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Romaine Brooks

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Romaine Brooks
Romaine Brooks, circa 1894
Beatrice Romaine Goddard

(1874-05-01)May 1, 1874
DiedDecember 7, 1970(1970-12-07) (aged 96)

Romaine Brooks (born Beatrice Romaine Goddard; May 1, 1874 – December 7, 1970) was an American painter who often drew women in men’s clothing.[1] She painted women from women's point of view, not from how men saw women.[2] The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., has collected half of her paintings.[2] Experts say she is as important as Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein to how we think about gender.[2]

Childhood[change | change source]

Brooks was born in Rome.[2] Her parents were rich Americans.[1][2] She had an unhappy childhood.[1] Her mother took care of her sick brother, and often did not take care of Brooks.[3] Her mother believed Brooks was possessed by demons. [2][3]

Her mother left Europe with her son, and a poor but kind laundry woman took care of Brooks. Her mother did not let her draw, but the laundry woman did. [3]

Her grandfather found her and sent her to school. Students and teachers found her drawings of ghosts and monsters scary. [3]

Education[change | change source]

When she was 14, she was sent to a school in Italy, where she was so unhappy she tried to kill herself. Her mother sent her to a school to learn manners in Switzerland, where she was very good at art and music. She became independent when she was 21. [3]

Brooks studied painting in Italy from 1896 to 1899. She then set up an art studio on the Island of Capri. [3] She learned more about art when she was 24 at the Scuola Nazionale, a school in Rome. Many students were mean to her there. [3] In 1900, she studied at the Académie Colarossi in Paris. [3]

Relationships[change | change source]

Brooks did not want money from her mother, and wanted to be independent. She lost a lot of her money, so her sister Maya gave her some money.[3] Brooks gave birth to her daughter in 1897, but gave her daughter to a school because she could not take care of her. She wanted to come back later for her baby. [3] After five years, the school told her the baby died 3 months after it was born. She had a short marriage with John Ellingham Brooks in 1902.[1][2] She met Natalie Clifford Barney, who would be her lover for a long time.[3]

Art and Works[change | change source]

Her art was shown in the Durand-Ruel Gallery in Paris, and she became an artist. Some of her famous paintings are Azalées Blanches (White Azaleas) and La France Croisée.[1] Her art style is like James McNeil Whistler’s, whose art she liked. Her paintings were often grey, whiter and black, with a little bit of colors like red, umber or ochre. She did not do things other artists were doing, different from Pablo Picasso, another artist. [1] In 1930, Brooks wrote a book about herself called “No Pleasant Memories,” but no one ever saw it. [1]

In 1915 Brooks had a fundraiser exhibit to raise money for the Red Cross.[2] To thank her, the French government gave her the Cross of the Legion of Honor.[2]

Notability[change | change source]

Today, her art still has a result on others. She lived 100 years ago, but it is interesting to see how she showed things people did not talk about a lot in her paintings. [2]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Romaine Goddard Brooks | American painter | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 Catlin, Roger. "The World Is Finally Ready to Understand Romaine Brooks". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 "Romaine Brooks Biography, Life & Quotes". The Art Story. Retrieved 2021-12-16.