07/03/2023
Spotlight
Jelena Sofronijevic
Rebecca Fortnum spotlights the overlooked women of sculpture in Les Praticiennes
Written by
Jelena Sofronijevic
Date Pulblished
07/03/2023
Sculpture
Portraiture
Art by Women
Art History
Artist Rebecca Fortnum’s works, showing now at the Henry Moore Institute, draw attention to the frequently-undersung women who surrounded sculptor Auguste Rodin

How many women were students or paid assistants, visitors or lovers, in the studios of Auguste Rodin? ‘Loads,’ according to Rebecca Fortnum - and her exhibition, Les Praticiennes, is an equally intimate space, populated by Fortnum’s sculpture portraits of those who passed through Rodin’s Parisian studios in the 19th and 20th century. 

Unable to enter the École des Beaux-Arts until 1897, young women artists must have been privileged with private education, and/or an apprenticeship to a master. Though Rodin did also devote much time and respect to those he worked with, we often reduce his studio to a sexual space, where women served as passive subjects, or muses, not active makers.

Les Praticiennes scraps that. Instead, Fortnum combines each individual artist’s practices with her own signature style, portraits with downcast eyes. They’re perfectly curated on a custom, fading wallpaper, which alters the viewer’s (or participant’s) downward gaze. These poses indicate women ‘self-possessed’ and complex, not confined to some ‘expected feminine modesty.’

Flodin, Gwen, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Alongside portraits of the women, Fortnum offers dense carbon drawings of their works in sculpture. This hints at their own artistic circles and networks; some small, but most more international. The German sculptor Clara Rilke Westhoff – a more contemporary portrait of whom is shown in Making Modernism – looks over at her sculpture-portrait of her husband, Rainer, better remembered by history. Finnish artist Hilda Flodin was involved with both Auguste Rodin and the Welsh artist, Gwen John; another artist whose practice has been subsumed for the focus on their romantic relationship. (John will receive an exhibition of her own at Pallant House and Holburne Museum later this year.) 

To be sure, the exhibition is still sexually charged, but with women’s sexuality as its focus. Kühne Beveridge’s erotic-Gothic style climaxed in her controversial sculpture ‘The Vampire’ – a work now, unfortunately, lost. ‘The Veiled Venus’, another work created in collaboration with Ella von Wrede (1850–1904), can be found in the Leeds Art Gallery next door.

Young Woman with Closed Eyes, Camille Claudel (1885)

Les Praticiennes pays as much attention to the creative and personal relationships women forged with each other. Camille Claudel is perhaps the most famous individual artist, but here, we learn how many joined her private studios after Rodin’s, like Sigrid af Forselles, a Finnish sculptor known for her ambitious and controversial relief series. 

Nor does the exhibition shy from controversy, or complexity. Malvina Hoffman’s ‘ethnographic’ Half of Man series (1928) was deinstalled from the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History in 1969, later reinstalled and recontextualised in 2016. Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, a ‘sculptor of horrors’ for Rodin, endured great racial discrimination in the US and France – and pursued education and exhibition anyway. A forerunner and contributor to the Harlem Renaissance in Chicago, her Symbolist bronze sculptures are embodiments of bothness – highlighting how folk music, spirituality, and other influences from her ‘ancestral African homeland’ could ‘co-exist’ with her formal Western/European arts education.  

Self-Portrait, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller

(Professor) Fortnum’s artistic process is an equally academic one. Les Praticiennes was one product of her Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship; described here as an act of ‘translation’, there’s rather a sense of archaeology, of excavation, in her practice. Fortnum also talks of ‘exhuming’ these artists’ works which, as Ruth Millington suggests, makes the exhibition a kind of ‘commemorative obituary’, and a collective one.

Fuller, Poet, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Some artists’ stories have been ignored due to geography and politics. Anna Golubkina was the first Russian (man or woman) to receive the Paris Salon prize, and was commemorated by the first studio memorial museum in the country. Born into rural poverty, she came to her practice later in life, undertaking adult education in Moscow in her twenties, where she produced impressionistic then expressionistic sculptures of working-class people. An active participant in the 1905 Russian Revolution, she was nevertheless a critically engaged activist. Arrested in 1907 for keeping banned literature and anti-government satires, she refused to produce art for Lenin’s government of the Soviet Union, and continued to practice until her death.

Les Praticiennes (A Gesture to Genius), Rebecca Fortnum (2023)

Fortnum also uses contemporary art to engage in a historical reckoning with wrongly attributed works. A 3D printed reproduction shows tender hands, sculptures first credited to Auguste Rodin, but likely created by Camille Claudel. More passively, and perhaps worse, many more women have fallen into posthumous obscurity, their works often hidden away in private collections. Symbolist sculptor Madeleine Jouvray, though well-known in her time, today has no books to her name alone.

Golubkina, Karl, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Entering Les Praticiennes, we pass through a door lined with the artists’ names and dates. Here, the context ends. Their original works are neither displayed nor pictured, and biographies are completely absent. With no captions, we risk losing sight of their (sometimes heroic) lives and lived experiences. 

So, speak up at the front desk. Ask for the list of works, or a copy (of just two) of the PDF print-outs. Make the Henry Moore Institute print and bind more guides - they’re clearly popular. And push through that door. There are new heroes of history to be found inside.

Rebecca Fortnum: Les Praticiennes is on show at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds until 4 June 2023.

Make sure to collect your Yamos on the gowithYamo app when you visit!

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
Spotlight
Jelena Sofronijevic
Rebecca Fortnum spotlights the overlooked women of sculpture in Les Praticiennes
Written by
Jelena Sofronijevic
Date Pulblished
07/03/2023
Sculpture
Portraiture
Art by Women
Art History
Artist Rebecca Fortnum’s works, showing now at the Henry Moore Institute, draw attention to the frequently-undersung women who surrounded sculptor Auguste Rodin

How many women were students or paid assistants, visitors or lovers, in the studios of Auguste Rodin? ‘Loads,’ according to Rebecca Fortnum - and her exhibition, Les Praticiennes, is an equally intimate space, populated by Fortnum’s sculpture portraits of those who passed through Rodin’s Parisian studios in the 19th and 20th century. 

Unable to enter the École des Beaux-Arts until 1897, young women artists must have been privileged with private education, and/or an apprenticeship to a master. Though Rodin did also devote much time and respect to those he worked with, we often reduce his studio to a sexual space, where women served as passive subjects, or muses, not active makers.

Les Praticiennes scraps that. Instead, Fortnum combines each individual artist’s practices with her own signature style, portraits with downcast eyes. They’re perfectly curated on a custom, fading wallpaper, which alters the viewer’s (or participant’s) downward gaze. These poses indicate women ‘self-possessed’ and complex, not confined to some ‘expected feminine modesty.’

Flodin, Gwen, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Alongside portraits of the women, Fortnum offers dense carbon drawings of their works in sculpture. This hints at their own artistic circles and networks; some small, but most more international. The German sculptor Clara Rilke Westhoff – a more contemporary portrait of whom is shown in Making Modernism – looks over at her sculpture-portrait of her husband, Rainer, better remembered by history. Finnish artist Hilda Flodin was involved with both Auguste Rodin and the Welsh artist, Gwen John; another artist whose practice has been subsumed for the focus on their romantic relationship. (John will receive an exhibition of her own at Pallant House and Holburne Museum later this year.) 

To be sure, the exhibition is still sexually charged, but with women’s sexuality as its focus. Kühne Beveridge’s erotic-Gothic style climaxed in her controversial sculpture ‘The Vampire’ – a work now, unfortunately, lost. ‘The Veiled Venus’, another work created in collaboration with Ella von Wrede (1850–1904), can be found in the Leeds Art Gallery next door.

Young Woman with Closed Eyes, Camille Claudel (1885)

Les Praticiennes pays as much attention to the creative and personal relationships women forged with each other. Camille Claudel is perhaps the most famous individual artist, but here, we learn how many joined her private studios after Rodin’s, like Sigrid af Forselles, a Finnish sculptor known for her ambitious and controversial relief series. 

Nor does the exhibition shy from controversy, or complexity. Malvina Hoffman’s ‘ethnographic’ Half of Man series (1928) was deinstalled from the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History in 1969, later reinstalled and recontextualised in 2016. Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, a ‘sculptor of horrors’ for Rodin, endured great racial discrimination in the US and France – and pursued education and exhibition anyway. A forerunner and contributor to the Harlem Renaissance in Chicago, her Symbolist bronze sculptures are embodiments of bothness – highlighting how folk music, spirituality, and other influences from her ‘ancestral African homeland’ could ‘co-exist’ with her formal Western/European arts education.  

Self-Portrait, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller

(Professor) Fortnum’s artistic process is an equally academic one. Les Praticiennes was one product of her Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship; described here as an act of ‘translation’, there’s rather a sense of archaeology, of excavation, in her practice. Fortnum also talks of ‘exhuming’ these artists’ works which, as Ruth Millington suggests, makes the exhibition a kind of ‘commemorative obituary’, and a collective one.

Fuller, Poet, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Some artists’ stories have been ignored due to geography and politics. Anna Golubkina was the first Russian (man or woman) to receive the Paris Salon prize, and was commemorated by the first studio memorial museum in the country. Born into rural poverty, she came to her practice later in life, undertaking adult education in Moscow in her twenties, where she produced impressionistic then expressionistic sculptures of working-class people. An active participant in the 1905 Russian Revolution, she was nevertheless a critically engaged activist. Arrested in 1907 for keeping banned literature and anti-government satires, she refused to produce art for Lenin’s government of the Soviet Union, and continued to practice until her death.

Les Praticiennes (A Gesture to Genius), Rebecca Fortnum (2023)

Fortnum also uses contemporary art to engage in a historical reckoning with wrongly attributed works. A 3D printed reproduction shows tender hands, sculptures first credited to Auguste Rodin, but likely created by Camille Claudel. More passively, and perhaps worse, many more women have fallen into posthumous obscurity, their works often hidden away in private collections. Symbolist sculptor Madeleine Jouvray, though well-known in her time, today has no books to her name alone.

Golubkina, Karl, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Entering Les Praticiennes, we pass through a door lined with the artists’ names and dates. Here, the context ends. Their original works are neither displayed nor pictured, and biographies are completely absent. With no captions, we risk losing sight of their (sometimes heroic) lives and lived experiences. 

So, speak up at the front desk. Ask for the list of works, or a copy (of just two) of the PDF print-outs. Make the Henry Moore Institute print and bind more guides - they’re clearly popular. And push through that door. There are new heroes of history to be found inside.

Rebecca Fortnum: Les Praticiennes is on show at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds until 4 June 2023.

Make sure to collect your Yamos on the gowithYamo app when you visit!

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
07/03/2023
Spotlight
Jelena Sofronijevic
Rebecca Fortnum spotlights the overlooked women of sculpture in Les Praticiennes
Written by
Jelena Sofronijevic
Date Pulblished
07/03/2023
Sculpture
Portraiture
Art by Women
Art History
Artist Rebecca Fortnum’s works, showing now at the Henry Moore Institute, draw attention to the frequently-undersung women who surrounded sculptor Auguste Rodin

How many women were students or paid assistants, visitors or lovers, in the studios of Auguste Rodin? ‘Loads,’ according to Rebecca Fortnum - and her exhibition, Les Praticiennes, is an equally intimate space, populated by Fortnum’s sculpture portraits of those who passed through Rodin’s Parisian studios in the 19th and 20th century. 

Unable to enter the École des Beaux-Arts until 1897, young women artists must have been privileged with private education, and/or an apprenticeship to a master. Though Rodin did also devote much time and respect to those he worked with, we often reduce his studio to a sexual space, where women served as passive subjects, or muses, not active makers.

Les Praticiennes scraps that. Instead, Fortnum combines each individual artist’s practices with her own signature style, portraits with downcast eyes. They’re perfectly curated on a custom, fading wallpaper, which alters the viewer’s (or participant’s) downward gaze. These poses indicate women ‘self-possessed’ and complex, not confined to some ‘expected feminine modesty.’

Flodin, Gwen, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Alongside portraits of the women, Fortnum offers dense carbon drawings of their works in sculpture. This hints at their own artistic circles and networks; some small, but most more international. The German sculptor Clara Rilke Westhoff – a more contemporary portrait of whom is shown in Making Modernism – looks over at her sculpture-portrait of her husband, Rainer, better remembered by history. Finnish artist Hilda Flodin was involved with both Auguste Rodin and the Welsh artist, Gwen John; another artist whose practice has been subsumed for the focus on their romantic relationship. (John will receive an exhibition of her own at Pallant House and Holburne Museum later this year.) 

To be sure, the exhibition is still sexually charged, but with women’s sexuality as its focus. Kühne Beveridge’s erotic-Gothic style climaxed in her controversial sculpture ‘The Vampire’ – a work now, unfortunately, lost. ‘The Veiled Venus’, another work created in collaboration with Ella von Wrede (1850–1904), can be found in the Leeds Art Gallery next door.

Young Woman with Closed Eyes, Camille Claudel (1885)

Les Praticiennes pays as much attention to the creative and personal relationships women forged with each other. Camille Claudel is perhaps the most famous individual artist, but here, we learn how many joined her private studios after Rodin’s, like Sigrid af Forselles, a Finnish sculptor known for her ambitious and controversial relief series. 

Nor does the exhibition shy from controversy, or complexity. Malvina Hoffman’s ‘ethnographic’ Half of Man series (1928) was deinstalled from the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History in 1969, later reinstalled and recontextualised in 2016. Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, a ‘sculptor of horrors’ for Rodin, endured great racial discrimination in the US and France – and pursued education and exhibition anyway. A forerunner and contributor to the Harlem Renaissance in Chicago, her Symbolist bronze sculptures are embodiments of bothness – highlighting how folk music, spirituality, and other influences from her ‘ancestral African homeland’ could ‘co-exist’ with her formal Western/European arts education.  

Self-Portrait, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller

(Professor) Fortnum’s artistic process is an equally academic one. Les Praticiennes was one product of her Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship; described here as an act of ‘translation’, there’s rather a sense of archaeology, of excavation, in her practice. Fortnum also talks of ‘exhuming’ these artists’ works which, as Ruth Millington suggests, makes the exhibition a kind of ‘commemorative obituary’, and a collective one.

Fuller, Poet, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Some artists’ stories have been ignored due to geography and politics. Anna Golubkina was the first Russian (man or woman) to receive the Paris Salon prize, and was commemorated by the first studio memorial museum in the country. Born into rural poverty, she came to her practice later in life, undertaking adult education in Moscow in her twenties, where she produced impressionistic then expressionistic sculptures of working-class people. An active participant in the 1905 Russian Revolution, she was nevertheless a critically engaged activist. Arrested in 1907 for keeping banned literature and anti-government satires, she refused to produce art for Lenin’s government of the Soviet Union, and continued to practice until her death.

Les Praticiennes (A Gesture to Genius), Rebecca Fortnum (2023)

Fortnum also uses contemporary art to engage in a historical reckoning with wrongly attributed works. A 3D printed reproduction shows tender hands, sculptures first credited to Auguste Rodin, but likely created by Camille Claudel. More passively, and perhaps worse, many more women have fallen into posthumous obscurity, their works often hidden away in private collections. Symbolist sculptor Madeleine Jouvray, though well-known in her time, today has no books to her name alone.

Golubkina, Karl, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Entering Les Praticiennes, we pass through a door lined with the artists’ names and dates. Here, the context ends. Their original works are neither displayed nor pictured, and biographies are completely absent. With no captions, we risk losing sight of their (sometimes heroic) lives and lived experiences. 

So, speak up at the front desk. Ask for the list of works, or a copy (of just two) of the PDF print-outs. Make the Henry Moore Institute print and bind more guides - they’re clearly popular. And push through that door. There are new heroes of history to be found inside.

Rebecca Fortnum: Les Praticiennes is on show at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds until 4 June 2023.

Make sure to collect your Yamos on the gowithYamo app when you visit!

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
07/03/2023
Spotlight
Jelena Sofronijevic
Rebecca Fortnum spotlights the overlooked women of sculpture in Les Praticiennes
Written by
Jelena Sofronijevic
Date Pulblished
07/03/2023
Sculpture
Portraiture
Art by Women
Art History
Artist Rebecca Fortnum’s works, showing now at the Henry Moore Institute, draw attention to the frequently-undersung women who surrounded sculptor Auguste Rodin

How many women were students or paid assistants, visitors or lovers, in the studios of Auguste Rodin? ‘Loads,’ according to Rebecca Fortnum - and her exhibition, Les Praticiennes, is an equally intimate space, populated by Fortnum’s sculpture portraits of those who passed through Rodin’s Parisian studios in the 19th and 20th century. 

Unable to enter the École des Beaux-Arts until 1897, young women artists must have been privileged with private education, and/or an apprenticeship to a master. Though Rodin did also devote much time and respect to those he worked with, we often reduce his studio to a sexual space, where women served as passive subjects, or muses, not active makers.

Les Praticiennes scraps that. Instead, Fortnum combines each individual artist’s practices with her own signature style, portraits with downcast eyes. They’re perfectly curated on a custom, fading wallpaper, which alters the viewer’s (or participant’s) downward gaze. These poses indicate women ‘self-possessed’ and complex, not confined to some ‘expected feminine modesty.’

Flodin, Gwen, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Alongside portraits of the women, Fortnum offers dense carbon drawings of their works in sculpture. This hints at their own artistic circles and networks; some small, but most more international. The German sculptor Clara Rilke Westhoff – a more contemporary portrait of whom is shown in Making Modernism – looks over at her sculpture-portrait of her husband, Rainer, better remembered by history. Finnish artist Hilda Flodin was involved with both Auguste Rodin and the Welsh artist, Gwen John; another artist whose practice has been subsumed for the focus on their romantic relationship. (John will receive an exhibition of her own at Pallant House and Holburne Museum later this year.) 

To be sure, the exhibition is still sexually charged, but with women’s sexuality as its focus. Kühne Beveridge’s erotic-Gothic style climaxed in her controversial sculpture ‘The Vampire’ – a work now, unfortunately, lost. ‘The Veiled Venus’, another work created in collaboration with Ella von Wrede (1850–1904), can be found in the Leeds Art Gallery next door.

Young Woman with Closed Eyes, Camille Claudel (1885)

Les Praticiennes pays as much attention to the creative and personal relationships women forged with each other. Camille Claudel is perhaps the most famous individual artist, but here, we learn how many joined her private studios after Rodin’s, like Sigrid af Forselles, a Finnish sculptor known for her ambitious and controversial relief series. 

Nor does the exhibition shy from controversy, or complexity. Malvina Hoffman’s ‘ethnographic’ Half of Man series (1928) was deinstalled from the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History in 1969, later reinstalled and recontextualised in 2016. Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, a ‘sculptor of horrors’ for Rodin, endured great racial discrimination in the US and France – and pursued education and exhibition anyway. A forerunner and contributor to the Harlem Renaissance in Chicago, her Symbolist bronze sculptures are embodiments of bothness – highlighting how folk music, spirituality, and other influences from her ‘ancestral African homeland’ could ‘co-exist’ with her formal Western/European arts education.  

Self-Portrait, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller

(Professor) Fortnum’s artistic process is an equally academic one. Les Praticiennes was one product of her Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship; described here as an act of ‘translation’, there’s rather a sense of archaeology, of excavation, in her practice. Fortnum also talks of ‘exhuming’ these artists’ works which, as Ruth Millington suggests, makes the exhibition a kind of ‘commemorative obituary’, and a collective one.

Fuller, Poet, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Some artists’ stories have been ignored due to geography and politics. Anna Golubkina was the first Russian (man or woman) to receive the Paris Salon prize, and was commemorated by the first studio memorial museum in the country. Born into rural poverty, she came to her practice later in life, undertaking adult education in Moscow in her twenties, where she produced impressionistic then expressionistic sculptures of working-class people. An active participant in the 1905 Russian Revolution, she was nevertheless a critically engaged activist. Arrested in 1907 for keeping banned literature and anti-government satires, she refused to produce art for Lenin’s government of the Soviet Union, and continued to practice until her death.

Les Praticiennes (A Gesture to Genius), Rebecca Fortnum (2023)

Fortnum also uses contemporary art to engage in a historical reckoning with wrongly attributed works. A 3D printed reproduction shows tender hands, sculptures first credited to Auguste Rodin, but likely created by Camille Claudel. More passively, and perhaps worse, many more women have fallen into posthumous obscurity, their works often hidden away in private collections. Symbolist sculptor Madeleine Jouvray, though well-known in her time, today has no books to her name alone.

Golubkina, Karl, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Entering Les Praticiennes, we pass through a door lined with the artists’ names and dates. Here, the context ends. Their original works are neither displayed nor pictured, and biographies are completely absent. With no captions, we risk losing sight of their (sometimes heroic) lives and lived experiences. 

So, speak up at the front desk. Ask for the list of works, or a copy (of just two) of the PDF print-outs. Make the Henry Moore Institute print and bind more guides - they’re clearly popular. And push through that door. There are new heroes of history to be found inside.

Rebecca Fortnum: Les Praticiennes is on show at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds until 4 June 2023.

Make sure to collect your Yamos on the gowithYamo app when you visit!

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
07/03/2023
Spotlight
Jelena Sofronijevic
Rebecca Fortnum spotlights the overlooked women of sculpture in Les Praticiennes
Written by
Jelena Sofronijevic
Date Pulblished
07/03/2023
Sculpture
Portraiture
Art by Women
Art History
Artist Rebecca Fortnum’s works, showing now at the Henry Moore Institute, draw attention to the frequently-undersung women who surrounded sculptor Auguste Rodin

How many women were students or paid assistants, visitors or lovers, in the studios of Auguste Rodin? ‘Loads,’ according to Rebecca Fortnum - and her exhibition, Les Praticiennes, is an equally intimate space, populated by Fortnum’s sculpture portraits of those who passed through Rodin’s Parisian studios in the 19th and 20th century. 

Unable to enter the École des Beaux-Arts until 1897, young women artists must have been privileged with private education, and/or an apprenticeship to a master. Though Rodin did also devote much time and respect to those he worked with, we often reduce his studio to a sexual space, where women served as passive subjects, or muses, not active makers.

Les Praticiennes scraps that. Instead, Fortnum combines each individual artist’s practices with her own signature style, portraits with downcast eyes. They’re perfectly curated on a custom, fading wallpaper, which alters the viewer’s (or participant’s) downward gaze. These poses indicate women ‘self-possessed’ and complex, not confined to some ‘expected feminine modesty.’

Flodin, Gwen, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Alongside portraits of the women, Fortnum offers dense carbon drawings of their works in sculpture. This hints at their own artistic circles and networks; some small, but most more international. The German sculptor Clara Rilke Westhoff – a more contemporary portrait of whom is shown in Making Modernism – looks over at her sculpture-portrait of her husband, Rainer, better remembered by history. Finnish artist Hilda Flodin was involved with both Auguste Rodin and the Welsh artist, Gwen John; another artist whose practice has been subsumed for the focus on their romantic relationship. (John will receive an exhibition of her own at Pallant House and Holburne Museum later this year.) 

To be sure, the exhibition is still sexually charged, but with women’s sexuality as its focus. Kühne Beveridge’s erotic-Gothic style climaxed in her controversial sculpture ‘The Vampire’ – a work now, unfortunately, lost. ‘The Veiled Venus’, another work created in collaboration with Ella von Wrede (1850–1904), can be found in the Leeds Art Gallery next door.

Young Woman with Closed Eyes, Camille Claudel (1885)

Les Praticiennes pays as much attention to the creative and personal relationships women forged with each other. Camille Claudel is perhaps the most famous individual artist, but here, we learn how many joined her private studios after Rodin’s, like Sigrid af Forselles, a Finnish sculptor known for her ambitious and controversial relief series. 

Nor does the exhibition shy from controversy, or complexity. Malvina Hoffman’s ‘ethnographic’ Half of Man series (1928) was deinstalled from the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History in 1969, later reinstalled and recontextualised in 2016. Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, a ‘sculptor of horrors’ for Rodin, endured great racial discrimination in the US and France – and pursued education and exhibition anyway. A forerunner and contributor to the Harlem Renaissance in Chicago, her Symbolist bronze sculptures are embodiments of bothness – highlighting how folk music, spirituality, and other influences from her ‘ancestral African homeland’ could ‘co-exist’ with her formal Western/European arts education.  

Self-Portrait, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller

(Professor) Fortnum’s artistic process is an equally academic one. Les Praticiennes was one product of her Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship; described here as an act of ‘translation’, there’s rather a sense of archaeology, of excavation, in her practice. Fortnum also talks of ‘exhuming’ these artists’ works which, as Ruth Millington suggests, makes the exhibition a kind of ‘commemorative obituary’, and a collective one.

Fuller, Poet, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Some artists’ stories have been ignored due to geography and politics. Anna Golubkina was the first Russian (man or woman) to receive the Paris Salon prize, and was commemorated by the first studio memorial museum in the country. Born into rural poverty, she came to her practice later in life, undertaking adult education in Moscow in her twenties, where she produced impressionistic then expressionistic sculptures of working-class people. An active participant in the 1905 Russian Revolution, she was nevertheless a critically engaged activist. Arrested in 1907 for keeping banned literature and anti-government satires, she refused to produce art for Lenin’s government of the Soviet Union, and continued to practice until her death.

Les Praticiennes (A Gesture to Genius), Rebecca Fortnum (2023)

Fortnum also uses contemporary art to engage in a historical reckoning with wrongly attributed works. A 3D printed reproduction shows tender hands, sculptures first credited to Auguste Rodin, but likely created by Camille Claudel. More passively, and perhaps worse, many more women have fallen into posthumous obscurity, their works often hidden away in private collections. Symbolist sculptor Madeleine Jouvray, though well-known in her time, today has no books to her name alone.

Golubkina, Karl, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Entering Les Praticiennes, we pass through a door lined with the artists’ names and dates. Here, the context ends. Their original works are neither displayed nor pictured, and biographies are completely absent. With no captions, we risk losing sight of their (sometimes heroic) lives and lived experiences. 

So, speak up at the front desk. Ask for the list of works, or a copy (of just two) of the PDF print-outs. Make the Henry Moore Institute print and bind more guides - they’re clearly popular. And push through that door. There are new heroes of history to be found inside.

Rebecca Fortnum: Les Praticiennes is on show at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds until 4 June 2023.

Make sure to collect your Yamos on the gowithYamo app when you visit!

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
Written by
Jelena Sofronijevic
Date Pulblished
07/03/2023
Sculpture
Portraiture
Art by Women
Art History
07/03/2023
Spotlight
Jelena Sofronijevic
Rebecca Fortnum spotlights the overlooked women of sculpture in Les Praticiennes

How many women were students or paid assistants, visitors or lovers, in the studios of Auguste Rodin? ‘Loads,’ according to Rebecca Fortnum - and her exhibition, Les Praticiennes, is an equally intimate space, populated by Fortnum’s sculpture portraits of those who passed through Rodin’s Parisian studios in the 19th and 20th century. 

Unable to enter the École des Beaux-Arts until 1897, young women artists must have been privileged with private education, and/or an apprenticeship to a master. Though Rodin did also devote much time and respect to those he worked with, we often reduce his studio to a sexual space, where women served as passive subjects, or muses, not active makers.

Les Praticiennes scraps that. Instead, Fortnum combines each individual artist’s practices with her own signature style, portraits with downcast eyes. They’re perfectly curated on a custom, fading wallpaper, which alters the viewer’s (or participant’s) downward gaze. These poses indicate women ‘self-possessed’ and complex, not confined to some ‘expected feminine modesty.’

Flodin, Gwen, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Alongside portraits of the women, Fortnum offers dense carbon drawings of their works in sculpture. This hints at their own artistic circles and networks; some small, but most more international. The German sculptor Clara Rilke Westhoff – a more contemporary portrait of whom is shown in Making Modernism – looks over at her sculpture-portrait of her husband, Rainer, better remembered by history. Finnish artist Hilda Flodin was involved with both Auguste Rodin and the Welsh artist, Gwen John; another artist whose practice has been subsumed for the focus on their romantic relationship. (John will receive an exhibition of her own at Pallant House and Holburne Museum later this year.) 

To be sure, the exhibition is still sexually charged, but with women’s sexuality as its focus. Kühne Beveridge’s erotic-Gothic style climaxed in her controversial sculpture ‘The Vampire’ – a work now, unfortunately, lost. ‘The Veiled Venus’, another work created in collaboration with Ella von Wrede (1850–1904), can be found in the Leeds Art Gallery next door.

Young Woman with Closed Eyes, Camille Claudel (1885)

Les Praticiennes pays as much attention to the creative and personal relationships women forged with each other. Camille Claudel is perhaps the most famous individual artist, but here, we learn how many joined her private studios after Rodin’s, like Sigrid af Forselles, a Finnish sculptor known for her ambitious and controversial relief series. 

Nor does the exhibition shy from controversy, or complexity. Malvina Hoffman’s ‘ethnographic’ Half of Man series (1928) was deinstalled from the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History in 1969, later reinstalled and recontextualised in 2016. Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, a ‘sculptor of horrors’ for Rodin, endured great racial discrimination in the US and France – and pursued education and exhibition anyway. A forerunner and contributor to the Harlem Renaissance in Chicago, her Symbolist bronze sculptures are embodiments of bothness – highlighting how folk music, spirituality, and other influences from her ‘ancestral African homeland’ could ‘co-exist’ with her formal Western/European arts education.  

Self-Portrait, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller

(Professor) Fortnum’s artistic process is an equally academic one. Les Praticiennes was one product of her Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship; described here as an act of ‘translation’, there’s rather a sense of archaeology, of excavation, in her practice. Fortnum also talks of ‘exhuming’ these artists’ works which, as Ruth Millington suggests, makes the exhibition a kind of ‘commemorative obituary’, and a collective one.

Fuller, Poet, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Some artists’ stories have been ignored due to geography and politics. Anna Golubkina was the first Russian (man or woman) to receive the Paris Salon prize, and was commemorated by the first studio memorial museum in the country. Born into rural poverty, she came to her practice later in life, undertaking adult education in Moscow in her twenties, where she produced impressionistic then expressionistic sculptures of working-class people. An active participant in the 1905 Russian Revolution, she was nevertheless a critically engaged activist. Arrested in 1907 for keeping banned literature and anti-government satires, she refused to produce art for Lenin’s government of the Soviet Union, and continued to practice until her death.

Les Praticiennes (A Gesture to Genius), Rebecca Fortnum (2023)

Fortnum also uses contemporary art to engage in a historical reckoning with wrongly attributed works. A 3D printed reproduction shows tender hands, sculptures first credited to Auguste Rodin, but likely created by Camille Claudel. More passively, and perhaps worse, many more women have fallen into posthumous obscurity, their works often hidden away in private collections. Symbolist sculptor Madeleine Jouvray, though well-known in her time, today has no books to her name alone.

Golubkina, Karl, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Entering Les Praticiennes, we pass through a door lined with the artists’ names and dates. Here, the context ends. Their original works are neither displayed nor pictured, and biographies are completely absent. With no captions, we risk losing sight of their (sometimes heroic) lives and lived experiences. 

So, speak up at the front desk. Ask for the list of works, or a copy (of just two) of the PDF print-outs. Make the Henry Moore Institute print and bind more guides - they’re clearly popular. And push through that door. There are new heroes of history to be found inside.

Rebecca Fortnum: Les Praticiennes is on show at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds until 4 June 2023.

Make sure to collect your Yamos on the gowithYamo app when you visit!

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
Rebecca Fortnum spotlights the overlooked women of sculpture in Les Praticiennes
07/03/2023
Spotlight
Jelena Sofronijevic
Written by
Jelena Sofronijevic
Date Pulblished
07/03/2023
Sculpture
Portraiture
Art by Women
Art History
Artist Rebecca Fortnum’s works, showing now at the Henry Moore Institute, draw attention to the frequently-undersung women who surrounded sculptor Auguste Rodin

How many women were students or paid assistants, visitors or lovers, in the studios of Auguste Rodin? ‘Loads,’ according to Rebecca Fortnum - and her exhibition, Les Praticiennes, is an equally intimate space, populated by Fortnum’s sculpture portraits of those who passed through Rodin’s Parisian studios in the 19th and 20th century. 

Unable to enter the École des Beaux-Arts until 1897, young women artists must have been privileged with private education, and/or an apprenticeship to a master. Though Rodin did also devote much time and respect to those he worked with, we often reduce his studio to a sexual space, where women served as passive subjects, or muses, not active makers.

Les Praticiennes scraps that. Instead, Fortnum combines each individual artist’s practices with her own signature style, portraits with downcast eyes. They’re perfectly curated on a custom, fading wallpaper, which alters the viewer’s (or participant’s) downward gaze. These poses indicate women ‘self-possessed’ and complex, not confined to some ‘expected feminine modesty.’

Flodin, Gwen, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Alongside portraits of the women, Fortnum offers dense carbon drawings of their works in sculpture. This hints at their own artistic circles and networks; some small, but most more international. The German sculptor Clara Rilke Westhoff – a more contemporary portrait of whom is shown in Making Modernism – looks over at her sculpture-portrait of her husband, Rainer, better remembered by history. Finnish artist Hilda Flodin was involved with both Auguste Rodin and the Welsh artist, Gwen John; another artist whose practice has been subsumed for the focus on their romantic relationship. (John will receive an exhibition of her own at Pallant House and Holburne Museum later this year.) 

To be sure, the exhibition is still sexually charged, but with women’s sexuality as its focus. Kühne Beveridge’s erotic-Gothic style climaxed in her controversial sculpture ‘The Vampire’ – a work now, unfortunately, lost. ‘The Veiled Venus’, another work created in collaboration with Ella von Wrede (1850–1904), can be found in the Leeds Art Gallery next door.

Young Woman with Closed Eyes, Camille Claudel (1885)

Les Praticiennes pays as much attention to the creative and personal relationships women forged with each other. Camille Claudel is perhaps the most famous individual artist, but here, we learn how many joined her private studios after Rodin’s, like Sigrid af Forselles, a Finnish sculptor known for her ambitious and controversial relief series. 

Nor does the exhibition shy from controversy, or complexity. Malvina Hoffman’s ‘ethnographic’ Half of Man series (1928) was deinstalled from the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History in 1969, later reinstalled and recontextualised in 2016. Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, a ‘sculptor of horrors’ for Rodin, endured great racial discrimination in the US and France – and pursued education and exhibition anyway. A forerunner and contributor to the Harlem Renaissance in Chicago, her Symbolist bronze sculptures are embodiments of bothness – highlighting how folk music, spirituality, and other influences from her ‘ancestral African homeland’ could ‘co-exist’ with her formal Western/European arts education.  

Self-Portrait, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller

(Professor) Fortnum’s artistic process is an equally academic one. Les Praticiennes was one product of her Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship; described here as an act of ‘translation’, there’s rather a sense of archaeology, of excavation, in her practice. Fortnum also talks of ‘exhuming’ these artists’ works which, as Ruth Millington suggests, makes the exhibition a kind of ‘commemorative obituary’, and a collective one.

Fuller, Poet, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Some artists’ stories have been ignored due to geography and politics. Anna Golubkina was the first Russian (man or woman) to receive the Paris Salon prize, and was commemorated by the first studio memorial museum in the country. Born into rural poverty, she came to her practice later in life, undertaking adult education in Moscow in her twenties, where she produced impressionistic then expressionistic sculptures of working-class people. An active participant in the 1905 Russian Revolution, she was nevertheless a critically engaged activist. Arrested in 1907 for keeping banned literature and anti-government satires, she refused to produce art for Lenin’s government of the Soviet Union, and continued to practice until her death.

Les Praticiennes (A Gesture to Genius), Rebecca Fortnum (2023)

Fortnum also uses contemporary art to engage in a historical reckoning with wrongly attributed works. A 3D printed reproduction shows tender hands, sculptures first credited to Auguste Rodin, but likely created by Camille Claudel. More passively, and perhaps worse, many more women have fallen into posthumous obscurity, their works often hidden away in private collections. Symbolist sculptor Madeleine Jouvray, though well-known in her time, today has no books to her name alone.

Golubkina, Karl, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Entering Les Praticiennes, we pass through a door lined with the artists’ names and dates. Here, the context ends. Their original works are neither displayed nor pictured, and biographies are completely absent. With no captions, we risk losing sight of their (sometimes heroic) lives and lived experiences. 

So, speak up at the front desk. Ask for the list of works, or a copy (of just two) of the PDF print-outs. Make the Henry Moore Institute print and bind more guides - they’re clearly popular. And push through that door. There are new heroes of history to be found inside.

Rebecca Fortnum: Les Praticiennes is on show at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds until 4 June 2023.

Make sure to collect your Yamos on the gowithYamo app when you visit!

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
Rebecca Fortnum spotlights the overlooked women of sculpture in Les Praticiennes
Written by
Jelena Sofronijevic
Date Pulblished
07/03/2023
Artist Rebecca Fortnum’s works, showing now at the Henry Moore Institute, draw attention to the frequently-undersung women who surrounded sculptor Auguste Rodin
07/03/2023
Spotlight
Jelena Sofronijevic

How many women were students or paid assistants, visitors or lovers, in the studios of Auguste Rodin? ‘Loads,’ according to Rebecca Fortnum - and her exhibition, Les Praticiennes, is an equally intimate space, populated by Fortnum’s sculpture portraits of those who passed through Rodin’s Parisian studios in the 19th and 20th century. 

Unable to enter the École des Beaux-Arts until 1897, young women artists must have been privileged with private education, and/or an apprenticeship to a master. Though Rodin did also devote much time and respect to those he worked with, we often reduce his studio to a sexual space, where women served as passive subjects, or muses, not active makers.

Les Praticiennes scraps that. Instead, Fortnum combines each individual artist’s practices with her own signature style, portraits with downcast eyes. They’re perfectly curated on a custom, fading wallpaper, which alters the viewer’s (or participant’s) downward gaze. These poses indicate women ‘self-possessed’ and complex, not confined to some ‘expected feminine modesty.’

Flodin, Gwen, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Alongside portraits of the women, Fortnum offers dense carbon drawings of their works in sculpture. This hints at their own artistic circles and networks; some small, but most more international. The German sculptor Clara Rilke Westhoff – a more contemporary portrait of whom is shown in Making Modernism – looks over at her sculpture-portrait of her husband, Rainer, better remembered by history. Finnish artist Hilda Flodin was involved with both Auguste Rodin and the Welsh artist, Gwen John; another artist whose practice has been subsumed for the focus on their romantic relationship. (John will receive an exhibition of her own at Pallant House and Holburne Museum later this year.) 

To be sure, the exhibition is still sexually charged, but with women’s sexuality as its focus. Kühne Beveridge’s erotic-Gothic style climaxed in her controversial sculpture ‘The Vampire’ – a work now, unfortunately, lost. ‘The Veiled Venus’, another work created in collaboration with Ella von Wrede (1850–1904), can be found in the Leeds Art Gallery next door.

Young Woman with Closed Eyes, Camille Claudel (1885)

Les Praticiennes pays as much attention to the creative and personal relationships women forged with each other. Camille Claudel is perhaps the most famous individual artist, but here, we learn how many joined her private studios after Rodin’s, like Sigrid af Forselles, a Finnish sculptor known for her ambitious and controversial relief series. 

Nor does the exhibition shy from controversy, or complexity. Malvina Hoffman’s ‘ethnographic’ Half of Man series (1928) was deinstalled from the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History in 1969, later reinstalled and recontextualised in 2016. Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, a ‘sculptor of horrors’ for Rodin, endured great racial discrimination in the US and France – and pursued education and exhibition anyway. A forerunner and contributor to the Harlem Renaissance in Chicago, her Symbolist bronze sculptures are embodiments of bothness – highlighting how folk music, spirituality, and other influences from her ‘ancestral African homeland’ could ‘co-exist’ with her formal Western/European arts education.  

Self-Portrait, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller

(Professor) Fortnum’s artistic process is an equally academic one. Les Praticiennes was one product of her Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship; described here as an act of ‘translation’, there’s rather a sense of archaeology, of excavation, in her practice. Fortnum also talks of ‘exhuming’ these artists’ works which, as Ruth Millington suggests, makes the exhibition a kind of ‘commemorative obituary’, and a collective one.

Fuller, Poet, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Some artists’ stories have been ignored due to geography and politics. Anna Golubkina was the first Russian (man or woman) to receive the Paris Salon prize, and was commemorated by the first studio memorial museum in the country. Born into rural poverty, she came to her practice later in life, undertaking adult education in Moscow in her twenties, where she produced impressionistic then expressionistic sculptures of working-class people. An active participant in the 1905 Russian Revolution, she was nevertheless a critically engaged activist. Arrested in 1907 for keeping banned literature and anti-government satires, she refused to produce art for Lenin’s government of the Soviet Union, and continued to practice until her death.

Les Praticiennes (A Gesture to Genius), Rebecca Fortnum (2023)

Fortnum also uses contemporary art to engage in a historical reckoning with wrongly attributed works. A 3D printed reproduction shows tender hands, sculptures first credited to Auguste Rodin, but likely created by Camille Claudel. More passively, and perhaps worse, many more women have fallen into posthumous obscurity, their works often hidden away in private collections. Symbolist sculptor Madeleine Jouvray, though well-known in her time, today has no books to her name alone.

Golubkina, Karl, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Entering Les Praticiennes, we pass through a door lined with the artists’ names and dates. Here, the context ends. Their original works are neither displayed nor pictured, and biographies are completely absent. With no captions, we risk losing sight of their (sometimes heroic) lives and lived experiences. 

So, speak up at the front desk. Ask for the list of works, or a copy (of just two) of the PDF print-outs. Make the Henry Moore Institute print and bind more guides - they’re clearly popular. And push through that door. There are new heroes of history to be found inside.

Rebecca Fortnum: Les Praticiennes is on show at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds until 4 June 2023.

Make sure to collect your Yamos on the gowithYamo app when you visit!

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
Rebecca Fortnum spotlights the overlooked women of sculpture in Les Praticiennes
Written by
Jelena Sofronijevic
Date Pulblished
07/03/2023
Sculpture
Portraiture
Art by Women
Art History
07/03/2023
Spotlight
Jelena Sofronijevic
Artist Rebecca Fortnum’s works, showing now at the Henry Moore Institute, draw attention to the frequently-undersung women who surrounded sculptor Auguste Rodin

How many women were students or paid assistants, visitors or lovers, in the studios of Auguste Rodin? ‘Loads,’ according to Rebecca Fortnum - and her exhibition, Les Praticiennes, is an equally intimate space, populated by Fortnum’s sculpture portraits of those who passed through Rodin’s Parisian studios in the 19th and 20th century. 

Unable to enter the École des Beaux-Arts until 1897, young women artists must have been privileged with private education, and/or an apprenticeship to a master. Though Rodin did also devote much time and respect to those he worked with, we often reduce his studio to a sexual space, where women served as passive subjects, or muses, not active makers.

Les Praticiennes scraps that. Instead, Fortnum combines each individual artist’s practices with her own signature style, portraits with downcast eyes. They’re perfectly curated on a custom, fading wallpaper, which alters the viewer’s (or participant’s) downward gaze. These poses indicate women ‘self-possessed’ and complex, not confined to some ‘expected feminine modesty.’

Flodin, Gwen, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Alongside portraits of the women, Fortnum offers dense carbon drawings of their works in sculpture. This hints at their own artistic circles and networks; some small, but most more international. The German sculptor Clara Rilke Westhoff – a more contemporary portrait of whom is shown in Making Modernism – looks over at her sculpture-portrait of her husband, Rainer, better remembered by history. Finnish artist Hilda Flodin was involved with both Auguste Rodin and the Welsh artist, Gwen John; another artist whose practice has been subsumed for the focus on their romantic relationship. (John will receive an exhibition of her own at Pallant House and Holburne Museum later this year.) 

To be sure, the exhibition is still sexually charged, but with women’s sexuality as its focus. Kühne Beveridge’s erotic-Gothic style climaxed in her controversial sculpture ‘The Vampire’ – a work now, unfortunately, lost. ‘The Veiled Venus’, another work created in collaboration with Ella von Wrede (1850–1904), can be found in the Leeds Art Gallery next door.

Young Woman with Closed Eyes, Camille Claudel (1885)

Les Praticiennes pays as much attention to the creative and personal relationships women forged with each other. Camille Claudel is perhaps the most famous individual artist, but here, we learn how many joined her private studios after Rodin’s, like Sigrid af Forselles, a Finnish sculptor known for her ambitious and controversial relief series. 

Nor does the exhibition shy from controversy, or complexity. Malvina Hoffman’s ‘ethnographic’ Half of Man series (1928) was deinstalled from the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History in 1969, later reinstalled and recontextualised in 2016. Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, a ‘sculptor of horrors’ for Rodin, endured great racial discrimination in the US and France – and pursued education and exhibition anyway. A forerunner and contributor to the Harlem Renaissance in Chicago, her Symbolist bronze sculptures are embodiments of bothness – highlighting how folk music, spirituality, and other influences from her ‘ancestral African homeland’ could ‘co-exist’ with her formal Western/European arts education.  

Self-Portrait, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller

(Professor) Fortnum’s artistic process is an equally academic one. Les Praticiennes was one product of her Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship; described here as an act of ‘translation’, there’s rather a sense of archaeology, of excavation, in her practice. Fortnum also talks of ‘exhuming’ these artists’ works which, as Ruth Millington suggests, makes the exhibition a kind of ‘commemorative obituary’, and a collective one.

Fuller, Poet, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Some artists’ stories have been ignored due to geography and politics. Anna Golubkina was the first Russian (man or woman) to receive the Paris Salon prize, and was commemorated by the first studio memorial museum in the country. Born into rural poverty, she came to her practice later in life, undertaking adult education in Moscow in her twenties, where she produced impressionistic then expressionistic sculptures of working-class people. An active participant in the 1905 Russian Revolution, she was nevertheless a critically engaged activist. Arrested in 1907 for keeping banned literature and anti-government satires, she refused to produce art for Lenin’s government of the Soviet Union, and continued to practice until her death.

Les Praticiennes (A Gesture to Genius), Rebecca Fortnum (2023)

Fortnum also uses contemporary art to engage in a historical reckoning with wrongly attributed works. A 3D printed reproduction shows tender hands, sculptures first credited to Auguste Rodin, but likely created by Camille Claudel. More passively, and perhaps worse, many more women have fallen into posthumous obscurity, their works often hidden away in private collections. Symbolist sculptor Madeleine Jouvray, though well-known in her time, today has no books to her name alone.

Golubkina, Karl, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Entering Les Praticiennes, we pass through a door lined with the artists’ names and dates. Here, the context ends. Their original works are neither displayed nor pictured, and biographies are completely absent. With no captions, we risk losing sight of their (sometimes heroic) lives and lived experiences. 

So, speak up at the front desk. Ask for the list of works, or a copy (of just two) of the PDF print-outs. Make the Henry Moore Institute print and bind more guides - they’re clearly popular. And push through that door. There are new heroes of history to be found inside.

Rebecca Fortnum: Les Praticiennes is on show at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds until 4 June 2023.

Make sure to collect your Yamos on the gowithYamo app when you visit!

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
07/03/2023
Spotlight
Jelena Sofronijevic
Rebecca Fortnum spotlights the overlooked women of sculpture in Les Praticiennes
Artist Rebecca Fortnum’s works, showing now at the Henry Moore Institute, draw attention to the frequently-undersung women who surrounded sculptor Auguste Rodin

How many women were students or paid assistants, visitors or lovers, in the studios of Auguste Rodin? ‘Loads,’ according to Rebecca Fortnum - and her exhibition, Les Praticiennes, is an equally intimate space, populated by Fortnum’s sculpture portraits of those who passed through Rodin’s Parisian studios in the 19th and 20th century. 

Unable to enter the École des Beaux-Arts until 1897, young women artists must have been privileged with private education, and/or an apprenticeship to a master. Though Rodin did also devote much time and respect to those he worked with, we often reduce his studio to a sexual space, where women served as passive subjects, or muses, not active makers.

Les Praticiennes scraps that. Instead, Fortnum combines each individual artist’s practices with her own signature style, portraits with downcast eyes. They’re perfectly curated on a custom, fading wallpaper, which alters the viewer’s (or participant’s) downward gaze. These poses indicate women ‘self-possessed’ and complex, not confined to some ‘expected feminine modesty.’

Flodin, Gwen, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Alongside portraits of the women, Fortnum offers dense carbon drawings of their works in sculpture. This hints at their own artistic circles and networks; some small, but most more international. The German sculptor Clara Rilke Westhoff – a more contemporary portrait of whom is shown in Making Modernism – looks over at her sculpture-portrait of her husband, Rainer, better remembered by history. Finnish artist Hilda Flodin was involved with both Auguste Rodin and the Welsh artist, Gwen John; another artist whose practice has been subsumed for the focus on their romantic relationship. (John will receive an exhibition of her own at Pallant House and Holburne Museum later this year.) 

To be sure, the exhibition is still sexually charged, but with women’s sexuality as its focus. Kühne Beveridge’s erotic-Gothic style climaxed in her controversial sculpture ‘The Vampire’ – a work now, unfortunately, lost. ‘The Veiled Venus’, another work created in collaboration with Ella von Wrede (1850–1904), can be found in the Leeds Art Gallery next door.

Young Woman with Closed Eyes, Camille Claudel (1885)

Les Praticiennes pays as much attention to the creative and personal relationships women forged with each other. Camille Claudel is perhaps the most famous individual artist, but here, we learn how many joined her private studios after Rodin’s, like Sigrid af Forselles, a Finnish sculptor known for her ambitious and controversial relief series. 

Nor does the exhibition shy from controversy, or complexity. Malvina Hoffman’s ‘ethnographic’ Half of Man series (1928) was deinstalled from the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History in 1969, later reinstalled and recontextualised in 2016. Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, a ‘sculptor of horrors’ for Rodin, endured great racial discrimination in the US and France – and pursued education and exhibition anyway. A forerunner and contributor to the Harlem Renaissance in Chicago, her Symbolist bronze sculptures are embodiments of bothness – highlighting how folk music, spirituality, and other influences from her ‘ancestral African homeland’ could ‘co-exist’ with her formal Western/European arts education.  

Self-Portrait, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller

(Professor) Fortnum’s artistic process is an equally academic one. Les Praticiennes was one product of her Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship; described here as an act of ‘translation’, there’s rather a sense of archaeology, of excavation, in her practice. Fortnum also talks of ‘exhuming’ these artists’ works which, as Ruth Millington suggests, makes the exhibition a kind of ‘commemorative obituary’, and a collective one.

Fuller, Poet, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Some artists’ stories have been ignored due to geography and politics. Anna Golubkina was the first Russian (man or woman) to receive the Paris Salon prize, and was commemorated by the first studio memorial museum in the country. Born into rural poverty, she came to her practice later in life, undertaking adult education in Moscow in her twenties, where she produced impressionistic then expressionistic sculptures of working-class people. An active participant in the 1905 Russian Revolution, she was nevertheless a critically engaged activist. Arrested in 1907 for keeping banned literature and anti-government satires, she refused to produce art for Lenin’s government of the Soviet Union, and continued to practice until her death.

Les Praticiennes (A Gesture to Genius), Rebecca Fortnum (2023)

Fortnum also uses contemporary art to engage in a historical reckoning with wrongly attributed works. A 3D printed reproduction shows tender hands, sculptures first credited to Auguste Rodin, but likely created by Camille Claudel. More passively, and perhaps worse, many more women have fallen into posthumous obscurity, their works often hidden away in private collections. Symbolist sculptor Madeleine Jouvray, though well-known in her time, today has no books to her name alone.

Golubkina, Karl, Rebecca Fortnum (2022)

Entering Les Praticiennes, we pass through a door lined with the artists’ names and dates. Here, the context ends. Their original works are neither displayed nor pictured, and biographies are completely absent. With no captions, we risk losing sight of their (sometimes heroic) lives and lived experiences. 

So, speak up at the front desk. Ask for the list of works, or a copy (of just two) of the PDF print-outs. Make the Henry Moore Institute print and bind more guides - they’re clearly popular. And push through that door. There are new heroes of history to be found inside.

Rebecca Fortnum: Les Praticiennes is on show at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds until 4 June 2023.

Make sure to collect your Yamos on the gowithYamo app when you visit!

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
Thanks For Reading
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.