Sunday, July 15, 2018

Studying Art in Paris, 1902

Around 1900, it was common for young American artists to study in Paris. But not everyone was in favor of it.
Typical Life Class in Sculpture
In an effort to promote American schools, Edmund Talbott painted an unflattering portrait of what it was like for young women studying art in Paris.
"American girls going to Paris have no conception of the life they will be forced to lead: the obnoxious companionship, the antiquated, disease-breeding sanitary arrangements in the dwellings, the scanty food and liability of illness resulting therefrom, the dirt, the dishonesty, etc. These things they cannot, except in rare cases, escape....Idleness, the dissipation of energies resulting from the temptations incident to residence abroad have robbed proud prestige which they acquired in their American schools, and left them worse off than though they had remained at home."
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Some Facts About Art Study in Paris, Brush and Pencil, Vol. 10, No. 2 (May, 1902), pp. 122-126
Exhibition in Massachusetts: Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900 through September 3, 2018

4 comments:

Shane said...

My parents felt the same about a girl in Art back in the '50. Sigh.

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Sam Weber said...

I always find these anecdotes so interesting, especially when thinking about my own students(many of them women from other countries around the world). It seems like a lot of these wealthy young American's were searching for some of the cultural cache that seemed to flow through old Europe at the time. And perhaps some freedom and independence from the restrictive societies that they were raised in? Anyways, always an interesting topic that gets me thinking about art education today.