Saturday, October 01, 2016

Romaine Brooks, A Lesbian Artist Who Painted Her Circle of Women


Artist Romaine Brooks (born Beatrice Romaine Goddard) was a turn-of-the-20th-century American artist who lived most of her life in Paris and Capri where she painted her circle of friends and lovers.  She had a miserable childhood but her family's wealth gave her the freedom to live life on her own terms. In 1915 she met Natalie Clifford Barney, a leading host of salons in Paris, and the couple began a five-decade nonmonogamous relationship. Gluck and Brooks were part of a growing but still little-known group of women who wore men’s clothes and cut their hair short not just to embrace the 1920s androgyny trend, but to communicate to others in the know that they were lesbians.

Romaine Brooks, “Self-Portrait” (1923), oil on canvas,
Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of the artist
Romaine Brooks, “Peter (A Young English Girl)” (1923–24), oil on canvas,
Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of the artist


The Art of Romaine Brooks is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum through October 2.

More here 

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