||302|
|Laucota, Fräulein Herstine||307|
|Larcombe, Miss Ethel,||Dedication Page, End-papers, Initial Letters|
|Le Brun, Madame Vigée||166, 177, 191, 192, 193, 198, 200, 201, 204|
|Leleux, Madame Armand||220|
|Le Roy, Madame||252|
|Lescot, Madame Haudebourt||208|
|Leyster, Judith||257, 264|
|Louise, H.R.H. Princess, Duchess of Argyll||13|
|Macbeth, Miss Ann||97|
|Macdonald, Miss Biddie||123|
|Macgregor, Miss Jessie||148|
|Marcotte, Mlle. E.||272|
|Martineau, Miss Edith, A.R.W.S.||111|
|Maupeou, Caroline von||299|
|Mee, Mrs. Anne||93|
|Meen, Mrs. Margaret||94|
|Merian, Maria S.||295, 296|
|Merritt, Mrs. Anna Lea, R.B.A.||139|
|Meunier, Mlle. Georgette||282|
|Morisot, Berthe||211, 213|
|Moser, Mary, R.A.||94|
|Nicolas, Mlle. Marie||222|
|Normand, Mrs. (Henrietta Rae)||153|
|Offor, B. (Mrs. F. Littler)||160|
|Oppenheim, Mlle. A.||246|
|Parlaghy, Frau Vilms||316|
|Petiet, Mlle. Marie||219|
|Phillott, Miss Constance, A.R.W.S.||138|
|Prestel, Maria C.||297|
|Réal del Sarte, Mme.||251|
|Read, Catharine||61, 84|
|Reis, Maria G. Silva||301|
|Robertson, Mrs. J.||93|
|Roederstein, Mlle. Ottilie||305, 311|
|Romany, Mme. Adèle||171|
|Rongier, Mlle., Jeanne||320|
|Ronner, Mme. Henriette||279, 281|
|Rothschild, de, Baroness Lambert||277|
|Rude, Mme. Sophie||207|
|Salanson, Mlle. Eugénie||228|
|Sawyer, Miss Amy||159|
|Schjerfbeck, Helene||310, 313|
|Schurman, Anna Maria||296|
|Schneider, Mme. Félicie||222|
|Schwartze, Thérèse||270, 271, 273, 275|
|Sindici, Doña Stuart||317|
|Sirani, Elisabetta||43, 46|
|Sister A, Sienese Nun||34, 35|
|Sister B, Sienese Nun||34|
|Smythe, Miss Minnie, A.R.W.S.||150|
|Spencer, Lavinia, Countess||90|
|Staples, Mrs. (M. E. Edwards)||120|
|Starr, Louisa (Mme. Canziana)||106|
|Stokes, Mrs. Marianne||79, 129|
|Strong, Mrs. Elizabeth||113|
|Subleyras, Maria Tibaldi||52|
|Swon, Mrs. J. M.||159|
|Swynnerton, Mrs. A. L.||133|
|Tavernier, de, Mme. E.||227|
|Valory, de, Mme. Caroline||192|
|Vanteuil, de, Mlle.||185|
|Waterford, Louisa Lady||99, 101|
|Waternau, Mlle. Hermine||221|
|Wentworth, Mrs. Cecilia||160|
|Wesmael, Mlle. E.||283|
|White, Miss Florence||124|
|Wiik, Maria||309, 313|
|Wolfthorn, Frau Julie||304|
|Wytsman, Mme. Juliette||284|
|Youngman, Miss A. M., R.I.||118, 119|
|Zappi, Lavinia Fontana||39, 40, 41|
|Zillhardt, Mlle. Jenny||221|
By Walter Shaw Sparrow
OLDER than the authenticated history of Greek art is a tradition that connects a girl's name with the discovery of a great craft, the craft of modelling portraits in relief. Kora, known as the virgin of Corinth, and daughter of a potter named Butades, sat one evening with her betrothed in her father's house; a torch burned, a fire of wood bickered in a brasier, throwing on the wall in shadow a clear silhouette of the young man's profile; and Kora, moved by a sudden impulse, took from the hearth a charred piece of wood and outlined the shadow. When the girl's father, Butades, saw the sketch which she had made, he filled in the outline with his potters' clay, forming the first medallion.
It is a pretty, chivalrous tradition, and it recalls to one's memory the fact that the ancient Greeks had really some women artists of note, like Aristarete, daughter and pupil of Nearchus, celebrated for her picture of Aesculapius; or like Anaxandra (about B.C. 228), daughter of the painter Nealces, or like Helena, who painted the battle of Issus, about B.C. 333.
Passing from Greece to ancient Rome, we find only one woman painter, Lala by name, and she was a Greek by birth and education. Lala lived and laboured in the first century before the birth of Christ. She went to Rome during the last days of the republic, and won for herself a great reputation by her miniature portraits of ladies.
As the early Christians turned away from all luxury and adornment, the influence of Christ's life was very slow in gaining its benign ascendency in the arts; but among the civilisations which were founded on the ruins of Rome's decline and fall, there were some women who still deserve to be remembered for their patronage of art. Amalasontha, daughter of Theodoric the Great, Theodelinda, Queen of the Lombards, Hroswitha, in her convent at Gandershein, and Ava, the first German poetess, these ladies, and many others, made colonising names, names that visited distant lands and gave ambition to other women.
Briefly, the Renaissance was heralded by a long, troubled dawn; but it came at last, and its effects on the destinies of women were immediate and far-reaching. In Italy, one by one, the Universities were opened to the fair, that of Bologna leading the way in the 13th century, when Betisia Gozzadini studied there with success, dressed as a boy, like Plato's pupil, Axiothea. And a line of girl graduates connects Betisia Gozzadini with the women lecturers who became so famous at Bologna in the 18th century: Anna Manzolini, Laura Bassi, Clotilde Tambroni, Maria Agnesi, and Maria Dalle-Donne.
It is not easy to explain why the Italian towns and universities gave so much encouragement to the higher aspirations of girls. In poetry, in art, in learning, that encouragement was equally remarkable, and I am tempted to assign its origin to the martial temper of the Middle Ages, which drew many young men from the universities to take part in the exercises of the tilt-yard or in the perils of the battlefield, leaving the fields of learning in need of zealous labourers. Women, on the other hand, exposed their hearts, but not their lives, to the hazards of duels, tournaments and wars; they lived longer than men, as a rule, and hence it was worth while to encourage publicly those gifts of the female mind and spirit which had long been cultivated privately for the benefit of peaceful nunneries.
Still, whatever the origin of it may have been, the pride taken by the Italians in their gifted women is among the most important facts in the history of their Renaissance. But for that pride, the scores of ladies who became noted in the arts would have remained unknown in their homes, and the story of those times would lack in its social life a counterpart of that radiant chivalry that cast so much tenderness and sanctity about the Motherhood of Mary and the Infancy of Jesus Christ.
As this chapter is nothing more than a brief introduction to the study of a very important subject, I can say only a few words about the different groups of painters into which the women artists of Italy are divided, beginning with the early nuns, whose art was not so much a craft as a confession of faith.
Caterina Vigri was the earliest of these nuns, and the picture by which she is represented on page 33, "St. Ursula and her Maidens," was painted in the year 1456. Not only is it typical of the young Bolognese school, but, despite the primitiveness of the drawing, it has two qualities in which the swift temperaments of women, so truth-telling in their emotions, commonly manifest themselves in art: the first is a certain naturalness of gesture and of pose; the second is an evident wish to impart life and liveliness to the faces, even although that liveliness and life may not accord with the subject in its higher spiritual significance. It is this natural wish of women to be homely and attractive that so frequently brings their art nearer to the people's sympathies than the work done by men; and if we study the four illustrations on pages 34 and 35, representing pictures by the Sienese nuns of Santa Marta, we shall see how motherly in tenderness was the feminine ideal of Christ's infancy. I can gain no information about Barbara Ragnoni and the two other sister nuns, whose names have passed into Time's limbo of forgotten things, and whom I have ventured to describe as Sister A. and Sister B. They were true artists, each one having a sweet graciousness of her own, playful, yet devout and reverent, devotional but not austere. In these pictures the maternal instincts are at play; the painters are so happy in their subject that their whole womanhood responds to it, making it a holy experience of their own glad hearts. There is much to admire also in the way in which the figures are grouped and co-ordinated; and how charming is that glympse of country painted by Barbara Ragnoni in her "Adoration of the Shepherds."
These were not the only gifted and gracious nuns in the early history of Italian art. There was Plautilla Nelli, who formed her style on that of Fra Bartolommeo; she became prioress of a convent in Florence, the convent of St. Catherine, and died in 1588, aged sixty-five. Barbara Longhi of Ravenna, another painter of the same period, was not a nun, but I mention her now in order that attention may be drawn to a painter having a genuine sympathy and style (see page 41).
We pass on to a little bevy of emigrants, women painters who visited foreign courts where they met with great successes. Sophonisba Anguisciola, born of a noble family in Cremona, was enriched by Philip II. of Spain; Artemesia Gentileschi came to London with her father and found a patron in Charles I.; Maria La Caffa (17th century), a flower painter, came upon her Mæcenas in the Court of Tyrol; it was in German Courts that Isabella del Pozzo (17th century), like Felicita Sartori (18th century), plucked bay leaves and laurels; and Violanta Beatrice Siries, after making for herself a name in Paris, returned home to Florence and painted many famous persons of the 18th century. Then we have Rosalba Carriera, whose career ended in blindness and loss of reason, and whose whole life is a touching story. As a child she made Point of Venice lace; at the age of fourteen or fifteen she painted snuff boxes with flowers and pretty faces; then miniatures of well-known persons kept her brushes busy; but this minute art tried her eyes so seriously that Rosalba adopted pastels instead, and soon became the most famous pastellist of her period. She journeyed pretty well all over the Continent, winning an extraordinary success wherever she went, as well as a place in all the Academies of note, from the Clementina at Bologna to the Royal Academy at Paris. Rosalba Carriera arrived in Paris in April 1720; she kept a diary of her experiences, and students of French history should read it in the edition annotated by Alfred Sensier. But here we are concerned with the art alone of Rosalba Carriera, an art rich in colour, swift and nervous in drawing, full of character, and modelled always with vigour and with ease.
Returning now to an earlier traveller, Sophonisba Anguisciola, we meet with another portraitist of real merit, more self-contained than Rosalba, less impetuous, but fresh, witty, sincere and charming. It is probable that she was born in 1533. After studying for some time at Cremona, under Bernardino Campi, Sophonisba Anguisciola began to make fun of the little girls of the period. Vasari set the greatest store by one of these satirical sketches, representing a boy with a lobster clawed to his finger, and a small girl laughing at his nimbleness. The subject of another skit was an old woman studying the Alphabet, much to the amusement of a baby girl.
That Sophonisba Anguisciola was very young when she first attracted notice from the great, is proved by the fact that she sent a likeness of herself—a likeness now at Vienna—to Pope Julius III., who died in 1555. It was in her twenty-seventh year that she made her way, with ten attendants, to the Spanish Court, there to paint a history in admired portraits of the great age of the auto-da-fé: a history which tempus edax has devoured, leaving us only those works which Sophonisba turned out in her native country, far away from the dark tragedies of the Escorial. Philip the Second married his protegée to a wealthy Sicilian noble, Don Fabrizio de Monçada, giving her a huge dowry of 12,000 ducats, a pension of 1,400 scudi, and a dress loaded with pearls, besides other presents.
Sophonisba retired with her husband to Palermo, where she soon became a widow. Then Philip and his Queen wished her to return to Madrid; but the artist pleaded an excuse, the excuse of homesickness, and set sail for Italy. The captain of the galley of war, Orazio Lomellini, was a handsome man of good family, a native of Genoa; his gallantry had suffered a sea-change, was altogether breezy, sailor-like, delightful; and Sophonisba not only fell in love with him, she took him at a leap-year advantage, and soon changed her "weeds" for a bridal dress.
When Van Dyck met her at Genoa (1622), and painted several members of her husband's family, Sophonisba was upwards of eighty-seven years old, and quite blind; but the blithe old lady still went on painting so well in her familiar conversations that Van Dyck said he had learnt more from her talk than from his other teachers. Had Steele an inkling of this magnificent compliment when he said that to love the Lady Elizabeth Hastings was a liberal education? Addison may have heard of it in Italy, and in turning over his thoughts before Master Richard, may have dropped it generously. But, however this may be, Stirling gives too much point to Van Dyck's words; for he says boldly, in The Annals of the Artists of Spain, that my painter's portraits are little inferior to those by Titian. "Of this evidence is afforded," says he, "by that beautiful portrait of her, which is now no mean gem of the galleries and libraries of Althorp."
Perhaps one may defy critics to name a single latter-day "realist" among the fair who has attained to Artemisia Gentileschi's masterful and singular ruthlessness, as in the several pictures of Judith that she painted. One of these pictures will be found on page 45. It is the least relentless of the series, but it shows clearly enough the grip of Artemisia's hand in tragedy. Curiously, the suave Guido was Artemisia's first teacher, but she learnt more from Domenichino, and more still from the years she passed at Naples, then known as "the sink of all iniquity." But Artemisia Gentileschi is sometimes kind in her work, and gentle; she does not always remind us of that Artemisia who fought so well at Salamis, causing Xerxes to cry: "Behold! the men behave like women, and the women like men!" In her excellent portraits, and in pictures like the "Mary Magdalene," on page 31, she blends some graciousness of thought with vigour and variety of technique.
Lavinia Fontana and Elisabetta Sirani were the ablest women painters whose travels did not extend beyond Italy. The first was a member of the old Roman Academy, and Pope Gregory XIII. made her his portraitist in ordinary. She was born of good family in Bologna, anno 1552. It was her father that shaped the laggard talents of Lodovico Carracci, and from him came the girl's first lessons in drawing. Lavinia spent most of her life in Rome, where, for close on two generations, she held society by the austere truth of her portraiture. Ladies of high rank vied with one another to become her sitters, and a long red line of cardinals sat to her. Pope Paul the Fifth was among Lavinia's models; very high prices were paid readily for her work, and not a few noblemen wished to marry her; but the artist remained true to the young Count of Imola, Giovanni Paolo Zappi, a good, kind, simple-hearted fellow, an aristocratic Barnaby Rudge. Him she married, and it was her ill-hap to see his simplicity repeat itself in one of their two sons, a lad who kept the Pope's antechamber merry.
My artist's style, though modelled to some extent on that of the Carracci, has a distinction of its own. Even the arid Kügler gives Lavinia his rare good word, reckoning her a better artist than her father, and adding: "Her work is clever and bold, and in portraiture, especially, she has left good things."
Does Elisabetta Sirani take precedence of Lady Waterford? Perhaps they may be regarded as two equal queens in the world of woman's art, each with a beautiful artistic intellect. Even at the age of nineteen, as old Bartsch admits, Elisabetta etched exquisite plates; and, before she was twenty-three, her paintings were sought after by all the patron-critics of her country. Yet her male rivals hinted that she was dishonest, that she did not paint her own pictures, but had "ghosts" to win fame and fortune for her—especially her father, a poor "ghost," afflicted with inherited gout. Elisabetta happily soon turned the sneer against her rivals. This she did by working before an audience of distinguished persons, like Cosimo, Crown Prince of Tuscany, who on May 13th, 1664, stood by whilst she painted a likeness of his uncle, the Prince Leopold.
Malvasia gives in his spirited monograph a list of 150 pictures by Elisabetta Sirani; and Lanzi deemed it marvellous that one who died so young should yet have brought to completion so many hopeful efforts of real genius. The brilliant girl painted with great rapidity. One of her finest achievements—the "Baptism of Christ"—is a very large picture, and the story of its conception is noteworthy. Elisabetta was little more than twenty at the time, and the clergy who had been sent to order the work for the Church of the Certosini at Bologna, looked on whilst she, radiant with inspiration, made her first impulsive sketch in pen-and-ink. The beholders were enchanted, and the huge picture, differing little in essentials from the sketch, was painted almost as rapidly as Dumas repeopled the distant past. In brief, Elisabetta Sirani, like all women of genius, worked under an intuitive rather than technical guidance; and in her art, consequently, as in Lady Waterford's, we find those blemishes and beauties which belong to a native habit of spontaneous workmanship.
As to her private life, it is full of heroic virtues. The noble girl kept the whole family: her mother, who was stricken with paralysis; her father, who suffered intolerably from the gout; and her two sisters, whom she educated with a large class of girl art-students. Then Cupid came, saw, and was overcome, and Elisabetta, by way of celebrating this unkind victory, painted the little god in the act of crowning his victor. But the pity of it all was this: the girl had so many taut strings to her bow that the frail bow could not but break. Elisabetta's health gave way, a painful disease of the stomach assailed her; and yet to the last day but one of her short life—i.e., August 27th, 1665—she remained true to her colours, and was one of art's truest soldiers. "The best way not to feel pain is not to think of it," said she, and then went slowly back to her studio.
The present book contains adequate examples of the work of Elisabetta Sirani, of Lavinia Fontana Zappi, of Artemisia Gentileschi, of Sophonisba Anguisciola, of Rosalba Carriera; and there is a good drawing by Diana Ghisi, the painter-engraver, an excellent copy by Maria Tibaldi Subleyras, and two characteristic pictures by Agnese Dolci, sister of Carlo Dolci and his equal in talent. These painters and the early nuns, Caterina Vigri and the three sisters of Santa Marta, Siena, are enough to represent the old Italian schools; while three characteristic pictures by Elisa Koch, Juana Romani, and Rosina Gutti, unite the present with the far-distant past, a past separated from the present day by four hundred and fifty years.
EVERYBODY knows that it has fallen to England's lot to gem the remote seas with shining repetitions of herself. But everybody does not remember that she has done this quite at haphazard, just as the winds carry seeds from a garden to a waste ground. In herself, with fitful moments of purposeful energy, England has been self-critical and self-distrustful, disinclined to value her own doings or to take precautions when in the midst of dangers. But for the individual enterprise of her children, which she has often disowned and punished, her colonies would have been the Isle of Man and the Isle of Wight. And it is singular to note also that the history of England's genius in art has followed the traditional character of her devious makeshifts in commerce and in war. Despite all inherent weaknesses, she has achieved at random a recognised greatness in art, and is so surprised at it that she hesitates always to encourage the gifts of her own craftsmen, preferring rather to have confidence in the work which she can buy from men of genius in other countries. From the time of Henry VIII. to the coming of the school of Reynolds, she allowed her own painters to starve in order that she might employ strangers; and to-day, as in the past, she butterflies from foreign school to foreign school and treats her own native arts to side-glances and half-friendly nods.
Now, as this has ever been England's disposition, it is not surprising to find that Englishwomen, as well as Englishmen, long hesitated to follow the arts professionally. At a time when Italy and France had scores of women painters, England had scarcely one. Perhaps the earliest of any note, if we except Susannah Penelope Gibson, a miniature painter, was Mrs. Mary Beale, daughter of a Suffolk clergyman named Cradock. She lived between the years 1632 and 1697. After modelling her style on that of Lely, she worked with great courage, showing much real talent, particularly in quiet portraiture. She painted broadly and well, drew with force and discrimination, and although she told the truth plainly at a time when other painters flattered and fawned, she yet achieved success, and was encouraged by the highest in the land, from King Charles the Second to Archbishop Tillotson. Time has robbed her colour of its first freshness, but the character remains, and the portraits on page 81 represent Mary Beale in a characteristic manner.
The next English women painters in order of merit were Lady Diana Beauclerk, an amateur with much untutored talent, and Catharine Read, a distinguished professional artist of the Reynolds period. That she was appreciated in her day is proved by the fact that her portraits were engraved, side by side with those of Reynolds and Gainsborough. To-day she is forgotten, and very little can be learnt about her life or about the present owners of her pictures. Catharine Read lived near St. James's and sent frequently to the exhibitions. In 1770 she went to the East Indies, but in a few years returned to London, where she died in or about the year 1786.
Angelica Kauffman, R.A., though born at Coire, the capital of the Grisons, belongs to the British school, and holds in the early history of that school a position similar to that which has been assigned in France to Madame Vigée Le Brun. The art of the two ladies differs widely to be sure, that of Angelica Kauffman having less mirth, less wit, less sprightliness and homeful sincerity; it is quite artificial in spirit, with a strong bias towards the sentimental; but it has for all that considerable charm and ability, qualities, let us remember, that won the admiration of Reynolds and of Goethe. Turner, also, possessed two of her drawings, as I am told by his descendant, Mr Charles Mallord W. Turner. But in recent times Angelica Kauffman has been remembered for the romance of her personal life and treated with cool contempt in all that appertains to her work. Critics have searched in her pictures for manly qualities, and finding there the temperament of a sentimental woman, their judgment has failed them. The very men who would be astonished beyond measure if a prima donna sang to them in a voice like the leading tenor's, do not hesitate to complain when the voice in a woman's painting is one filled with womanhood.
In England, at the close of the 18th century, quite a number of ladies came to the front in art, like Caroline Watson, the admirable stipple engraver (page 89), or like Catherine Maria Fanshawe, a painter-etcher who could put a body into a peasant's smock and could show in a rustic figure the mingled influences of Morland and Gainsborough, while keeping a tender sympathy of her own (page 89). Amelia Hotham, too, in the native art of water-colour, attained to a broad and vigorous style in landscape, while taking far too many hints from the scenic pomp that Francis Nicholson made popular in outdoor scenes (page 88). Nevertheless, Amelia Hotham's work has interest in the history of British water-colour, like that of three other ladies who followed her, the Viscountess Templetown (page 94), Matilda Heming and Mrs. John Herford, the grandmother of Mrs. Allingham. Matilda Heming's picture on page 95, "Backwater, Weymouth, Dorset," is weak in the drawing of the hills, but the rest of the design is quite admirable, the boats particularly being very well drawn. We see, then, that during the last decades of the 18th century, and at the beginning of the nineteenth, a little band of Englishwomen studied landscape painting seriously; and this fact is worth remembering, as women have seldom been drawn in art to nature in the woods and fields. The gentler sex, as a rule, has not appreciated landscapes.
On the other hand, they have shown in art a great love for the beauty of flowers, the colour and the forms of insects, and the "other-naturalness" of many kinds of animals. Maria Sibylla Merian, Rachel Ruysch, Rosa Bonheur, Fidelia Bridges, Mrs. Coleman Angell, Madame Ronner, Mlle. E. Hilda, Miss Lucy Kemp-Welch—these ladies will not be forgotten, let us hope, as long as there are students who take delight in plants, flowers, birds and animals.
Among the flower and fruit painters in England, during the 18th century and the first few decades of the nineteenth, conspicuous places must be assigned to Mary Moser, R.A., Mrs. Margaret Meen, and Anne Frances Byrne, illustrations of whose pictures will be found on page 94; and the reader will do well to compare this early work with that of Mrs. Coleman Angell, the female counterpart of William Hunt (page 102).
Whilst these flower-painters were busy, another small group of ladies won considerable popularity by their little figure-subjects, such as the Countess Spencer's drawing on page 90, or again, like the fanciful miniatures by Mrs. Mee or the sentimental portraits by Mrs. J. Robertson, types of which are given on page 93. Miss Curran's portrait of Shelley is a valuable portrait-sketch historically (page 90), and it has something of the charm that distinguishes the able portraits drawn to-day by the Marchioness of Granby.
What can be said about Mrs. Margaret Carpenter? Is she not to be placed among those quiet, unpretentious portrait-painters whose thoughts are so wrapped up in their determination to be true that they never think of striving after exhibition-room effects? Margaret Carpenter gives us the character of her sitters, and not technical displays of her own cleverness. Born at Salisbury, in 1793, the daughter of Captain Geddes, this able painter came to London in 1814, and married, in 1817, William Carpenter, who for many years was Keeper of the Print Room in the British Museum. She exhibited often at the Royal Academy until 1864, and made a great reputation by her portraits. She died in 1872, leaving a son, William Carpenter (1819-1899), to continue the art tradition which she had herself carried on in her family.
Some may think that Margaret Carpenter began the modern history of women painters in England; others may grant that distinction to the intuitive and radiant work of Lady Waterford, that most gifted of all amateurs. It seems truer to say that Margaret Carpenter is best described as a connecting-link between the old and the new, and that Lady Waterford is not only so faithful to herself but so spontaneous, that her good gifts belong to no particular school or period. They certainly owed much to the colour of the Venetian School, far more to that old source of inspiration than to any influence of the 19th century. But the main characteristics of Lady Waterford's appeal come to us from the painter's own heart and beautiful æsthetic intellect. The ease with which she composed, and the charming animation of all her designs, these were natural qualities uninfluenced by any teaching; and they won the ardent admiration of the late Mr. G. F. Watts. It is the spirit alone of Lady Waterford's art that we should admire; we must not look closely at the drawing, for Lady Waterford neither tried nor wished to perfect her faulty technical equipment. Most of her art-work was done after a day spent in other charities. It was Lady Waterford's joy to dole out alms herself, and it never occurred to her that she might do such good actions by proxy, just as Queen Charlotte picked up five old books in the booths of Holywell Street. The truth is that Lady Waterford valued practicalness more than imagination, as do the great majority of women; she longed to see the good she did, and she could not realise to herself that art has a permanent ethical influence. Closing her eyes to this truth, Lady Waterford wrote as follows to one of her friends:—
"I could never attain to even one work that I see in my mind's eye, and if I could it would be less than those of the great men of old, whose greatest works have not quelled evil or taught good.... I could not live for art—it would not be what I am put in the world to do. I do not despise art, but I should feel that it was not given for that. Two homes have been given me, and it is to try to do what I can in them that they are given for brief life."
Is not that pathetic? Is it not the very music of a woman's rationalism? What has "quelled evil?" But if our hearts and minds rise to an entire sympathy with Lady Waterford's sketches, we shall certainly feel that a noble spirit in art does indeed "teach good," is a spiritual almsgiving for all time, a charity that goes on ministering, through long generations, to that which is best in human nature.
By Ralph Peacock
IT is the privilege of man, in his youth, to ignore his limitations. For this ignorance he pays in failure the price of a possible success. In his wiser middle age he does not repent, he finds that it is only by some sort of an attack on his limitations that apparent results are attained, and he learns to take on faith the difference there is in fact between the attainment and the attempt. The experience of a woman is, I take it, very similar. It follows in no way that, because her limitations are different from, and in a physical sense greater than, man's, the brutal laws which go to produce results are in her case different. She is marching along the same road, and though she may have other stopping places by the way and perhaps may take up more modest quarters in the end, it is a journey and an arrival, an effort and a result, and the things seen by the wayside become of significance to her as the painted banners under which she seeks her way.
Englishwomen do not seem to have done much in painting before the generation or two that are just past. Public opinion was against them. The early Victorian conditions under which a woman like Charlotte Brontë produced her great results in another art are more or less familiar to all, and in the matter of painting the voice of prejudice has had still more to say. By these days it has croaked itself into the feeble hoarseness of a respectable and decent old age, and we can already look back to a succession of women painters who seem to have been conscious at first of their leading-strings, but who have shown a development more than corresponding to that of the conditions under which they worked. Kate Greenaway, who died only a few years ago, was no doubt a good example of the charming results to be obtained in leading-strings. To compare her with an artist who works in a similar field to-day is to note an advance, not only of a generation, but of the changing educational conditions within the generation. It is a far cry from Kate Greenaway to Miss Alice Woodward, for instance, and it is difficult to imagine that another age will say anything more, or less, of Miss Woodward than that she was a most distinguished artist. The leading-strings are gone.
It will always be a special field for women, the production of work in the first place for children, and it is unnecessary to spend time in emphasising or over-emphasising its importance. Art itself reckons little with motives and much with results. In a more general view it would, perhaps, be better to start this small article with some notice of the women painters of the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. There is Mrs. Mary Beale, who was a child when Cromwell was Lord Protector, and who later on painted a most excellent portrait of Charles II. There is some work of hers in the National Portrait Gallery, London, work of the quiet, genuine kind, and better than most of the painting that came for some time afterwards. Then there is Angelica Kauffman, R.A., who provides us with perhaps the only well-known name of the early periods, and there are some portrait-painters of interest, like Miss Catharine Read, of Reynolds' time, or like Mrs. Anne Mee, of the early part of last century. But it must be confessed that it would be a sorry list for a couple of centuries if it were a fact that women had had the same opportunities and no greater disabilities than the men of the period. It is not indeed until we reach such painters as Margaret Carpenter, the portrait painter, Mrs. Matilda Heming, the landscapist, and Lady Waterford, that more than charming amateur who might have done so much, that we begin to feel we have a reasonable genesis of the worker of to-day. These painters show to us now rather the influences of their time or the limitations of their opportunities, than personalities which are outside such considerations, but they nevertheless provide us with evidence of a very genuine and lively activity.
The work of Mrs. Heming is interesting in a rather more special way. It is distinctly rare to find the ordinary landscapist of her time working with an eye to truth rather than to the making of a so-called composition of the period, rare enough in fact to place her quite above the ordinary.
It is at first sight a curious thing that more women painters have not even in these days been attracted by pure landscape. It is strange in the sense that they have among them such painters as Lady Butler and Miss Lucy Kemp-Welch. But no branch of art is more that of the specialists than landscape. It developed later in history than any other, and it calls to those who would tire of the didactic in human thought and who might find in the study of any obviously human affair something to remind them of a phase of experience they would, in paint, avoid. No doubt the Empress Frederick turned to landscape as an occupation of relief from the pressing human affairs in which her life was involved, and it is just in such a way that the natural landscapist turns from the human side of life to the more abstract emotions he finds in the garden of the Great Spirit.
Women, I believe, are more held by the personal than the abstract. Mrs. Allingham may be one of the exceptions. In any case Mrs. Allingham claims quite a special place for herself in any sketch-survey of the work of English women painters. Few women have shown a more definitely English sympathy in landscape than she has. Her method is simple, obvious and plain for all to see. For that reason it would fail to appeal in any way to the Eclectics, or to those among them, at any rate, who, in the words of a subtle Eclectic, confound the natural with the commonplace. A distinctly home-bred feeling, such as Mrs. Allingham has among women, or, in the grand manner, Fred Walker among men, is however a very rare thing and is becoming rarer. How far it may, in individual cases, change to other things may be seen in some of the more modern painters, in the remarkably strong work of Miss Margaret Cameron, Miss Biddie Macdonald, Miss Alice Fanner, and Miss Beatrice How. This latter painter has not merely been affected in matters of technique, but gives us, most delightfully, the very sentiment of the country people she paints. It is quite a little miracle of transplanted adaptability.
It has been said that every good woman has in her marching outfit a supply of adaptability which, in sum total, accounts for most of the happiness enjoyed by the human race at large. If so, it may be added that in its superior manifestations the affair is sub-conscious, artistic, most natural and not at all one of the commonplaces of life. It perhaps explains, or rather is illustrated by, the number of painters in the very first rank among women who have shown in their work the influence of some near relative. In any case, Lady Alma-Tadema for one has produced work so extraordinarily good in itself that it is easy to believe the similarity of her technique to that of Sir Laurence Alma-Tadema to be merely one of the happy chances of her life. A very similar thought arises in connection with the work of the late Miss Margaret Dicksee. It is easy to influence technique, but first causes are not set in action by human hands. If one who did not know her may say so, there is written on the canvases that Miss Dicksee has left behind the evidence of a most lovable nature.
Mrs. Stanhope Forbes, Miss Lucy Kemp-Welch and Lady Granby are isolated examples whose work has no connection in itself and shows very little affinity, beneath the surface, with the special influences of their time. The strong brushwork of Mrs. Stanhope Forbes, it is true, may be said to have arrived by way of Newlyn, but the fanciful sentiment underlying her work has an arrival quite of its own. Miss Lucy Kemp-Welch has made, and deserved, a place for herself the last few years, and she stands alone among women as an animal painter of power. Lady Granby, who is an amateur, is also an artist. Magna est ars et prevalet. Ave!
Miss Mary Gow, the late Alice Havers, Miss Jessie Macgregor, Miss Anna Alma-Tadema, Miss Lily Blatherwick, Miss Amy Sawyer, and Louisa Starr (Madame Canziana) also make a special appeal, each in her own way.
Mrs. Swynnerton is a lady who has given us a great deal of work of a very high order indeed. In the first place she has always something to say that is worth saying. Her work is exuberant with the joy of life, the joy of colour. Her very brush is surcharged with a high and lavish spirit. Blue eyes look out, so blue, from happy sunburnt faces, so sunburnt, that take their places on her canvases as in a drama to tell us something of her thoughts and of themselves. Mrs. Swynnerton, plus her faults, is genuine through and through. The work of another painter, Mrs. De Morgan, naturally comes into consideration when we turn to symbolism. More tenaciously in earnest and more austere in every way than Mrs. Swynnerton, her work is as the poles apart. The one romps, if the term be allowed, in a flower-spangled meadow, the other's province is the study; and, as is the way with students, her mind is often on the thought of the past rather than with affairs of the present. Before one of Mrs. De Morgan's pictures one thinks through, by way of Burne-Jones, to Botticelli and the great ancestors of art, and it is saying a very great deal for Mrs. De Morgan that in such case one can bless the passive hand that gives and the hand that receives.
Her work may very well lead us to a small band of artists, not definitely connected in themselves, but allied with each other in the sense that they work for somewhat similar ends: Mrs. Marianne Stokes, Miss Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale and Mrs. Young Hunter. To these, perhaps, may one day be added a name very little known at present, Miss Milicent E. Gray. It is not unusual in speaking of the work of either of these first three artists, and more especially of Miss Eleanor Brickdale, to refer to the pre-Raphaelite influence in art. It is, however, extremely probable that the influence takes direct effect in these days more as a method than as a conviction. The great conviction itself has leavened Art, and the individualities of these painters are so strong that it becomes in their case a nearer interest to ignore all potters and regard the clay. Mrs. Young Hunter has a quaint flitting fancy that wanders over hill and dale and seizes from life subtle little touches that are full of the elusiveness of tales told after school hours.
Mrs. Marianne Stokes is made of sterner stuff. She has worked of late in that most stern and stubborn medium, tempera, and small things of hers in various exhibitions attract one always with the desire to know more of her most attractive work. Miss Eleanor Brickdale works, or plays, always with an idea. And the idea she is not satisfied to leave until it has taken on for other eyes a most cunning and beautiful bodily shape, in line, in form, in colour—above all in line. She is probably, without knowing it, as good an antithesis as may be found of the Impressionist, so-called. The Impressionist is the incarnation of the abstract in terms of paint, the Symbolist uses the material to convey definite abstractions in thought. It is, by contrast with music, the motive of symphony as compared to the motive of Oratorio or opera, and the apposite methods may be equally well, or badly, used or abused. Abuse may lead the militant Impressionist to an impasse of assertive agnosticism as pedantic in its way as the lucubrations of the most literary pedant in paint. On the other side of the lantern you may have Watts, and the painted canvases of a Whistler. So be it.
Art is a long lane with many turnings, and down each there may be found a little house with a fireside and human hearts thereby.
DURING the 19th century, in the United States of America, there came slowly into existence a new school of painting—new often in temper rather than in manner, for its followers usually came to Europe for their methods. Race, climate, religion, commerce, social life, influence art, and the painters of the United States reveal in their work all the characteristics for which their country has long been famous: vivacity, invention, constant enterprise, a democratic enthusiasm, a love of truth (truth often united with romance or else with sensationalism), and last, but not least, a rare felicity in transforming borrowed knowledge into something quite original. It is not often that a civilisation embodies itself in the genius of one man, giving an epitome of all its dominant qualities; but in Mr. John S. Sargent, R.A., we recognise a painter of tremendous gifts who does for the United States what the manly, swaggering Rubens did for Flanders, symbolising a people and a civilisation.
One sign of the democratic spirit in the progress of American Art is to be noticed in the fact that women have participated largely in the honours gained by the pioneers. It is noteworthy, for instance, that the first book on Women Painters should have been written by an American lady, Mrs Ellet, as far back as 1859. Mrs. Ellet showed great industry, but following a custom rashly encouraged by writers on art, she believed that she could teach painting and sculpture by the use of words alone, in recording biographical facts, and in offering criticisms on work that her readers could not see in illustrations. Written history is the phonograph of all past centuries, but the understanding of art owes little to its words.
Still, the enthusiasm that fired Mrs. Ellet was shared by many of her countrywomen, and to it we owe some truly clever artists, like the four sculptors, Harriet Hosmer, Florence Freeman, Edmonia Lewis and Emma Stebbins, or like the following painters: Emily Sartain (portraits and genre), Sara M. Peale (portraits), Mrs. J. W. Dewing (portraits, subject pictures, flowers and still-life), Annie C. Shaw (cattle and landscapes), Mrs. Adèle Fassett (portraits) Mrs. Elisa Greatorex (landscapes), Mrs. Henry A. Loop (portraits), Ella A. Moss (portraits), Jennie Brownscombe (subject pictures), May Alcott (copies after J. M. W. Turner and still-life), Elizabeth Boott (figure subjects), Charlotte B. Coman (landscapes in the manner of Corot), and that delicate recorder of pleasant secrets learnt from nature in the fields, Fidelia Bridges. The very titles of this lady's pictures have the fragrance of field flowers or else they glow with the plumage of birds. It has been said of Fidelia Bridges that her art sings little pastoral lyrics, and her art is certainly very fresh and sweet, charmed with much sympathetic appreciation of nature in some of her unnumbered smiling moods. For Fidelia Bridges, like Birket Foster, paints as though the year were all springtime, a series of twelve May months, all full of gaiety and bounty. She seldom takes heed of that eternal warfare which accompanies Nature's bountifulness, filling the seed-carrying winds with the presence of death, and setting every living thing to prey upon another. To this part of Nature's life Fidelia Bridges usually shuts her eyes, unlike Miss E. M. Carpenter, whose landscape art reveals at times the menacing suggestion of great rivers and of high solitary mountains.
It would serve no useful purpose to enumerate all the earlier women painters of the United States. They worked bravely and well, and if their doings are now forgotten or undervalued, it is only because the harvest sowed by them is being reaped by the present generation. To-day the names of at least two American women painters, Mary Cassatt and Cecilia Beaux, are known in every country where good art is studied. Mary Cassatt, the only pupil of Degas, is bracketed always with Berthe Morisot, for both ladies became Impressionists at about the same time, adding the charm of their personalities to a rugged revolt in art. The work of each has great interest, but that of Mary Cassatt is the more attractive and the more enduring. It is not overburdened with a heavy adherence to methods originated by men; and it is richer with the emotions of the painter's own heart. To Mary Cassatt, Impressionism is a chosen dialect, a means by which she can express herself in colour and form; to Berthe Morisot, on the other hand, it was in itself the final word in painting. So, mistaking the clay of art for the finished statue, she obeyed the methods of a school with so much zeal and so much self-sacrifice that her own nature became enslaved to the difficulties of technique. Compare Berthe Morisot's able study (page 211) with the charming homeliness of Mary Cassatt's picture (page 157), and you will see at a glance how wide is the difference between the emotional and æsthetic value of the subjects represented. Berthe Morisot remains a student, while Mary Cassatt passes beyond technique to a universal delight in childhood. She feels both the pathos and the humour of the beginnings of our life, and she makes infancy welcome in art because she understands it and shows no maudlin sentiment.
Something of the same kind is done by Miss Cornelia Conant, in her domestic picture called "The End of the Story" (page 151); and another view of child-life, delightfully rendered by Helen Hyde, may be seen in colour on page 145.
The pictures by which Miss Cecilia Beaux is represented in this book show very clearly that her genius has dramatic strength, sustention, and flexibility. The portrait on page 162 is handled with a sculptural vigour that responds admirably to the character of the sitter, while the "Mother and Child" (page 121) has a quietness of tone, a reserved simplicity of style, a permeating suggestion of pathos, having much in common with Whistler's portrait of his mother. Miss Cecilia Beaux is a dramatist in her studies of character, and her art is probably more subtle and more various than that of any woman painter who has devoted her life to portraiture. The reader will do well to contrast her style with that of Mrs. Anna Lea Merritt, the first woman painter whose work was purchased by the Chantrey Fund, London (page 139).
It is fitting now that a list should be given of other leading artists of the United States, though their work is not represented here, owing to the adventures in delays that attend a despatch of letters from London to America.
1. Sarah C. Sears (Mrs. J. Montgomery Sears), pupil of Turner, Brush
and Tarbell; prizes at New York, 1893, Chicago, 1893, Paris, 1900,
Buffalo, 1901, Charleston, 1902.
2. Miss Mary L. Macomber, pupil of Boston Museum; prizes at Boston, 1895, Atlanta, 1895, National Academy of Design, 1897, Pittsburgh, 1901.
3. Miss Katherine Abbot, bronze medal at Paris, 1900.
4. Miss Elizabeth F. Bonsall, pupil of Howard Pyle, prize winner at Philadelphia, 1885, 1888, 1897.
5. Miss Matilda Browne, pupil of Dewey and Bisbing, medals at Chicago, 1890, National Academy of Design, 1899 and 1901.
6. Miss Maria Brooks, pupil of the Royal Academy Schools, London.
7. Mrs. Brewster Sewell, pupil of Duran in Paris, of Chase in New York; winner of several prizes, as at Charleston in 1902.
8. Rosina Emmet Sherwood, pupil of Chase and of Julian's School, Paris; prizes in Paris, 1889, Chicago, 1893, Buffalo, 1901.
9. Mrs. Emily M. Scott, prizes at Buffalo, 1901, New York, 1902.
10. Miss Rhoda H. Nicolls, born in England and studied in England; a frequent prize-winner.
11. Edith M. Prellwitz, a frequent prize-winner and a pupil of Brush, in New York, of Julian, in Paris.
12. Lydia Field Emmet, pupil of Bouguereau, in Paris, of Chase, in New York; prizes at Chicago, 1893, Atlanta, 1895, Buffalo, 1901.
13. Mrs. Kenyon Cox, pupil of the National Academy of Design; prize-winner at Paris, 1900, at Buffalo, 1901.
14. Emma L. Cooper, Medals at Chicago, 1893, Atlanta, 1895.
15. Mrs. Charlotte B. Comans, Medal at San Francisco, 1894.
16. Miss Clara S. MacChesney;
and last, but not least, Miss Mary F. MacMonnies.
By Léonce Bénédite.
Translated into English by Edgar Preston
WOMAN in Art is a fruitful subject. It is both psychological and æsthetic, involving as it does a question of paramount interest. At the same time it includes a special up-to-date character, by virtue of the grave questions arising from the position of woman in our social system of to-day. It is, indeed, the position of woman which has for so long a period set limits to her production of creations of the mind, and her position has had a distinct bearing on her inspiration.
Thus it will be grasped, in these times of ours when the movement for the total emancipation of woman has commenced, and when the first franchises granted to her have already borne conclusive results, how it is that our honoured colleague, the editor of this book, has been led, both as an artist and as a writer on art, to conduct a sort of historical examination enabling one to understand the position woman has won in the realms of art in the past, and permitting one to foresee the place she is called upon to occupy in the future.
With regard to the productions of the mind, it becomes necessary to establish a well-defined distinction, at least in so far as the past, anterior to the 19th century, is concerned, between the position of women artists and that of literary women. The literary woman, like the man of letters, was not subjected to any special obligation beyond the official sanction granting her the privilege of publication—a sanction which bore only on the question of morals and religion. Every woman was free to write without let or hindrance, without any preliminary education, and even without going through the formalities of publication or the necessities of printing, since a famous woman like Madame de Sévigné owed her celebrity to letters which were not destined to be made public. This explains the number of charming writers among women who have added lustre to French literature by their novels, stories, or simply by their letters, and enables one to realise how these women authors are, in contradistinction to women artists, persons of high standing. The chronicles of the Hôtel de Rambouillet constitute an interesting little chapter in the history of letters in France, just as the "Précieuses Ridicules" or the "Femmes Savantes" of Molière reveal to us the defects and eccentricities into which the literary pretensions of the feminine world had fallen in the 17th century. It cannot, however, be denied that the fair sex freely infused into the literature of that period spontaneity, life and spirit, piquancy, affectation, and the delicate sentiments inherent to its nature, and that it had its share of influence on French taste at that time.
Altogether different is the position of their sisters, the women-painters. Let us first look into that of the men. Painters formerly were part of a Guild such as that of the Drapers, Bakers and Butchers, and in their case it was a Guild which was far from occupying the first place in the hierarchy of Guilds. The Butchers were beyond doubt higher up in the scale than the painters. The painters were subjected to narrow and despotic regulations; rigorous conditions governed both apprenticeship and mastership, conditions hardly encouraging to those who had a vocation, more especially in the case of women, ill-protected by the weakness of their sex, by prevalent custom, and ill-adapted for the struggle. The régime of the Académies, which followed that of the Guilds, did not bring in its wake conditions in any degree profitable to womankind. The Académie de Saint-Luc, while pretending to safeguard the professional interests of artists, displayed such tyrannical pretensions that a certain number of artists rose in revolt against it, and appealed to the Royal power, which, approached by its chief painter, Charles Le Brun, came to their rescue, by helping them to found the celebrated Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture (1666). The Académie Royale proved itself somewhat more liberal. It set no limits to the reception of those who seemed worthy of its suffrages; we know that it welcomed into its bosom a number of strangers of merit, and that it opened its doors to women. Therein lies a victory of appreciable importance, if one considers the energy and the talent which women artists were compelled to display, in order to conquer ancient prejudices in so signal a fashion. Henceforth a place was assigned in art to women, a place still hedged in with limitations, and which could be attained only by the few privileged ones. For, in its turn, the Académie served the purpose of a few, but not that of the many. The Académie reserved the monopoly of exhibitions exclusively for its members; and artists who did not, in one way or other, belong to this congregation, were allowed to exhibit their works in public only once a year. It was on the one day of the Octave of Corpus Christi, for a space of two hours, in the open air, and within the circumference of the Place Dauphine. All great artists had to submit to this treatment, ere they could force the portals of the Académie. But times have changed! Our contemporaries, so inconstant, so impatient, who wear out the attention of the public by the excessive multiplicity of their exhibitory manifestations, should occasionally think of the conditions under which their forerunners laboured.
Imagine a woman placed in the midst of these quarrels and struggles of rival Academies, with men in strong and often fierce antagonism on all sides of her; picture not only these general difficulties, but those of a more particular sort which arise from the disabilities of her sex, her subordinate state; think of the drawbacks—the prejudices, the convenances to be considered, and then the embarrassing promiscuity of life in studio and school, particularly as regards the study from the living model—and one can realise how brave, how energetic, or how ambitious must be the woman who would win the title of Artist.
It is clear that the Royal Academy's liberal measure in opening its doors to women of talent was an event of some importance, from the moral point of view at any rate. It was the public recognition of woman's capacity in matters of art, the official consecration of merit which might come to light; also it afforded a goal to strive for—a goal hard to reach and very remote, doubtless, but still a goal possible of attainment to the most courageous and the most hopeful among women. The real, as distinct from the moral, advantages were, however, rather limited. From 1663, the date which marks the admission of the first woman artist, to 1783, when the last was admitted—that is to say during a period of eighty years—exactly fifteen women painters were elected, and among them were three foreigners. In 1770, indeed, on the nomination of Mlle. Giroust, wife of Roslin, the painter, it was decided that, as there were already in the company two other women previously elected, there must not be more than four women in all within the Academy. This measure of restriction was renewed in 1783 and ratified by Royal ordinance on the election of Mme. Vigée Le Brun.
Nevertheless there was an appreciable number of women artists in France throughout the course of the 18th century. Their social rank was strictly confined. There were no "women of quality," such as were to be found in the world of letters, no representatives of the bourgeoisie even. The women artists, with very rare exceptions, all belonged to artist families. They were the wives, the daughters, the sisters or the nieces of artists, and this tradition, as we shall see, even continued long into the 19th century. Catherine Duchemin, the first woman elected to the Academy, was the wife of the sculptor, Girardon, while Geneviève and Madelaine Boulogne, both academicians, were related to distinguished painters of that name. Mlle. Reboul was Mme. Vien, and Mme. Labille des Vertus became Mme. Vincent on her second marriage. Then we have Mlle. Natoire, sister of the director of the Academy of France, Catherine van Loo, one of the innumerable family of Van Loo, Mme. de Valsaureaux, née Parrocel, of the no less numerous family of Parrocel, Mme. Therbouch, née Liscewska, all this family, father, mother, and daughters alike, being painters; and Mme. Vigée herself, who married the picture dealer Le Brun, was the daughter of a portrait painter.
During the 17th and 18th centuries these great artist families intermarried to such an extent as to form a series  of veritable dynasties—for instance, those of the Coypels, the Coustous, the Van Loos, the Boulognes, the Parrocels, and the Vernets, to name but a few of the most renowned. Artist families became allied just as do those of lawyers and merchants. Thus their social life grew more limited, each category more and more distinct and apart, for these artist families rarely strayed beyond their own milieu. And those very circumstances which tended to retard the development of the artistic calling in woman exerted their influence over the inspiration of the female artist. The impossibility of pursuing very far the study of anatomical drawing, owing to the nudity of the model, diverted them almost entirely to the studies of observation and of imitation, to portrait work, and flowers and animals and still-life. Later, when they obtained greater liberty, they devoted themselves to genre of a size and kind demanding less substantial preparation. But as for composition, they never touched "history," as it was termed—that is, lofty, heroic or allegorical subjects—and if there should chance to have been any exception to this rule, it was simply in the direction of religious motifs.
Further, they long affected what may be called medium processes: pastel, water-colour, miniature, all kinds of work offering opportunity of finish and éclat. They showed a partiality for oil painting after the manner of the smaller Dutch masters, who had no more faithful imitators in all France. Mme. Vien, Mme. de Valsaureaux, née Parrocel, and particularly Mme. Vallayer Coster—"femme qui fut un habile homme," according to the verses written in her honour—excelled in this style.
Some of the "Académistes"—to use the old French expression—won real celebrity, but few there were who achieved lasting glory. In the reign of Louis XIV, the woman artist whose reputation shone with the clearest lustre was Elisabeth Sophie Chéron, who excelled in all the arts—for she was a clever painter, a consummate musician, a poet of merit and femme d'esprit into the bargain. Following the general rule she belonged to one of the numerous artist families. Daughter of a painter (Louis Chéron), she was also sister of a painter. This latter, who was her junior, had talent, but not to the extent of the elder. Élisabeth Sophie Chéron was of Huguenot family, as was frequently the case among the Academicians, although, from what absurd prejudice I know not, the réformés were regarded as less artistic than other folk. But in 1668,—she was twenty then—terrified no doubt by the ever-increasing persecution of the Protestants—a persecution which was soon to result in the Edict of Nantes—she, like her sister, abjured her faith, whereas her brother, remaining true to the family faith, was forced to take refuge in London, where he died.
Sophie translated into French the Psalms of David, which her brother illustrated admirably, and she has left at least one important engraved work, but above all, she has left a number of portraits of well-known people of her time, portraits that the sitters made her copy four and even five times.
Among other "Académistes," interesting if not so well known, was that sister of the "Visitandine" order, Anne Marie Trésor, who decorated with religious subjects the church of the monastery of the "Dames de Ste. Marie de Chaillot." She was received by the Academy in 1676, and the choice of the Academy showed, as its accepted members were of such different views, that the body was after all somewhat broad in character. Another proof of this liberal spirit is to be found in the fact that the Academy received foreign artists within its body. There were three of them; the first was Mlle. Haverman, of Dutch origin, who was, however, excluded shortly after her election—she attempted to justify her election by sending in a painting which was not her own, but the work of her master, Van Huysum. The second foreign "Académiste" was specially illustrious and worthy of the honour conferred on her. She was Rosalba Carriera, a Venetian, a woman who was really original, and whose reputation has lived through the centuries, but about whom, in this chapter devoted to France, I must not speak at length. The last of the three was Mme. Terbouche, or, more exactly, Therbousch, who, although born in 1728 at Berlin, was numbered by our old museum catalogues in the ranks of the French School.
May 31st, 1783, was an exceptionally important date for the Academy, in respect of women artists. On that day were received Mme. Vigée Le Brun and Mme. Adélaïde Labille Guyard (or Guiard). One may say that at that very hour began officially the rivalry which constantly existed between the two women, both of real merit, throughout their careers—a rivalry which has been maintained in the preference shown for one or the other, after death, by their historians. Mme. Vigée Le Brun was the more celebrated of the two, and rightly so, for one might say that of all the women painters of her time she had a personality quite her own, quite feminine, rich in grace, ease, variety of attitude, gesture and composition, discreet and delicate affectedness, freshness and brightness. Mme. Vigée Le Brun was the daughter of a somewhat mediocre painter, and the wife of a well-known picture dealer, whom she married when quite young. She had lessons from Doyen, Greuze and Joseph Vernet, and her success was quickly achieved. Mlle. Adélaïde Labille des Vertus, the daughter of a mercer, was married to a certain Guyard, a neighbour. She did not live long with him, and had lessons from an old friend, the painter Vincent (the father), and afterwards from La Tour. While Mme. Le Brun, whose work was admired by Marie Antoinette, was supported by the Court, Mme. Guyard secretly made friends in the body of the Academy itself, painting the portraits of first one member and then another. On the day of the election, she seemed to be overcoming her rival, whom her friends succeeded in putting on one side because the rules of the Academy forbade the traffic in pictures. Mme. Le Brun was received only by order of the King. Her own autobiography, as well as the pamphlets of the time, depict for us the powerful rivalry which existed, and also the many calumnies with which the three women painters were attacked (there was a third candidate, Mme. Vallayer Coster), even in their private life, the persecution of offensive insinuations, and the existence of the accusation so often levelled against women painters, that their work is not their own. Posterity has reconciled the rivals on the walls of our galleries. If Mme. Vigée Le Brun certainly holds pride of place, Mme. Guyard, by her more solid talent, perhaps more characteristic, has an enviable position at her side.
By the side of these celebrated women there are a few others of whom the recollection is not quite so keen, but who were not without a touching grace, though they lived their life within the sphere of their masters' influence, illuminated by the renown of these masters and breathing their atmosphere. It would not be right to say that these women artists copied their masters, or slavishly imitated them, but they transposed their qualities, elevated them by feminising them. Of these, I may mention Mlle. Ledoux, who followed in the wake of Greuze; Mlle. Marguerite Gérard, who lived under the shadow of Fragonard; and that exquisite and sorrowful figure, Mlle. Constance Mayer, whose devotion for her master Prudhon found its supreme expression in her tragic end. Less brilliant, rather hidden in the twilight of history, these women yet exercise on our thoughts an influence more subtle and delicate, and more penetrating.
The approach of the great national crisis, and even the worst days of that period, at the same time glorious yet barbaric, did not extinguish the zeal of the women painters. It seems rather as though they shut themselves up in the study of their art so as to secure a refuge for their hopes and their dreams. In the first "Salons" of the century, one is surprised to find works by a comparatively large number of women painters. In 1800, of 180 exhibitors they number 25; eight years later, in the "Salon" of 1808, they are 46 out of 311. The difficulties set up by the Academy were overcome, the liberty to exhibit was a fresh encouragement, even an exceptional stimulus. The figures, therefore, rise still further in the first quarter of the century, so that in 1831 the women number 149 out of 873 exhibitors. The "staff," so to speak, of the women artists of that day, surrounding Mme. Vigée Le Brun, whose glorious and somewhat chequered career did not close till 1842, included a number of distinguished women, such as Mlle. Bevic and Mlle. Capet, pupils of Mme. Guyard; Mme. Chaudet, the wife of the sculptor; Mlle. Eulalie Morin; Mme. Adèle Romance, who also signed Romany, or Romany de Romance; the "good" Mlle. Godefroid, pupil of Baron Gérard, who helped him in so many of the portraits of contemporary cosmopolitan people of distinction, commissions for which rained in the master's studio, after the entry of the allied forces into Paris. Later on, we have Mlle. Cogniet; Mme. Filleul; Mme. Rude, the wife of the great sculptor, who had a severe yet confident talent. Lastly, there was the woman artist who benefited by all the advantages of fashion, Mme. Haudebourt-Lescot.
Mlle. Lescot, wife of Haudebourt, the architect, and pupil of Lethière—mischievous tongues, of course, declared that he painted her pictures—was a strange creature, who, at the start, owed the popularity she obtained as much to her personal charm as to her real talent. Her first success was in the drawing-room, where people admired her dances. "She was," says a writer, "ugly and captivating, with crooked eyes and a charming expression, her mouth ill-shaped, but tender and inviting," such as Ingres represented her in one of his finest pencil drawings.
Hitherto, women had certainly banished themselves into the domain of portrait or still-life painting, that is to say, they had done little that was not sheer copying. But, little by little, under the influence of the lesser Dutch masters, who had been passionately appreciated since the close of the previous reign, and thanks to the opening of the Royal Collections at the Luxembourg Palace, where they could be studied and copied, the women-painters, following the example of the masters who gained inspiration therefrom, began to devote themselves to landscape and to genre. They sought out little touching subjects, which very frequently bordered on the ridiculous. For example, "the child's bed catches fire through the carelessness of the nurse who has fallen asleep, and the dog attempts to waken her."
Mlle. Lescot cut herself adrift from all these insipidities. The opportunity came for her to spend several years in Rome. She was struck by the popular customs of the country, by its colour and that singular and picturesque charm which Granet had been the first to discover—the charm which, after her own time, was to be made further known by the paintings of the well-known Léopold Robert. As a matter of fact, she was practically the creator of the type of exotic subjects borrowed from Italy, to which numerous artists in France devoted themselves—Hébert, Bonnat and Jules Lefebvre, to name but a few of the most important of them. In choosing her motifs she displayed wit and inventiveness, and at times a delicate grace, notably in her first pictures, before the desire to satisfy a daily increasing connection had driven her into unduly hurried work. Her technique, too, was brisk, yet careful, as it should be in small works such as hers. Her lightly-touched lithographs, together with those which she did "after" her own pictures, contributed to popularise her special subjects and her name.
The novelty of these paintings, devoted to the cult of "local colour," caused them to be adopted as "romantic." It was the same with Schnetz and Léopold Robert, who shared the popularity. But the real "Young romantic" among artists was Mlle. de Fauveau. What one discovers with regard to her is that she is not a painter but a sculptor. The Royal Academy of the 17th century had already boasted certain wood carvings by la demoiselle Massé. Also, there was Mme. Falconet. But the great and austere art was cultivated only as a rare exception by woman. Mlle. Félicie de Fauveau was the first pre-Raphaelite, although the return to the primitive Italian masters of the 16th century dates further back, but with cropped head under a velvet toque, after the style of Raphael himself, she unceasingly uttered curses against that noble personality, whose brush produced the highest incarnation of the art of painting.
But the naturalist movement it was that witnessed the development of the greatest artistic personality in the feminine world of to-day—Rosa Bonheur. The rôle played by Rosa Bonheur is important from the feminine point of view, for the reason that she broke away from ancient traditions. She revealed what woman was capable of in the matter of energy, of continuity of purpose, of method, of scientific direction, in a word, in the indispensable impetus of inspiration. Before her day, the woman-painter had always been looked upon rather as a phenomenon, or her place in the domain of art was conceded to her on the grounds that she was indulging in an elevating and tasteful pastime, coming under the category of "accomplishments." Rosa Bonheur gave to woman a position equal to that of man. She won for herself unanimous admiration, based, not on the singularity of her life, not on looseness of morals, not on social triumphs, not on friends at Court, but on her robust, virile, observant and well-considered talent, which in its turn was based on a primary study of anatomy and osteology, developed by a continuous observation of the constitution and the life of the animal world. Her long life was crowned with glory. She held an exceptional place in art, akin to that of George Sand in the world of letters.
From that day forth, there appeared a new phase in the artistic life of woman. Art became for her, not merely an intellectual pastime, but a vocation and a career. Rosa Bonheur lived nearly to the close of the nineteenth century, seeing many revolutions both in French life and in French art, but remaining always quite true to herself. Perhaps the most uncertain period of all, historically, so far as women were concerned, was that period of wave-like fluctuation in French art that occurred in the seventies and eighties, reflecting itself in the work of such women painters as Angèle Dubos, Jeanne Fichel, Marie Petiet, Laure de Chatillon, Félicie Schneider, Eva Gonzalès, Marie Nicolas, and Rosa Bonheur's successor—her heiress, so to speak—Madame Virginie Demont-Breton, the daughter, wife and niece of a family of distinguished artists. She has achieved a well-deserved popularity with her subjects of popular and rustic life, and, like Rosa Bonheur, has attained the rank of officer of the Legion of Honour. Two other feminine personalities have attracted the attention of both public and artists, the one, the sister-in-law of Manet, the delightful Mademoiselle Morisot, who has, so to speak, improved on the refinement of her master; the other, that strange and alluring young Russian girl, who adopted France as her Fatherland, and whom France adopted as artist. Marie Bashkirtseff, struck down by a cruel and premature death, at the age of twenty-three, revealed something far more than mere happy gifts. One is surprised at the amount of studies produced by the unfortunate and beautiful creature in the short space allotted to her for her life-work.
We now enter upon the present period of woman's artistic life, the active period, let us call it. We no longer trouble about her place at our exhibitions, since she has nowadays her own exhibition, or rather exhibitions proper to herself. Among the many youthful amateurs who constitute the bulk of feminine artists, one finds a number of true artists. To name a few: Mademoiselle Louise Abbéma, Madame Madeleine Lemaire, Madame Nanny Adam, Mlle. Fiérard, Mme. Vallet-Bisson, Madame Chatrousse, Madame Darmesteter, Mme. Delacroix-Garnier, Mme. Baury-Saurel, and many others, as this book proves.
Several women-artists have won their place in the National Museum, wherein first rank is held, after Rosa Bonheur and Mme. Demont-Breton, by Madame Marie Cazin, painter and sculptor, Madame Victoria Dubourg (widow of Fantin-Latour), Mlle. Dufau, who has just been commissioned to execute some important decorations for the Sorbonne, Mlle. Delasalle, Mlle. Marie Gautier, Señora Eva Gonzalès, and a couple of semi-naturalised foreigners, Miss Mary Cassatt, an American, and Mlle. Breslau, a Swiss—both dames of the Legion of Honour.
To conclude, women are proving just now not only that the domain of art should be open to them as freely as it is to men, on the grounds of right and reason, but also that they are specially gifted by their delicate sensitiveness, their quickness of comprehension, their initiative faculty, and lastly, by all the phases of their natural temperament, and by their intelligence to endow art with the elements of expression and beauty proper to womankind.
By N. Jany.
Translated by Edgar Preston
AS far as we are able to ascertain, the history of the present subject takes us back to the time of Hubert and Jean Van Eyck, whose sister Marguerite made a name for herself in art. In the important volume by M. J. du Jardin, "L'Art Flamand," there is reproduced a drawing "after" a miniature by Marguerite Van Eyck, representing St. Catherine and St. Agnes, but we read elsewhere that "no work can with certainty be attributed to her."
Among women workers a century later, we find: Clara de Keyzer, Suzanne Horebout and Anna Smyters, all three of Ghent. Clara de Keyzer, who flourished about 1530, visited Germany, Italy, France and Spain. Suzanne Horebout (1503-1545) was the daughter of Gerard Horebout, a painter of Ghent, who betook himself to England, and became painter to Henry VIII. Dürer knew him at Antwerp, in 1521, and there paid homage to the skill of his daughter, who was then barely 18 years of age. She accompanied her father to England, and was there received with the utmost favour; she made a rich marriage with John Parcker (or Parker), one of the King's archers, and died full of honours in her adopted country.
Anne Smyters who flourished about 1540, is named in words of praise by Van Mander, Vaernewyck and Guicciardini. She married the celebrated sculptor, Jean de Heere, and was the mother of Luc de Heere, the painter, who made a long stay in England, where, among other works of importance, he did a series of decorative paintings for the Earl of Lincoln.
Siret's "Dictionnaire" tells us that "in 1868, M. Lescart, a barrister of Mons, was the possessor of the only known picture by Catherine van Hemessen. This is a half-length study of the Virgin fondling the infant Christ, with a background of landscape wherein one perceives snow. It is painted on wood, and bears the signature: 'Caterina de Hemessen pingebat.'" But there is in London an interesting portrait of a man, by her, dated 1552, and an illustration of it will be found on page 263.
Then comes a series of daughters (and a sister) of famous painters, viz: Justine van Dyck; Gertrude van Veen; Catherine Pepyn; Catherine Peeters; Anne-Marie, Françoise-Catherine and Marie-Thérèse van Thielen; and Laurence-Catherine Ykens. The daughter of Antony van Dyck was born in London, in 1641. "She was wedded at the age of 12," says Siret's "Dictionnaire," "to Sir John Stepney de Prendergast, and abjured Protestantism at Antwerp on the 19th of August, 1660. Left a widow, she made a second marriage with Martin de Carbonell. Van Dyck's daughter was unfortunate, for she found herself compelled to ask the King for a pension, which she obtained."
The daughter of Otto van Veen, known as Venius, the teacher of Rubens, was born at Antwerp in 1602. She was a pupil of her father, and married Louis Malo. The Brussels gallery contains a portrait of her father, from her brush. She died in 1643. The daughter of Martin Pepyn lived in Antwerp about 1619. She specialised in portrait work, and was received into the Corporation of St. Luke, of that city, in 1650, by virtue of being a daughter of the master.
The success obtained by the flower-paintings of Seghers and Breughel suddenly caused a great development of this special branch of art, to which, moreover, the celebrated Dutchman Jean-David de Heem, then domiciled in Antwerp, was a notable contributor. Among the women who became inspired by their example and followed their technique may be mentioned: Catherine Peeters, and the three daughters, pupils of the painter, Jean-Philippe van Thielen (himself a direct disciple of Seghers), and Laurence-Catherine Ykens.
The registers of the Antwerp Academy for 1784 contain the name of Marie Baesten, née Ommeganck. Siret's "Dictionnaire" also mentions (at Bruges), the daughter of Louis de Deyster, the painter. Anne de Deyster (1690-1747) attracted notice by the perfection with which she copied her father's pictures. Gertrude de Pelichy, of Utrecht (1743-1825), was appointed an honorary member of the Imperial and Royal Academy of Painting in Vienna, and at Bruges she painted the portrait of the Emperor Joseph II., and that of the Empress Maria-Theresa.
At the opening of the 19th Century, the Art of the Miniature was cultivated—as they expressed it in those days—by Marie-Josephe Dargent of Liège, a daughter and pupil of Michel Dargent, the elder, Hortense van Baerlen, and Amélie van Assche, whose sister, Isabelle Catherine, a pupil of her uncle, Henry van Assche, had devoted herself to landscape painting.
Siret's dictionary then notices a large number of women painters both historical and genre.
Marie-Adelaide Kindt of Brussels, who was a pupil of David and of Navez, and visited Germany and France; Julie-Anne-Marie Noël, wife of the painter, J. B. van Eycken, of Brussels; Mme. Isabelle-Marie-Françoise Geefs, née Corr, of Brussels, a pupil of Navez; Mme. de Keyzer, née Marie Isabelle Telghuis, wife of the former director of the Antwerp Academy, Nicaise de Keyzer. As to Mme. O'Connel, née Frédérique Miethe, of Berlin, a pupil of Begas and of Gallait, "there is (writes C. Lemonnier in his 'Histoire des Beaux Arts en Belgique'), in her wild paintings, as it were, a reflection of Rubens."
Mlle. C. de Vrient, of Ghent, sister of the painters Albert and Julien, was a flower painter of distinction, like Mlle. Renoz, Mlle. de Franchimont, Mlle. F. Capesius and Mlle. E. de Vigne. Marie Ommeganck, a sister of the renowned Balthazar Ommeganck, surnamed the "Racine des Moutons," painted several landscapes in the manner of her brother; Mlle. Euphrosine Beernaert, of Ostend, a pupil of L. Kuhnen, painted landscapes characteristic of Zeeland and the Campine. The Brussels Gallery has several of her works, including Les Vieux Chênes, île de Walcheren, and a Lisière de Bois en Hollande.
Before citing the names of the professional women painters who continue to contribute to the fame of the Belgian School, let me say a word in admiration of the talent of sundry "amateurs" (as they are called, to distinguish them from the others), chief among whom is H.R.H. the Comtesse de Flandre. The small-sized portraits in oils painted by the Duchesse d'Ursel are restrained in manner and full of charm.
Furthermore, the pastel portraits by the Baroness Lambert de Rothschild attract attention by the richness of their colouring and their firm drawing, while those of the Comtesse Ghislaine de Caraman impress one by their distinction and their style. Madame Philippson, who is at present devoting herself specially to sculpture, has exhibited oil paintings, boldly handled and decorative in effect, and Madame Rolin-Jacquemyns has engraved in most skilful fashion several etchings representing "The Desolate Spots of the Campine."
The most notable of the women-painters of the Belgian School to-day is certainly Madame Marie Collart, who with rare skill, has chosen a path to herself whereon she walks alone with an admirable instinct for intimate rusticity, showing much deep feeling. The painting of Mlle. Anna Boch, on the other hand, is bright and gay. She formed one of the famous group of the XX., and following the example of several of its members, she has now turned her attention to the special study of light in the open air. Mlle. Louise Héger, after painting the lonely dunes of Flanders, and the Campine, has been studying and skilfully representing the slaty tints of the high plateau of the Ardennes.
The most interesting of the "Ménages d'artistes" existing at present in the Belgian School is that of the Wytsmans. While Rodolph Wytsman seeks out the characteristic aspects of the landscapes of Brabant and the silent spots among the Flemish towns, Mme. Juliette Wytsman, for her part represents, so to speak, the floral life of the sites chosen by her husband. She has indeed created a genre in which she is without a rival.
The daughters of the German engraver, Hoppe, one of whom has married Bernier, the animal painter, and the other the landscapist, Gilsoul, have likewise attained celebrity.
The daughters and granddaughters of famous artists form yet another section. Mlle. Alice Ronner, of Brussels, daughter of Mme. Henriette Ronner, is beyond dispute the foremost painter of still-life in Belgium to-day. Her technical qualities are of the highest order, her mise-en-page, her draughtsmanship and her colour are in the grand style, and her works one and all have a really masterly air. Mlle. Marguerite Verboeckhoven, the granddaughter of the famous animal painter, has set herself to study the delicate gradations of colour seen on the Belgian littoral. Mlle. Verwée, daughter of the painter of the Beau Pays de Flandre, exhibits portraits, which display the wealth of her palette; and the still-life subjects by Mlle. Georgette Meunier, daughter of the engraver, Jean Baptiste, and niece of the great Constantin Meunier, are delicate both in design and in colouring. She is a pupil of Alfred Stevens.
Mme. Destrée-Danse and Mlle. Louise Danse, daughters of Auguste Danse, the engraver, have revealed themselves worthy of their father's high gifts. Mlle. Wesmael, in some remarkable landscapes, and Mme. Marie Durand, who has done some interesting heads, both prove that in Auguste Danse the teacher is fully worthy of the artist.
With regard to Mlle. Alix d'Anethan, C. Lemonnier, in his "History of Belgian Fine Art," writes in the following terms:—"In the Antwerp Salon of 1882 were two canvases by Mlle. d'Anethan, L'affiche and L'Enfant malade, which had the freshness and the limpidity of Chardin, with a grace, a delicacy of touch, a feminine sense revealing the teaching of that most imperious of masters, Alfred Stevens." Mlle. Berthe Art, too, followed this prodigious master painter. She has made her position by means of pastels which, while preserving their natural charm, have all the solidity of oil-paintings.
Mlle. Marie Antoinette Marcotte at first devoted herself to the representation of the life of the poor. Since then, however, she has created an altogether original genre, which has won for her many a success—the painting of glass-house interiors. She was "coached" by Emile Claus, the landscapist, among whose pupils were Mme. de Weert and Mlle. Montigny.
The number of women painters is ever on the increase. There were as many as thirty-nine represented at the Brussels Salon of 1848, while at the last Brussels Salon in 1903, they were more than a hundred; and to close this rapid survey of feminine art in Belgium, I may record a success of another kind. In 1904, Mlle. L. Brohée, after the various eliminating trials, found herself among the half-dozen artists permitted to take part in the final examination for the Prix de Rome.
Machteld van Lichtenberg, wife of Egbert van Boecop, is the first name of a Dutch woman painter given in Siret's "Historical Dictionary." She was born at Utrecht, of noble family, and made a speciality in portrait painting. Her name is mentioned by J. van Beverwyck. Her daughter Cornélie also took up painting, and died at a great age in 1629.
Marguerite Godewyck, of Dordrecht (1627-1677), was styled a "second Anne Schurman." She was one of the most learned women of her time, and was further surnamed "La Perle de la Jeunesse de Dordrecht," and "La Fleur du Paradis des Arts et des Sciences." She specialised in portrait painting. Judith Leyster, of Haarlem, likewise enjoyed great fame. From the year 1613 she was a member of the Guild of St. Luke, of Haarlem. In 1635 she had a pupil, Guillaume Wauters by name, who on leaving her entered the studio of Franz Hals. She was married at Heemstede on the 1st of June, 1636, to the painter Jean Molenaer, also a native of Haarlem. She is eulogistically mentioned by Th. Schrevelius, the historian of Haarlem, who describes her as a famous woman, justly, as he remarks, called "the true guide in the arts"—(de Ware Leyster in de Konst), her name Leyster signifying 'Guide.' She died in 1660.
The most celebrated of the Dutch women painters of the 18th century was Rachel Ruysch, of Haarlem. Her flowers and fruit, painted with keen spirit and with extraordinary firmness, are extremely rich and varied in their arrangement. She was a pupil of Guillaume Aelst. In 1695 she married Jurian Pool, and was admitted into the Hague Corporation of Painters in 1701, the same year as her husband. Without neglecting her duties as a mother (she had ten children) she was constantly devoted to her art. In 1708 she was appointed Court Painter of the Elector Palatine. Poets have sung the virtues and the gifts of this renowned woman.
Agathe and Cornélie van der Myn, sister and daughter of Herman van der Myn, accompanied the latter when he settled in London. Notable work was produced by three miniaturists: Henriette van Pee, wife of Herman Wolters, was born at Amsterdam, in 1692, and became her father's pupil. Peter the Great and the King of Prussia visited her studio, which had a high reputation, and the customary poets wrote the customary verses in her honour. Caroline-Petronille van Cuyck was made an honorary member of the Pictura of the Hague, in 1777. Anne Folkema, who lived between 1695 and 1768, was an active assistant of her brother, Jacques, in his numerous works. Nor must one forget Alida Carré, who confined herself, for the most part, to painting fans; Mlle. Van Kooten, whose name was inscribed in 1765 on the registers of the Confrérie de St. Luc, at Utrecht; Marguerite Wulfraat, of Arnhem (1678-1738), and Elisabeth Gertrude Wassenberg, of Groningue, (1726-1782), who painted genre and portraits.
At the opening of the 19th century the women painters of still-life, flowers and fruit, were still in large numbers.
An interesting figure who has left a poetical memory is Cornélie Lamme, of Dordrecht, who married J. B. Scheffer, and was the mother of the celebrated painters Henry and Ary, who belong to the French School. After the death of her husband she settled in Paris, and there ended her days. Her attainments, her wit, her eminent merits, made her one of the most remarkable women of her day. She was a draughtsman and an engraver.
The name of Henriette Ronner is one of great popularity. This indefatigable artist is known as "the painter of cats," and she has charmingly "hit off" both the heavy laziness of the mature animal, and the frolicsomeness of the kitten.
The flower pictures by Mme. van de Sande-Bakhuyzen, of the Hague, so well known, tempted that excellent engraver, Philippe Zilcken, who has "translated" with marvellous success their freshness and their éclat. Mme. Bilders van Bosse, of the Hague, is well known by her skilfully drawn and powerfully painted landscapes, and Mlle. Thérèse Schwartze, of Amsterdam, a painter of high merit, has the art of giving character to a portrait; and knows how to group her figures and paint them in strong and sombre tones. Mme. Mesdag van Houten, of the Hague, wife of the famous marine painter, affects the landscape at dark, and realises fully the melancholy tenderness of the hour.
It may be interesting now to name a truly remarkable artist who never exhibits—Mlle. Barbara van Houten, niece of Mme. Mesdag van Houten. She is an excellent painter of figure pictures and still-life; her etchings are of the highest quality, and embrace a large number of subjects—interiors with lamp effects, children's heads, landscapes, dead birds, bouquets of enormous sunflowers and gaudy tulips. Further, she has interpreted in masterly fashion, Eugène Delacroix, Jules Dupré, Gustave Courbet and other great masters of the French School.
Mention must be made of Mme. Bisschop-Robertson, who paints popular subjects with astounding vigour; Mme. Marie Heyermans, whose pictures deal with the life and surroundings of the poor; Mlles. Anna Abrahams and Anna Kerling, whose charming still-life pieces are coloured now in bright, now in sombre, tones; Mme. la baronne Hogendorp S' Jacob, of the Hague, who has turned her attention to flower painting; Mlle. Nelly Bodenheim, who does some very clever comic scenes, for the benefit of children; and Mlle. Wally Moes, of Amsterdam, a painter of portraits and peasant subjects.
Last we come to Mlle. Marius, whose fair-tinted and most distinguished still-life works have been seen and admired. She is an excellent art critic, and is now publishing an important work on Dutch painting of the 19th century.
By Wilhelm Schölermann.
Translated into English by Wilfrid Sparroy
WHEN we look into the past history of the present subject, the first German name we come upon is that of the Nun of Nuremberg, Sister Margareta, who worked from 1459 to 1470, and who copied many religious works. A century later, at Udina, in Italy, Irene von Spilimberg was born, descending from a noble German family; and although Irene died at the age of nineteen, she yet lived long enough to win the hearty admiration of her great master, Titian. As a picture by Irene von Spilimberg could not be obtained for this book, the editor has begun the German section with Anna Maria Schurman and with Maria Sibylla Merian. The first was a clever painter-etcher as well as the most learned lady of her time; the second was the daughter of Matthew Merian, and the exquisite studies she made, in water-colour, of insects and of plants and flowers, have never been excelled in their own line.
From Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) we pass on to an admirable mezzotint, after Morland, by Maria Prestel, who died in 1794; and then we are brought into the heart of the 19th century by the searching industry and skill of Anna Maria Ellenrieder, a very capable painter-etcher, who lived between the years 1791 and 1863. Ellenrieder looked to the past for her inspiration, going to the art of the early Dutch masters. She has little or nothing in common with the other German women artists of her time. How different is her ideal, for instance, from that of the well-known painter of historical subjects, the Baroness Hermione von Preuschen, whose dramatic and sensational spirit appeals so strongly to the great public, as in that canvas in which is represented the Corpse of Irene von Spilimberg, young and beautiful, lying in state in her Venetian gondola, draped with black and covered with flowers. Artists do not often care for pictures of this romantic type; and they find higher and more subtle qualities in the quiet wisdom of Julie Wolfthorn, a Berlin painter of note, and a follower of the modern school of psychological portraiture. Julie Wolfthorn combines depth of feeling and refinement of taste with keenness of penetration into the mystery of individual character. Her portrait of a young sculptor, given in the illustration on page 304, is a good example of the painter's methods.
Another Berlin artist of note is Fräulein Käthe Kollwitz, whose principal field of artistic expression has hitherto been restricted to the burin and copper plate. She has studied etching almost entirely by herself, and by dint of persistent courage and skill has developed her gifts in a direction all her own. The subjects that appeal most forcibly to her mind are taken with scarcely an exception from the darkest and most painful sides of social life and social unrest. Take a glance at the father, mother, and child, reproduced on page 302, and entitled "Destitution and Despair." Are you not inclined to marvel, almost, how a woman had the courage to depict, without flinching, the sad truths of such bitter poverty? Can you not fancy that you hear the moan of misery, the shrill scream of starvation, the cries of rebellion and death, as when, on the outbreak of the strike, the bulk of the working classes casts itself upon the streets? Such masses in motion have been made real to us in her series of plates from the "Peasants' War."
An artist of considerable versatility and intuition is Dora Hitz, of Berlin. Born at Altdorf, near Nürnberg, she began her studies at Munich, afterwards continuing them at intervals in Paris. In 1878 she acted upon the invitation of Carmen Silva, the Poet-Queen of Roumania, and executed a series of decorative panels for the royal castle of Pétès, at Sinaivo, the pictorial subjects of which were chosen from the literary works of her Majesty. Four years later she settled in Paris, and there she remained till 1891. During all that time her industry never flagged, and she was much indebted to the friendly interest which Eugène Carrière took in her work. The portrait of a little girl which may be seen here on page 303, belongs to the modern collection in the Berlin National Gallery.
Our next lady painter, though of German descent, her grandfather being a native of Hamburg, was herself born in Sweden. Her name is Jeanna Bauck. When she was twenty-three years of age she saw the fulfilment of her life-long yearning to go to Germany for the purpose of studying painting, and there, with a few short breaks, she has remained ever since, first in Dresden and Düsseldorf, and then at Munich, where she has now taken up her abode. She was also in Paris for a while, for the sake of study. At first exclusively a landscapist, she afterwards turned to portrait painting, an example of which may be found on page 300. For seven years (1897-1904) she lived in Berlin, and painted landscapes and portraits alternately, whilst superintending a flourishing school of art for ladies. In drawing your attention to her landscape on page 301, I should like to add that Jeanna Bauck takes rank among the most serious women painters of to-day.
There is yet another portrait painter who deserves a memory for the sake of her refinement and sensibility. I refer to the wife of Wilhelm Jensen, the historical novelist and poet of Schleswig-Holstein. Now, Frau Marie Jensen (Munich), once a pupil of the late Emil Lugo, devotes herself to her art in private. Most of her portraits, too, give proof of this same love of retirement, originating as they do in the family circle (see page 303).
The portrait of a lady, on page 300, is the work of that very gifted portrait painter, Fräulein Maria Davids. This capable artist has produced some excellent likenesses; among others those of the poet Gustav Frenssen, of Professor Weber, of Freiburg, of Fräulein von Sydow, a daughter of the Minister of State, and of Frau Vermehren of Lübeck. Another portrait painter of fame and much power of expression, is Frau Vilma Parlaghy, her draughtsmanship being particularly good. Hungarian by birth, she lives and works for the most part in the German capital. Her handling of the brush is vigorous, yet sober, her colouring is warm and harmoniously balanced, and her insight into character quite strikingly true and convincing. The finest and most successful efforts, in my opinion, are the portrait of the aged Field-marshal Count von Moltke, taken in his eighty-ninth year, shortly before his death, and that of Windhorst, the German statesman.
In Austria, in the dominions of the Emperor Francis Joseph, women painters are numerous, but those of more than average gifts are not perhaps so plentiful as elsewhere. In the Bohemian capital of Prague, Fräulein Hermine Laucota has worked her way up to a position of distinction quite on her own grounds. Leading a most retired life, devoted chiefly to the pursuit of natural history and art, she studied first in Prague, and then partly at Antwerp and in Munich, but since the year 1888 she has resided altogether in her native town. It is not in colours so much as in etching on the copper plate that she has found her medium of artistic expression, and the subjects she has chosen are for the most part of a symbolical character, as in the distinguished etching on page 307.
To come to Vienna, a couple of names of good repute occur to me: Frau Olga Wisinger-Florian and Frau Tina Blau-Lang, the latter a refined landscapist (see pages 306 and 308). The two views of the Prater will speak for themselves. With their charming freshness and their genial breadth of handling, they tell us as plain as words that "all's right with the world" in the springtime. Every touch is so bracing that it needs no praise. Frau Blau-Lang is an optimist beyond a doubt, and that as much by temperament as by choice of motive.
And when we look beyond Austria and Germany, we find everywhere among women the same enthusiasm for art, and the same unflagging courage in mastering the difficulties that thwart their every effort. That their persistence has been crowned with much success is shown in a very remarkable manner by this present book. How admirable, for instance, is the work done in Finland by Maria Wiik and Helene Schjerfbeck! In Switzerland, too, if we take a glance at the country where Anna Wasser, at the beginning of the 18th century, achieved fame by her paintings—there, too, we are welcomed by a particularly interesting painter's painter, Mdlle. Louise Breslau, who, with her thorough knowledge of modern realism, never truckles to the taste of the general public; and there, also, we find another woman painter whose art has been inspired on several occasions by the life of Christ: a woman painter so much occupied with the conception of her pictures that her technique has a tendency to lag behind the almost literary eloquence of her design. But Mdlle. Ottilie Roederstein is nevertheless an artist of real ability.
From Switzerland we must turn to Spain if we would do for ourselves what the accompanying illustrations will do for us in the pleasantest of pleasant ways. Take, for example, the airy, fresh, excellent landscape, a "Scene at Comillas," painted in water-colour by the Infante Doña Paz de Bourbon. Then, again, the "Carriage Race at Naples," by Doña Stuart Sindici, with its splendid dash and dexterity of composition, and the court outside a "Roman Hostelry," by Elena Brockmann, likewise a sunny scene, simply teem with warmth and colour, and with life and beauty. Not quite so strong and independent are the "Fisher Boys," by Antonia de Bañuelos, the conception and the execution alike being apparently inspired by that mild and noble master of Spanish painting, Esteban Murillo. Again, in Russia, we meet with a portrait-painter, Olga de Boznanska (page 316), whose work unites a certain independent character of its own with the influences of her Parisian training: qualities that marked in a much higher and more perfect degree the pictorial appeals of that young and marvellously spirited genius whose premature death cut short a career of infinite promise: Marie Bashkirtseff, the friend of Bastien Lepage, and a realist full of subtlety and of penetration.
By Helena Westermarck, Critic and Painter
ART in Finland, pictorial art, like much else in that country, is a young growth. It is in the nineteenth century that we are first able to verify its existence, and it is only in the year 1840, or thereabouts, that we find any traces of women who seriously devoted themselves to the study of painting. The pioneers in this may be said to be Mathilda Rotkirch and Victoria Abey.
Somewhat later, in or about 1870, Fanny Churberg, after working in Düsseldorf and Paris, evinced much independent and original talent in landscape painting, her art having also an inaugural character, in that she was the first who applied herself to the decoration of textile fabrics, adapting to her purpose the old national Finnish patterns, a practice which has since then had a large following in the field of applied design. Her career, unfortunately, was soon ended by illness and an early death. After her came the generation of women artists who are at present carrying forward a young school of enthusiastic workers.
In the sphere of painting, the women artists of Finland study under much the same circumstances as their male comrades. The Schools of Art subsidized by the State are open both to male and to female pupils, and this applies also to all prizes and rewards of merit. Some account of the principal women painters may be of interest.
Maria Wiik (1853), after an apprenticeship in the Finnish Schools of Art and in Professor Becker's Private Academy, spent several years of study in Paris—occasionally moving her easel in the summers to Brittany, to Normandy, or even to St. Ives, in England. She has further developed her art in later years by visits to Holland and to Italy. Her talent lies in the direction of portrait and genre painting and she has now the name of being among the best Finnish portrait painters. She has executed many public commissions, such as the portrait of the Professor at the Rein University in Helsingfors, for the Finnish Literary Society, and that of the poet, Z. Topelius, for a large public school for girls. Many will remember her portrait of the School Inspector, Ohberg, which now hangs in the Helsingfors Board School. Maria Wiik has exhibited at the Paris Salons, and at picture exhibitions in Moscow, Copenhagen, and Dresden, and besides the prizes awarded her in her own country, she has received a bronze medal in Paris (1900) for a picture painted in St. Ives, called, "Out into the World."
Helene Schjerfbeck (1863), also a pupil of the Finnish Schools of Art and of Prof. Becker's Private Academy, continued her studies in Paris and afterwards visited Brittany, England, Austria and Italy. She has painted some important historical pictures, taking her subjects from Finnish and Swedish history, as in her two admirable paintings, "Liuköping's Prison in 1600" and "The Death of W. v. Schwerin." She has also painted a few landscapes and a number of genre pictures, many of them with subjects taken from French and English life. Helene Schjerfbeck has exhibited both at home and at the Paris Salons, has twice been awarded the lesser money prize given yearly by the Finnish State (for the two historical pictures mentioned above), while at the Exhibition in Paris in 1889, she received a bronze medal. She has also held an appointment as teacher in the Finnish Academy of Art, in the department of painting and in the drawing class from the living model. Her many pictures have been among the best that our women artists have produced.
Venny Soldan-Brofeldt (1860) is another pupil of the Finnish Schools of Art and of Prof. Becker's Academy, and has studied later in Paris, and in Spain and Italy. Her best work is in the genre style, many of her pictures being very characteristic and true scenes of Finnish peasant life, such as "Meal time in a Peasant's Hut" and "Pietists." Her landscapes, too, are remarkable for a sensitive conception of Nature; especially is this true of her pictures of our coast scenery, with its low granite rocks, washed over by the sea waves. Mrs. Soldan-Brofeldt has illustrated also some books for children, among others a part of a large Scandinavian edition of Topelius' Saga tales for children. At the Paris Exhibition of 1889, she received a "Mention Honorable," and in 1900, a bronze medal. She is the wife of the author, Juhani Aho. Brofeldt. Mrs. Soldan-Brofeldt's work is not illustrated in this book, as a photograph of her most important picture was broken into fragments in its journey from Finland to London.
It is characteristic of all these painters that their artistic bias was determined by their study in Paris of the French naturalists, who inspired them with a stern respect for drawing, and taught them to study Nature seriously. Starting from this common standpoint, they have, whilst working in their own way, developed along their own individual lines.
Many another woman artist deserves mention, but the limited space at my disposal permits me to give only a list of their names.
There is Ellen Thesleff, a figure painter; there is Elin Danielson-Gambogi (wife of the Italian painter, R. Gambogi), well-known for her portraits and landscapes; there is Julia Stigzelius de Cock (wife of the Belgian artist, Césare de Cock), a clever landscape painter; there is Amélie Lundahl, figure painter; and Ada Thilén, with her landscapes; and Hanna Rönnberg, with her subject pictures and outdoor scenes; and Anna Sahlstén, a figure painter; and last, but not least, I name Annie Torselles-Schybergson, a good painter of animals.
Archaic and inconsistent punctuation, spelling and syntax were retained.
The original had illustrations imbedded in the index.
Missing page numbers indicate blank pages in the original.
***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WOMEN PAINTERS OF THE WORLD***
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