Strapless review º 103

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StraplessAmaged Gautreau retired from public life destroying all the mirrors in her homeDrawing on documents from private collections and other previously unexamined materials and featuring a cast of characters including Oscar Wilde and Richard Wagner Strapless is a tale of art and celebrity obsession and betraya. The actual title of this fascinating book is Strapless John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X After I purchased it at a museum book store I noticed the back cover had it listed as a history not a biography And that is exactly what it is a history of the 1880s Parisienne lifestyle and its artists and patrons There are several books out there about the American painter one of them historical fiction I am glad I chose Deborah Davis's book because it is extremely well researched and interesting to read At the beginning it appears to be a biography of Virginie Amelie Gautreau a Creole who lived in Louisiana before moving to Paris But soon the author takes the reader back than a century ago to the Paris of wealthy patrons and struggling artists The story of the painting known as Madame X has intrigued art lovers for years Davis is so adept at incorporating the details into an interesting story of a woman who sought fame and gained notoriety Sargent at one time a heralded artist was castigated by the Paris Salon and the newspapers of the times for his indecent portrait of a society woman Today Madame X hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art I've seen it dozens of times but my next visit will be enhanced by this wonderful book Whether you are an art lover or not Strapless is a story rich in history and detail and the ways in which public opinion can affect a reputation

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Ded hunger for fameUnveiled at the Paris Salon Gautreau's portrait generated the attention she craved but it led to infamy rather than stardom Sargent had painted one strap of Gautreau's dress dangling from her shoulder suggesting either the prelude to or the aftermath of sex Her reputation irreparably d. I was expecting this book to be historical fiction and was pleasantly surprised to find it a well researched completely factual account of John Singer Sargent the woman known as Madame X and the scandal caused by a fallen strapIn the late 1800s John Singer Sargent submitted a portrait of Amelie Gautreau a beautiful Parisian socialite to the annual Paris Salon which was a yearly exhibition of art The painting showed Amelie standing at a table wearing a slinky black dress and looking to her left The left strap of her dress had fallen off her shoulder while the right one stayed in place When the Salon visitors saw this painting displayed among works of art depicting full frontal nudity they went absolutely batshit crazy And not in a good way Davis's book explores the personal histories of Amelie Sargent and their respective families as well as Sargent's career and Amelie's rise and fall in Parisian society All of it is fascinating although admittedly I could've done without the personal histories of Amelie's grandparents and everyone Sargent painted That being said they were all fascinating people and I still liked reading about them although the book would've been just as good without their stories

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Strapless review º 103 ç [Epub] ➛ Strapless ➠ Deborah Davis – The subject of John Singer Sargent's most famous painting was twenty three year old New Orleans Creole Virginie Gautreau who moved to Paris and uickly became the it girl of her day A relative unknown The subject of John Singer Sargent's most famous painting The subject of John Singer Sargent's most famous painting was twenty three year old New Orleans Creole Virginie Gautreau who moved to Paris and uickly became the it girl of her day A relative unknown at the time Sargent won the commission to paint her the two must have recognized in each other a like min. I have recently discovered how much I love the paintings of John Singer Sargent and also his contemporaries like Whistler and William Merritt Chase My interest was first peaked when I read a book review of Sargent's Women Learning the background of the artist's subjects make the works significantI realize now that is why some people are not interested in art I took a trip to Europe with such a friend I was so excited to see the architecture and famous works of art that I knew so much about She found it all a bore But then she did not have any prior knowledge to what she was looking at and it meant nothing to herWhen I taught music in a grade school I learned that in order for a student to understand what you are trying to teach them you must find out what they already know and build on that Once you have built a foundation of prior knowledge you can then add new knowledgeAs a teacher this was my goal I exposed my students to as much music and literature and art as possible in order to inspire an appetite for the wonderful things of this worldAll that to say Strapless like Sargent's Women has given me the prior knowledge I need to truly enjoy Sargent's workWhile Sargent's Women examined the lives of four of Sargent's portrait subjects Strapless examines the life of one And not only her but the entire backdrop of 19th century Parisian life and also to a lesser extent Americans and their reasons for living in ParisThe book starts in New Orleans where an old aristocratic family had plantations and wealth; Virginie Amelie Avigno was born into privilege and luxury After the Civil War her family deserted the South to reconstruct itself and settled in Paris where an American could easily live like royalty at half the cost and also find eligible husbands for beautiful daughtersAmelie soon became the belle of Paris acuired a rich husband and with the freedom being a respectable married woman afforded her spent her days at balls horse races and every other social occassion Paris had to offer a lovely young woman She created a stir wherever she went Considered the most beautiful woman in Paris her arrival at any destination caused a stir and was recorded in all the newspapers Davis describes the glamorous climate of Paris With the rise of the bourgeouis shops were catering to the cosmetic demands of their new clientele We see all the different tricks and methods women used to look beautiful Amelie took to powdering herself with a pale lavender powder she believed set her skin off to its most alluringAlso in Paris was a as yet unknown but aspiring artist John Singer Sargent His career had been going well and his work had been accepted into the Salons for the last couple of years He conceived of making a portrait of the most famous woman in Paris as a calculated business move to project his career to the heights he reached forIn short things did not go as planned The Paris public hated it They felt the portrait was shocking especially since the original version had Amelie's strap hanging off her shoulder Her skin was described as corpse like The newspapers had a field day The woman who had so recently been worshipped was now despised It was the end of Amelie's reign over ParisBut the beginning of Sargent's career The notoriety helped propel his career to world fame while Amelie sunk into ignoble anonimityDavis' account is thorough and fascinating We learn about Parisian life about an unknown Sargent and the sad ending to a promising lifeWhat is mostly sad to me is that such a scandal would ruin a woman Her entire life was centered around being adored Even without the painting she would have eventually aged out of the beautiful young thing stage Apparently being the focus of attention was her only rasion d'etre She became a recluse and ultimately died alone being estranged by that time from even her husband who only served as a financial vehicle at any rateI conclude that Amelie was not only vain but vapid There are many beautiful young women who when they aged still managed to keep a bright social life largely because they had the intellect to occupy themselves with worthwhile pursuits and good company even if it wasn't an adoring company of young besotted men In her thirties Amelie tried to regain her fame She had several portraits made of herself but none that incurred public interest Her group of admiring men became older and older until she simply stayed home and out of public lifeThat is the greatest tragedy A person who cannot move out of the past Youth is so fleeting and Amelie never seemed to realize it She did not even have the foresight to buy her portraitSargent repainted the strap to a prim location and kept the painting in his studio for than thirty years After Amelie died he sold it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City where it hangs to this dayI have seen the painting when I visited the Museum on many occasions but I was not interested in American portraiture at the time so barely glanced at it Now that I have built up my own prior knowledge I would like to return and see the painting that started a one career and ended another