Monday Morning Muse: Olympia

1956-13

This print of Édouard Manet’s infamous Olympia joined the collection in 1956. First exhibited at the 1865 Paris Salon, Olympia shocked audiences with her confrontational gaze and the many details identifying her as a prostitute.

The following print by American artist Mel Ramos, which joined the collection in 1980 and was made almost 100 years after Manet’s version, borrows the subject matter, title and composition directly from Manet’s Olympia. 

1980-89-1

This interesting analysis of Ramos’s version of Olympia by the University of Michigan Museum of Art notes that the artist “blurs the line between the fine art tradition of the aestheticized female nude and contemporary pornography, suggested by his hyper-realist treatment of the nude, revealing her tan lines, her blonde bob, and her quasi-seductive gaze, similar to what one might find in any number of pin-ups girls.”

Who do you think was more shocked by these nude subjects: Manet’s viewers in 1865, or Ramos’s in 1974? 

image sources: 1 / 2 

 

 

Monday Morning Muse: Woman Walking

1961-87

This sketch by Gaston Lachaise joined the collection in 1961. Lachaise was an American sculptor of French birth, active in the early 20th century. A native of Paris, he was most noted for his female nudes (source).

While the sketch above is the only work by Lachaise in the Mead’s collection, the Smith College Museum of Art collection holds two sculptures and a drawing by the artist:

1923_6_1

Eternal Force, 1917

1935_6_1_a

Torso, 1933

1990_10

Seated Female Nude, n.d.

image sources : 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

 

 

 

From the Collection: Untitled (Owl and Cherry Branch)

2005-176

This Japanese woodblock print by Hirose Bihō joined the collection in 2005. Very little is known about the artist Bihō (born 1873) except that he was a designer of kachō-e, or “animal and flower pictures.” In many of his known works, he experiments with bokashi, the gradient effect in the background and on the owl’s chest. This print is signed “Bihō” at lower left and bears the artist’s seal.

image source: Untitled (Owl and Cherry Branch)