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.
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
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:
Eternal Force, 1917
Seated Female Nude, n.d.
image sources : 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
This charcoal drawing of a young girl by American illustrator Harrison Fisher joined the collection in 1955. Fisher began his career as a newspaper and magazine illustrator and became particularly known for his drawings of women, which appeared regularly on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine from the early 1900s until his death in 1934. (source)
To read more about the life and work of Harrison Fisher, visit the National Museum of American Illustration artist’s webpage.
image source: Head of a Girl, Suzanna Bruyant