Monday, September 5, 2016

Before Labor Day, of course - Women in White (wearing sensible shoes) - Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942)


Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942) Summer Clouds 1917

This American artist Seemed to have loved to paint women in white dresses with skirts & amp; scarves blowing in the wind surrounded by blue skies. (It Should be Noted That they are wearing "sensible" shoes.) His formula worked. Prolific & amp; popular, Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942) from Hartford, Kentucky, was only 23, When He received artistic recognition by exhibiting at New York's National Academy of Design.

Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942)  The Boulder 1919

Curran's style & amp; skill in portraying light were honed by two years at Paris' Academie Julien. On his return, Curran kept studios in New York City & amp; Cragsmore, New York. Curran taught at the Pratt Institute, Cooper Union, & amp; the National Academy. The cliffs & amp; clouds were he painted the landscape of Cragsmore, in community of artists.

Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942)  On the Heights

He liked to inject just a little bit of tension into His whimsical paintings of fragile, innocent women in white dresses by precariously perching them atop craggy hilltops & amp; ledges engulfed in a perfect backdrop of blue sky & amp; fluffy white clouds. But only a little bit of tension, mind you. At least I think it was whimsy. The women standing alone remind me of early 20C Lady Liberties.

Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942)  Summer 1906


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942)  Sunlit Valley 1920


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942) 


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942)  On the Cliff 1910


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942)  The Veiled Cloud 1926


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942)  Faraway Thoughts


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942)  Ragged Clouds 1922


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942) 


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942) 


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942)  Sunny Morning


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942)  High Country 1917


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942) 


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942)  Sunshine and Haze


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942)  The Green Jacket 1917


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942) 


Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942) Cliffs at Cragsmor

The American dictum that women shouldn't wear white clothing before Memorial Day & after Labor Day has been around at least since the Civil War. The wives of the super-rich dominated high society after the Civil War. As more & more people became financially successful, though, it was difficult to tell the difference between "old money" in elite families & those who only had "new money." By the 1880s, in order to tell who was "acceptable" & who wasn’t, some elite women felt it necessary to create fashion "rules," that everyone "in the know" knew to follow. Not wearing white outside the summer months was one of these rules. In the non-air-conditioned early 20C, the summer "season" was defined by Memorial Day & Labor Day, when those-who-could flocked from town house to seaside "cottage" or mountain "cabin" to escape the oppressive summer heat. City clothes were left behind in exchange for lighter, whiter, summer costumes. Come fall, as well-to-do families returned to the city, more formal, darker city clothes were donned once more. And many in the large cities heated their environs with coal. The soot from the coal spread through the heated indoor spaces & coal dust quickly would stain light garbs. So folks changed to a darker wardrobe around Labor Day. This coincided with the growth of fashion magazines available to all levels of society. The magazines reflected the no white after Labor Day rule in the glossy, seductive pages of Harper's Bazaar & Vogue, which set the fashion tone for the country. This practice progressed from tradition, into rule, & finally into an identifiable cultural faux pas for decades into the 20C. 


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