Friday, October 11, 2013
American Expatriate Romaine Brooks 1874-1970
Known for her androgynous female portraits in shades of grey, green, black, & white, Romaine Brooks was an American citizen who spent much of her early life in Paris fleeing from the emotional abuse of her insane mother & brother.
She was born Beatrice Romaine Goddard into a wealthy Pennsylvania family, whose father had abandoned the family before she was born. In 1899, she left for for art school, studying at the Scuola Nazionale in Rome & the Academie Colarossi in Paris, primarily because they admitted women.
For a while, she made her home on the Isle of Capri, becoming part of its Anglo-American expatriate community & growing gay culture.
In 1902, her emotionally abusive & dependent mother & brother both died, and she inherited a large fortune allowing her independence. She lived in London, & when she determined to become an artist, she moved to Paris, becoming part of the Left Bank community.
In 1910, she had a solo exhibition of her work in the Galeries Durand-Ruel in Paris.
In 1911, she began a 3-year relationship with Ida Rubinstein, a Russian dancer. By WWII, Brooks was living with Natalie Barney, American poet & expatriate, visiting the Paris literary salons.
In 1925, she had had major exhibitions of her work in New York, Paris, & London. She painted very little after these shows, becoming increasingly reclusive, devoting herself almost exclusively to creating line drawings & to writing her memoirs. She eventually retreated to her home in southern France, where she lived to age 96.
Romaine Brooks, (American expatriate artist, 1874-1970) The Charwoman 1904