Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cecilia Beaux: Background with Figures

Cecilia Beaux was a well-known American portrait artist at the turn of the 1900's. She was born in Philadelphia - the youngest of two girls. Her mother died shortly afterwards, and her French father was so grieved that he left the family in care of his wife's family to go back to France.

Cecilia's grandmother and relatives gave her a good upbringing. After her success as a portrait artist, she wrote her autobiography, Background with Figures. It gives a clear and interesting picture of life growing up in the mid-1800's, her journey into art - including her studies in Paris at the popular Julien Academy. There are also accounts of her summer in Concarneau, France, and contact with such famous artists as Monet, Sargent and Winslow Homer.

In the following posts, I would like to share some highlights from her book.

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