An upper class woman living in late 19th century Parisian society did not have very much freedom. She would be expected to always be accompanied by a chaperone, and could not attend events or even dine on her own. One thing that was encouraged was a cultivation of interest in the fine arts, such as music, painting or needlework, which could be done in the company of other women. When the Impressionist style was first shown in 1874, which featured quick, visible brush strokes, bold colors, and emphasized the play of natural light, it was embraced by many women artists. The smaller format size and less formal subject matter made it easier for women artists to work in a closer and more domestic environment.
Through January 14, 2018, Denver Art Museum will be featuring Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism, an exhibit with more than 80 paintings by 37 women artists from across Europe and America. If you'd like to learn more about the Impressionist style or simply immerse yourself in the period, consider checking out these resources.
In mid-1800s France, artists left their studios to paint outdoors. Landscape, previously suitable only as backdrops for depictions of historical, religious, and literary events, became a worthy subject itself. In a matter of decades the Impressionist landscape was invented. Nature As Muse: Impressionist Landscapes : From The Collection Of Frederic C. Hamilton And the Denver Art Museum is gorgeously illustrated with many close-up views and double-page details, and takes a fresh look at the development of one of the most beloved painting styles of all time.
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Mary Stevenson Cassatt was the only American and one of very few women at the forefront of the French Impressionist movement. She lived much of her adult life in France, where she first met Edgar Degas, at first as a pupil, eventually becoming a life-long friend. Alison Effeny's Cassatt collects the masterworks of this groundbreaking female artist.
Introduce young readers to this period of art with Alex Wood's Impressionist Art. Not only will they learn about the characteristics of this style of art and the techniques used to create it, step-by-step instructions are included for art projects in the impressionist mode. Cool!
Interested in learning about the political and cultural climate of Paris in the late 1800s? Dawn Of The Belle Époque: The Paris Of Monet, Zola, Bernhardt, Eiffel, Debussy, Clemenceau, and Their Friends chronicles the story of Paris's rebirth, capturing the artistic freedom of impressionism in painting and music, and new ideas in sculpture and on the stage even as Republican secularists, lingering Communards, and the royalist Catholic hierarchy fought for political and popular control. This struggle is wonderfully illustrated through the construction in this era of the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and the Basilique du Sacre Coeur.
I Always Loved You is a fictionalized account of the often contentious relationship between Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas. Degas introduces Cassatt to his inner circle of friends, a socially prominent group that includes writer Émile Zola and artists Édouard Manet and his paramour, Berthe Morisot, who's married to Manet's brother, Eugene. Degas, frustrated with increasingly poor eyesight and possessing a cruel and insensitive demeanor, becomes Cassatt's mentor and, at times, tormentor. Although sometimes they're completely alienated, they remain linked through their art and (although Degas is almost loath to admit it) love.