Issuu on Google+

Mania

Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Model

A look at the life of models beyond the canvas. This show explores the careers of the these models, their relationships with artists, and their lifestyles.

Birmingham Museum of Art 1

April 29- August 12, 2012


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Mania Model

A look at the life of models beyond the canvas. This show explores the careers of the these models, their relationships with artists, and their lifestyles.

Birmingham Museum of Art April 29- August 12 2012

1


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

2


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Model

Mania

Here, we have taken the title Model Mania as an opportunity to look

into the lives of female models that modeled from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. As the exhibit process progressed, we learned more about each of the models in depth. All of the women we chose to display in Model Mania had such interesting, but different, lifestyles and stories. One thing they all had in common is that they were artists’ models, painted, drawn, and photographed by some of histories most influential artists. Another thing they shared was that each of them had some type of relationship with the artist, or in some cases artists, that portrayed them. The pieces featured in our exhibit were done by the artists: James Abbott McNeil Whistler, Gustave Courbet, Edouard Manet, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, James Carroll Beckwith, Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr., and Charles Dana Gibson. The exhibit will reveal how individual artists took different approaches to painting the same model. Get ready to take a journey through the lives of some of the histories most famous artists’ models.

In this exhibit, you will find paintings featuring models Elizabeth Siddal, Joanna Hiffernan, Victorine Muerent, and Evelyn Nesbit. Model Mania is organized by name, so that all of the women have their own personal sec-

3


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

tion that shows the art pieces they modeled in. Each section also has information about the model, the artist, and their relationship. Details of the biographies will include the models’ relationships with artists, their background, and what it meant to be a model in their specific societies. We want the viewers to understand and appreciate the fact that these were real people, and knowing their stories will help bring the paintings to life.

4


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Victoria Meurent Victorine Meurent was a famous model for painters as well as a painter herself. She was known to be Edouard Manet’s favorite model. She first modeled for Manet when she was only 18 years old. Manet discovered Victorine when he saw her carrying a guitar walking down the street. That inspired him to produce the painting “The Street Singer”. She was nicknamed La Crevette meaning The shrimp for her red hair. Manet created many masterpieces that featured Victorine. These include “The Luncheon on the Grass”, “Olympia” and “Portrait of Victorine Meurent”. Victorine also modeled for Edgar Degas and Alfred Stevens. It was said that Stevens and Meurent’s relationship was to be very close. Victorine took art classes and became very engaged. The only surviving painting that she did is called “Palm Sunday”. The last painting that Manet created of Victorine was “The Railway”.

5


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: Edouard Manet Title: Luncheon on the Grass Date: 1863 Media: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 82 x 104.5 in Location: Musee d’Orsay, Paris

Edouard Manet painted Victorine Meurent in this painting. Manet showed Meurent in the female nude on a picnic with two fully clothed men. In the background a woman is shown also in the nude bathing. Manet painted this painting to show his favor in individual freedom. When this painting was shown, the French public was shocked at the content. In this work, the men are depicted to be engaging in conversation with each other ignoring the nude women. Manet showed still life in displaying the loaf of bread, fruit basket as well as the women’s clothes. Manet purposely painted this on a very large canvas. It appears that the painting looks to be incomplete in certain parts of the scene.

6


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: Edouard Manet Title: Woman with Parrot Date: 1866 Media: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 73 x 50.5 in Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City

Edouard Manet painted Victorine Meurent in this painting. In this painting, Victorine is shown to be in an abstract setting. Her toe that is peeking out from the bottom of her dress gives the viewer a sense of where the ground is. It has been said that in this painting Manet depicts the five senses: taste, sound, smell, sight and touch. Taste being the orange shown, sound being the parrot, smell depicted as the violet, sight displayed as the monocle and lastly touch being her fingers touching. “Woman with Parrot” is more portrait-like with Victorine standing and clothed. This is contrasted with “Olymphia” when Manet portrayed Victorine in the nude

7


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: Edouard Manet Title: Victorine Meurent Date: 1862 Media: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 17 x 18 in. Location: Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts

Meurent was thought of to be one of Manet’s favorite models. This portrait of Victorine was one of the first paintings that he created of the model. Manet was not shy to show his many brush strokes as the viewer can see.

8


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: Edouard Manet Title: Victorine Meurent Date: 1862 Media: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 68.5 x 46.5 in. Location: Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts Victorine was only eighteen years old when she first modeled for Manet in this painted “The Street Singer�. Manet discovered Victorine when he saw her carrying a guitar in the street. He was drawn to her red hair and petite stature. When the painting was first exhibited the viewers thought that she was a girl of the streets. She actually came from a wealthy family.

9


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: Edouard Manet (1832-1883) Title: Olympia Date: 1863 Media: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 51.2 × 74.8 in Location: Museé d’Orsay, Paris

First exhibited in the 1865 Paris Salon, this painting sparked controversy from the beginning. Inspired by Titian’s Venus of Urbino, Manet’s version of the model Victorine Meurent is portrayed here as a 19th century prostitute. There is an intentional difference and several symbols to emphasize that this is a real woman, unlike Venus. Venus is softer. Olympia is hard, and in a sense cold. The controversy did not take place because of her nudity, but her persona. Instead of being sensual, Olympia appears more demanding and in charge. Her whole persona, even her posture, suggests a more confrontational attitude than Venus. The orchid in her hair, her bracelet, pearl earrings and the shawl that she lies on are all symbols of wealth and sensuality. The way she pays no attention to the maid presenting flowers to her, possibly from a client, also hints to her attitude. Even the way her hand lies differently than Venus’ hand in Titian’s Venus of Urbino shows us a new approach to the subject of the painting, sexual dominance. To top it off, Manet replaces the dog of fidelity with a disturbed, black cat, which symbolizes prostitution.

10


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Elizabeth Siddal Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal was born on July 25, 1829. She was an English model who was drawn and painted by several Pre- Raphaelite Brotherhood artists. She was a model, artist, and poet after developing a love for poetry at a youg age. She worked extensively with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and developed a close relationship with him. In fact, they were eventually married and Rossetti continued using her as a model for his art. She was most often represented as Beata Beatrice in his works, including Beata Beatrix.

11


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: John Everett Millais Title: Ophelia Year: 1851–1852 Type: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 30.0 × 44.0 in Location: Tate Britain, London The featured painting portrays the drowning Ophelia, modeled by Elizabeth Siddal, from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Millais worked on the piece daily and completed this painting in the winter of 1852. Because it was so cold outside while Millais was in the process of finishing the painting, he decided to place lamps under the tub where Siddal posed to keep the water at a comfortable temperature. Close to the completion of the painting, the lamps went out, and the water became unbearably cold. Millais was so engaged in his painting that he did not notice the lamps were not working any more. Siddal never complained about the temperature of the water, which resulted in her being severely sick. Siddal’s father held Millais responsible for seeing to the recovery of his daughter, which included Millais having to pay doctor bills.

12


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: Dante Gabriel Rossetti Title: Beata Beatrix Date:1872 Media: oil on canvas Dimensions: 34 x 26in Location: Tate Britain Elizabeth Siddal was a model who was painted by several Pre-Raphaelite artists. This painting, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, is titled Beata Beatrix. This picture is the first of a pair, but the second is less well known. The second painting was painted 10 years later and remained unfinished at the time of Rosetti’s death and completed by another painter. In this piece, Rossetti represented Elizabeth as Dante’s Beatrice and did the painting as a memorial to Elizabeth after her death. The piece depicts the death of Dante’s love, which is described in his autobiographical work. Siddal sits in the foreground of the painting and represents Dante’s Beatrice. Siddal has an upturned chin and is aware of her impending death. Further, the bird serves as the messenger of death and also places a poppy in her hand. The piece has been praised for its emotional quality. Also, it is somewhat representative of the relationship between Rossetti and Siddal as their love for each other grew over time, resulting in marriage.

13


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: Dante Gabriel Rossetti Title: The Salutation of Beatrice Date:1859 Media: oil on panels Dimensions: 59 x 31 in. Location: National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa The Salutation of Beatrice is a three panel painting made from two panels of a cabinet that are framed together. These panels were painted for a cabinet in the Red House, the home of William Morris and his wife. The left panel depicts the famous salutation of Beatrice, while the right panel represents the meeting between Dante and Beatrice in Eden. It is believed that Rossetti used Elizabeth Siddal, his wife, as the model for Beatrice, just as he had in previous works.

14


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Joanna Hiffernan Joanna Hiffernan, known as Jo, was an Irish artist and an artists’ model. Her documented year of birth is in 1843 and her year of death in 1904. The two artists that painted her most were American painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler and French painter Gustave Courbet. The two, Whistler and Courbet, were good friends, both of which had romantic relationships with Hiffernan. She first met Whistler in a studio in Rathbone Place in the year of 1860, which was the start of a 6-year relationship. Whistler thought of her as not only beautiful, but intelligent. It is possible that while she was in Paris with Whistler in the winter of 1861-1862, she met Courbet. Shortly after, she began modeling for both of them. Both relationships progressed. Whistler made Hiffernan power of attorney over his affairs while he was away in Valparaiso for seven months. During this time, Hiffernan traveled to Paris and posed for Courbet’s The Sleepers. Shortly after, Hiffernan and Whistler went their separate ways. Not much is known of Hiffernan’s whereabouts after the year of 1880. The last thing noted about her is that she was a pallbearer in Whistler’s funeral in 1903.

15


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: Gustave Courbet Title: Le Sommeil (The Sleepers) Date: 1866 Media: Oil Canvas Dimensions: 53.1 × 78.7 in Location: Petit Palais, Paris, France This painting was originally a commissioned painting for a Turkish diplomat, Halil Serif Pasa, and was not permitted to go public until 1988. In it, realist painter, Gustave Courbet, portrays lesbianism, two lovers resting, intertwined after sexual intercourse. One of the two women in the painting is model Joanna Hiffernan, believed to be the woman on the right. A broken pearl necklace and a hairpin found in the bed are references to what their previous activity was. Charles Baudelaire’s poem “Delphine et Hippotyte” was the inspiration for this painting.

16


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: Whistler Title: Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl Date:1861-62 Media: oil on canvas Dimensions: 84.5 × 42.5 in Location: National Gallery of Art Joanna Hiffernan was an Irish artists’ model. The two famous painters that painted her were James Abbott McNeil Whistler and Gustave Courbet, both of whom she had a relationship with. The two were friends and fellow artists. She traveled to France with Whistler for the summer in 1861. In the painting featured above is Whistler’s Symphony in White, No.1: The White Girl, another painting of Joanna Hiffernan. It was painted in the winter of 1861- 1862. She posed for this painting at a studio in Boulevard des Batignolles of Paris. Resenting the idea of interpreting his artwork, the title of this piece intends to emphasize his philosophy “art for art’s sake”. Amongst other art, this painting was rejected by the Royal Academy and the Salon, but one accepted by the Salon des Refuses in 1863. “The painting has been interpreted by later art critics both as an allegory of innocence and its loss, and as a religious allusion to the Virgin Mary.” Whistler simply says: “My painting simply represents a girl dressed in white standing in front of a white curtain.”

17


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: James McNeill Whistler Title: Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl Date: 1864–65 Media: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 30 in × 20 in Location Tate Gallery, London

Joanna Hiffernan is the model featured in this painting. Much like Symphony in White, No. 1, Whistler intends with this painting to emphasize the phrase “art for art’s sake”. His work, especially in his later years, had a strong intent to portray little to no subject matter at all. This particular piece portrays just that. There is one symbolic thing in the painting, the ring on Joanna’s ring finger. It is said that the ring is meant to show their progression as a couple, “from prostitute in Wapping, to mistress in The White Girl, and finally a wife in The Little White Girl.” “The ring is also an allusion to the Christian sacrament of marriage, which lends a religious aspect to the aestheticism that he and Swinburne were trying to develop.”

18


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) Title: La Belle Irlandaise (Portrait of Jo) Date: 1866 Media: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 22 x 26 in. Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Joanna Hiffernan modeled La Belle Irlandaise. Courbet, Whistler, one of Courbet’s close friends, and Monet painted together in the year of 1865 seaside of Trouville. This is where Joanna posed for Corbet, while at the time being in a relationship with Whistler. Hiffernan and Whistler’s relationship was going into five years by the time this painting was completed. It is possible that she met Courbet during her stay in Paris with Whistler during the years of 1861-1865. Courbet calls Joanna Hiffernan the “beautiful Irishwoman”, as portrayed in the painting.

19


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Evelyn Nesbit Evelyn Nesbit was born in 1884 in Tarentum, a small village near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her father was a struggling lawyer, and he died the same year that their had moved to Pittsburgh. After his death, Evelyn and her family struggled, living in near poverty. However, as Evelyn reached adolescence her beauty caught the attention of several artists and began her modeling career. When Nesbit was 16, she and her mother moved to New York City. Nesbit returned to her modelling career when her mother had trouble finding a job. She began to work with artists such as James Carroll Beckwith, Gertrude Kasebier, Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr., and Charles Dana Gibson. Eventually, Evelyn became one of the most in-demand models in New York and Charles Dana Gibson used her as inspiration for the famous “Gibson Girls�. Continued modeling and acting grew Evelyn into an icon of her time. Evelyn Nesbit formed a relationship with Stanford White, a much older architect in New York who was a benefactor to her and later had romantic relations until she was sent away to a girls school in New Jersey. Later, Nesbit formed a relationship with Harry Kendall Thaw, and the two were married when she was 20 years old, in 1905, and they had one child together. One year after their marriage, Thaw killed Stanford White and was incarcerated after pleading insane. Nesbit and Thaw were divorced and she lived the rest of her life as an artist but also had many addictions and struggles. She died in a nursing home in California in 1967, at the age of 82, and is buried in Culver City, California.

20


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: James Carroll Beckwith Title: Portrait of Evelyn Nesbit Date:1900 Media: oil on canvas Dimensions: 31 x 26.5 in

This painting depicts Evelyn Nesbit as a sixteen year old girl. The portrait was painted soon after Nesbit had moved to New York. The painting does not seem to be commissioned because Nesbit had contacted Beckwith with a letter of recommendation looking for work. As her mother was having trouble finding work, Evelyn pursued modeling to provide some income. Beckwith was one of the first artists se modeled with and he later introduced her to several other artists in New York after her work with him.

21


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: Gertrude K채sebier Title: Evelyn Nesbit Date: about 1900 Media: photograph Dimensions:8 X 10 in Location: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C This photograph was taken by Gertrude Kasebier about that time that Evelyn Nesbit was brought to the studio by Stanford White. Although she had also previously modeled for painter, photographic modeling was becoming a lucrative job. Evelyn Nesbit relied on this source of income to support her family, and she was successful in doing so. Gertrude Kasebier was a one of the most influential American photographers and she was known for her promotion of photography as a career for women.

22


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Artist: Charles Dana Gibson Title: The Eternal Question Date:1905 Media: ink on cloth Dimensions: 12.5 x 18.5 in “The Eternal Question� is a long controversy on whether or not it was truly a portrait of Evelyn Nesbit. After Gibson finished the drawing, Evelyn found herself at the center of a controversy. In looking at the photograph and the rendering there are a lot of similarities that could allude to Evelyn being the model for this drawing. From her hair down to her chin the girl depicted seems to be identical to Evelyn. The photograph and the drawing are identically angled and sized.

23


Model Mania / Birmingham Museum of Art

Bibliography Evelyn Nesbit Nesbit, Evelyn. Prodigal Days; the Untold Story,. New York: J. Messner, 1934. Print. “Smithsonian.com.” Smithsonian Magazine. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. <http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/object_feb99.html?c=y>.

Victorine Meurent Lipton, Eunice. Alias Olympia: A Woman’s Search for Manet’s Notorious Model & Her Own Desire. New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1992. Print. V.R. Main. A Woman With No Clothes On. London: Delancey Press, 2008. King, Ross. The Judgement of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism. Toronto: Bond Street, 2006. Print.

Joanna Hiffernan “Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl.” National Gallery of Art. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. <http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/tinfo_f?object=12203.0>. Waller, Susan. “Realist Quandaries: Posing Professional and Proprietary Models in the 1860s.” Article: Realist Quandaries: Posing Professional and Proprietary Models in The... Web. 24 Apr. 2012. <http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-164587417/realistquandaries-posing-professional.html>.

Elizabeth Siddal Marsh, Jan. “The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal.” Alibris. Quartet Books. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. <http://www.alibris.com/booksearch?qwork=3840380>.

24


Model

Mania

Birmingham Museum of Art April 29- August 12, 2012

artsbma.org


Model Mania