Paris In Its Prime | Arts Reviews

starred review starDe Carvalho, Fleur Roos Rosa & others. Prints in Paris 1900: From Elite to the Street. Yale Univ. Jul. 2017. 192p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780300229134. $50. FINE ARTS
This magnificent work by Van Gogh Museum curator Carvalho (Printmaking in Paris) encapsulates an exceptional examination of the roles and practices of artists, critics, dealers, and printers during the “fin de siècle,” when “prints were small works of art in which great things could be expressed.” The lure of this well-designed book is its diversity of outstanding images within a variety of formats, styles, and accoutrements of this “paper age.” This exhibition catalog features excellent reproductions culled from a fine assortment of museum-owned prints and loans, featuring furniture and oil paintings as well. The nine chapters, detailing private and popular printmaking, and collecting, are engaging and informative while describing the wide practices and allure of a 15-year craze of this hotbed of avant-garde activity. Artists and aficionados of prints, the process, and the avant-garde will pore over this beautifully crafted work, in which even the typeface looks the part. The time line will inform students and scholars, although a glossary would have been useful. VERDICT Readers will kick up their heels over this title, recommended as the perfect complement to author’s earlier book.—­Marianne Laino Sade, Washington Coll., Chestertown, MD
starred review starMadeline, Laurence. Women Artists in Paris, 1850–1900. Yale Univ. Oct. 2017. 288p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780300223934. $65. FINE ARTS
This accompaniment to a traveling exhibition explores women artists in Paris from 1850–1900, and how their status in the art world changed during that time. Paris was an artistic mecca, and French as well as international women artists came to create and study there. Excluded from the École de Beaux Arts until 1897, many women artists attended the Académie Julien. In 1881, the Union des Femmes Peintres et Sculptures, where women exhibited their art, was founded. Two of the best-known female artists during this period, Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, exhibited regularly alongside their male peers in the Impressionist Exhibitions from 1874 to 1886. Role model Rosa Bonheur regularly exhibited her animal paintings and sculptures at the Paris Salon and received the Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur in 1865. Lastly, the amount of Scandinavian women who came to Paris to work as artists rose in the 1870s, with some exhibiting in the salon or representing their home countries in the Universal Exhibitions in 1889 and 1900 and winning medals. With contributions from art historians, the text is scholarly but accessible, and beautiful color plates are divided into themes (e.g., “Self Portraits,” “Lives of Women,” etc.). ­VERDICT Recommended for those interested in women artists or 19th-century art.—Sandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Univ. Lib., MA

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