Overcoming All Obstacles - The Women of the Academie Julian

Nude Study 1901 Cecile Baudry

Nude Study 1901 Cecile Baudry

Overcoming All Obstacles The Women of the Academie Julian is a wonderful informative book. As a female artist working in this century, I am often rather amazed to read about the type of problems and obstacles other female artists had to overcome for something I get to enjoy as my chosen profession on a a daily basis.

The Ukrainian painter Marie Bashkirtseff for example wrote in November 1880:"Our studio now enjoys the same advantages as the studio of the men, that is to say, we draw from the nude every day from the same model in the same pose as they do; consequently we can now paint compositions of more importance than before.”

In the Studio 1881 by Marie Bashkirtseff

In the Studio 1881 by Marie Bashkirtseff


The studio to which she referred was one of the ateliers of the Académie Julian, located in the center of Paris, where she had been studying since 1877. That the women of the Académie Julian were now able to work directly from the nude—and from the same nude who posed for the men—marked a singular advance in the education of female artists and made the Académie a powerful magnet for women who sought serious training in the visual arts.


Self portrait with a Palette

Self portrait with a Palette

At the time, the government sanctioned art school of France, the École des Beaux-Arts, did not allow women to enroll, because of concerns that immorality would result if women and men were placed in such an artistic environment. This placed women artist at a great disadvantage to their male counter parts, since without the opportunity to observe and draw from the live model the fundamental requirements for an artist's academic study was not available to them to perfect their skills.

In response Rodolphe Julian founded the privately run Académie Julian in the late 1860s and with a staff that compromised well known and greatly respected artists such as William Bouguereau, Jules Lefebvre and Jean-Paul Laurens, he paved the road for female artists to receive a proper art education.

Overcoming All Obstacles: The Women of the Academie Julian By Jane R. Becker


Things to remember:

1. Accroding to Julian:"Success as a professional artist emerges from dedicating oneself to work, emulating appropriate masters, and forging a mental and emotional toughness that would allow an artist to persevere in the face of adversity and criticism."

Female Artists who attended the Academy Julian were:

Marie Bashkirtseff

Cecile Baudry

Charlotte Trouessard

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