Clue 5 - A Past Renews the Present
Name That Painter!
The delay in this post is a result of the time needed to attain special permission to post the museum photos. I am grateful to announce that permission has been granted! Before I get into the museum visit, I want to give you a few more clues about this artist.... Name substitutions have been added to the letter below to protect her identity.
I had mentioned the ohhh sooo elusive Salon in Paris earlier. Well, as it turns out the Salon finally gave her a break which is revealed in the following letter written by her close brother Aleck.... "I received a letter from (my sister) the other day. She is in high spirits as her picture has been accepted for the annual exhibition in Paris. This you must understand is a great honor for a young artist and not only has it been accepted but it has been hung on the "line." I don't know exactly what that means myself but suppose it means it has been hung in a favorable position. (Her) art name is "Stevenson" under which name I suppose she expects to become famous, poor child."
Hung on the "line" actually meant that the artwork was a favored piece of the show and hung at eye level instead of way up yonder in the uppermost reaches of the Salon. The Salon hung the artwork in rows upon rows from floor to ceiling on each wall. Her brother it seems, had a hard time visualizing a famous artist in his sister. How fortunate we are that she didn't let the thoughts of others direct her dreams. Isn't it fascinating to see a story unfold in the life of another?
This artist admired several artists of her time, Degas being one of them. She would stop by galleries and press her nose against the window carefully eying the works within. It must have been a truly exciting day when Edward Degas actually stopped by her studio to pay her a visit. In a letter she writes..."I had already recognized who were my true masters. I admired Manet, Courbet, and Degas. I hated conventional art. I began to live." Courbet died that same year, and imminent death was close for Manet. So in Degas she gleaned inspiration and mentorship. In their visit, Degas invited her to show with the Impressionists. She wrote, "I accepted with joy."
There are hints of romance between the two, coupled with much drama. Remember we are talking about two VERY headstrong and driven people.....WOW! It would make for such a great movie! All-in-all though they had a great deal of respect for each others artwork. She later went on to become famous for her many paintings depicting mothers and children. Many of which - you will see - are recognizable today. Interestingly, she fulfilled some of her own maternal longings through these works. Later she stated that her greatest regret was in not having children of her own. Fueled by passion for art, her time for that sadly passed by much too quickly. After having visited one of her pieces in person, I can say that her maternal instincts are infused in the canvas, and quietly communicate her tender feelings of love between a mother and child. I could cry...and I did. Stay tuned... my museum visit and report are NEXT!
Can you Name That Painter?
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