Woman as Muse

'From nine divine muses to one of fresh and blood' is the entrance sentence at the exhibition Woman as Muse in museum Herakleidon.

An inspiring exhibition with many works of famous artists. Among them Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. But also greek artists like Γιάννη Μόραλη, Γιώργη Βαρλάμου, Γιώργου Οικονομίδη, Μάρκου Ζαβιτζιάνου, Εμμανουήλ Ζέπου and Δημητρίου Γαλάνη.

Like fashion designers also artists have their muse.
Alexandra van der Staaij, curator of the exhibition, pointed me out that Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec portraited as one of the first a woman in men's clothes: Mary Hamilton.

Mary Hamilton worked in the world of entertainment in Paris during the Belle Époque. She entertained her public with monologues, would always be dressed in men's clothing on stage, with pants, a coat and a hat, to the delight of the not so shocked patrons of the café-concerts.

Like the fashion admirers among us we know that only in the 1920's women started to wear pants...as precursor Coco Chanel. The jacket at the lithograph rings bells for some designer's collection. Greek designers like Christoforos Kotentos and Lukas use this kind of shoulders. Would Lautrec have been their inspiration?

Henri's muse was Yvette Guilbert. She wore dresses that accentuated her unfashionable slender figure and long black gloves. Standing motionless on stage, only gesturing with her arms, she perfomed bold lyrics in a way that resembled a monologue, wherefore she was often called a 'diseuse' (sayer).
She and Henri were friends, despite her complaints about the way he depicted her, accentuating her chin, tight lips and prominent nose.

An other interesting lithograph is of Edmée Lescot. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec shows her as a Spanish dancer. She was known for her perfomances of all forms of Spanish dance, such as the bolero, the fandango and even the tango.

Herewith I like to thank Alexandra van der Staaij for her time to show me on the last day of the exhibition all the details of the works.

Today the museum re-opened with a new exhibition of Edvard Munch. Also he has works with women...
Woman as Muse Woman as Muse Reviewed by Patricia Munster on 10:23:00 AM Rating: 5

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