Musée No:325.185

Musée No:325.185

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Nude Against Screen

Artist: Alice Pike Barney
Date:1911

Alice Pike Barney (1857-1931) is an absolutely fascinating American artist and her life far too interesting to be squeezed into a couple of paragraphs, so unusually I have split it up between several paintings (379.005, 379.018, 379.019, 379.020, 379.021 & 325.185). If you would like to find out more pop the number or her name in the search box at the top of the page, I hope you enjoy discovering more about her fascinating life.

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She and her husband, Albert Clifford Barney, led mainly separate lives, leaving her to look after their two daughters Natalie & Laura and set up her salons in Europe and the US. She began painting seriously whilst on her trip to Paris in 1883.  In 1887 she returned and studied under the master portrait painter Charles Emile Auguste Carolus-Duran (what a name for a business card !). In 1896, she was back in Paris and learned from Claudio Castelucho and James McNeill Whistler, her mentor.  She started her Paris salon on Avenue Victor Hugo in 1899.
When her 24-year-old daughter Nathalie wrote a book of French poetry in 1900 Alice happily provided illustrations for it – however she was apparently unaware that the love poems were addressed to women and that 3 of the 4 women that modelled for the illustrations were in fact her daughter’s lovers. Her husband was alerted and rushed to Paris to buy and destroy all of the publisher’s stock and printing plates, he then made them go back to the States with him. Although the ‘scandal’ had no lasting effect on their social standing he considered it a disaster and started to drink heavily. He died in 1902.

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