Marie Bashkirteff, “In the Studio,” 1881, oil on canvas, 60 5/8 x 73 1/4 inches, Dnipropetrovsk State Art Museum, Ukraine

A remarkable exhibition of more than 80 Impressionist paintings by leading women from Paris to America will soon be opening at this renowned Western institution. What’s the story?

“Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism” is sure to be a major draw for the Denver Art Museum. The show, which opens on October 22, will bring together more than 80 paintings by 37 women artists from across Europe and America who migrated to the “City of Light” to further their careers. Among them are Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Rosa Bonheur, Anna Ancher, and Paula Modersohn-Becker, to name just a few.

Mary Cassatt, “Children Playing on the Beach,” 1884, oil on canvas, 38 3/8 x 29 3/16 inches, National Gallery of Art, Washington
Anna Ancher, “The Harvesters,” 1905, oil on canvas, 17 1/8 x 22 1/8 inches, Art Museums of Skagen, Denmark
Louise-Catherine Breslau, “The Friends,” 1881, oil on canvas, 33 1/2 x 63 inches, Musée d’art et d’histoire
Berthe Morisot, “The Sisters,” 1869, oil on canvas, 20 1/2 x 32 inches, National Gallery of Art, Washington

“Even though Paris was known as a cosmopolitan city, Parisian society was still very restrictive for women,” the museum writes. “They were not allowed to attend to the École des Beaux-Arts (Academy of Fine Arts) — the country’s most important art academy — until 1897, and it was not socially acceptable to frequent public spaces, such as cafes, to work on their art and mingle with their peers without a male companion. The exhibition will trace how, despite societal challenges, women embraced their artistic aspirations and helped create an alternative system that included attending private academies, exhibiting independently, and forming their own organizations, such as the influential Union des Femmes Peintres et Sculpteurs.”

“Her Paris” will remain on view through January 14, 2018. To learn more, visit the Denver Art Museum.

This article was featured in PleinAir Today, a weekly e-newsletter from PleinAir magazine. To start receiving PleinAir Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster
Andrew, who worked for Streamline Publishing as an editor and more, graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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