Friday, October 11, 2013

Self Portraits - American Cecilia Beaux 1855-1942

Cecilia Beaux (American artist, 1855-1942) Self Portrait

Cecilia Beaux was born in Philadelphia, where she was raised by maternal relatives; after her mother died following childbirth, & her French father left her behind to return to his native country. She received her art education at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. She later trained with Robert-Fleury, Bouguereau, & Benjamin-Constantat the Academie Julian in Paris. Her works were touched with the techniques & philosphy of Impressionism. She painted mostly figures using her friends and family as models. She was widely aclaimed during her lifetime & became the 1st woman teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts in Pennsylvania. She was also commissioned during the First World War by the U.S. War Portraits Commission in 1919.

Cecilia Beaux (American artist, 1855-1942) Self Portrait 1885

By the turn-of-the-century, many considered her one of the best portrait painters in America, where she won every major art award possible at that time. Beaux became independently wealthy painting the portraits of prominent people. In 1930 she published her autobiography Background with Figures. She wrote, I can say I have a passionate determination to overcome every obstacle. Work is a struggle to conquer something. And I do my own work with a refusal to accept defeat that might almost be called pitiful.

Cecilia Beaux (American artist, 1855-1942) Self Portrait