miércoles, 5 de julio de 2017

EXÓTICO ||Christa Zaat

Christa Zaat

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Louis Welden Hawkins (French painter) 1849 – 1910
Séverine, ca. 1895
oil on canvas 
77 x 55 cm.
flat frame, gold, decorated with laurel and ears of wheat.
Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France
until 1926, in the collection of Severine, pseudonym of Caroline Remy, the model.

Given to the Musées Nationaux by its model, the journalist Severine, this painting and its frame are among the most remarkable works by the painter Louis Welden Hawkins. Born in Germany of English parents in 1849, he soon moved to France where he trained as a painter. He lived there until the end of his life and took French nationality. Hawkins was closely linked to the Symbolist milieu and participated in several of the exhibitions of the Rose + Croix between 1893 and 1897. With this set, exhibited for the first time in 1895, he offers not only a portrait of his model, but also a symbolic illustration of her occupation and its aims.

Indeed, although the painting alone suggests a determined modern woman writer, the representation of wheat and laurel leaves and the words Pax and Panis on the frame make Severine's commitment clear. It had begun at a very early stage when she became the secretary of the socialist journalist and writer Jules Vallès, and continued through various publications in defence of the working-class which led her to the head of the newspaper Le Cri du Peuple from 1885 to 1888.
Like his Symbolist friends, Hawkins readily referred to the old Masters, and the golden background around his model is probably to be seen as a reference to Italian Renaissance painting.


Caroline Rémy de Guebhard (1855-1929) was a French socialist, journalist, and feminist best known under the pen name Séverine.

Caroline Rémy, who Helen Rodney has called "the high priestess of Dreyfusism," was born in Paris in 1855. Under her nom de plume Séverine, she established her "taste for bold statements and the honor of unpopularity."

She was the daughter of a head clerk at the Prefecture of Police. Twice married, she was the first female journalist to earn a living with her pen, and published in newspapers ranging from Gaulois to La Libre Parole. Trained as a journalist by Jules Vallès, she edited Le Cri du Peuple and was well-known enough to be sent by Le Figaro to Rome, where she met with Pope Leo XII. Her interview, in which he condemned anti-Semitism, was published on 4 August 1892.

In 1893, Séverine published Pages Rouges, a collections of her "papers," but she was not one of the first Dreyfusards. Although, in 1895, she spoke out when Dreyfus was struck by another officer at La Rochelle, she refused to meet with Lucie, judging her to be too well-off. She became a Dreyfusard after meeting Bernard Lazare and after Zola's action; she carried on the fight in several European newspapers, considering Dreyfus to be "a pretext for the great clash of ideas."

At the Zola trial, her "Notes of a Frondeuse" and her "Impressions of a Hearing" impressed the Parisian readers of the feminist newspaper La Fronde and the Brussels readers of Le Petit Bleu. In Rennes, Victor Basch saw in her the "heroism of a smile," and experienced her as "the great solace in the little Dreyfusard army." She baptized her house "Les Trois Marches," after the restaurant where the Dreyfusards would meet. In 1912, she stated, "Despite all of the insults and ingratitude, there is no other period of my life that I loved more than that one."

The one whom Clemenceau called "a tough woman" fought for Dreyfus's rehabilitation to the point that in 1899 a Belgian newspaper dubbed her an "archi-Dreyfusophile." Before the Court of Cassation in 1904, she related how she had been shown the fake bordereau supposedly annotated by Wilhelm II.

Before unsuccessfully submitting her name for a Nobel Prize in 1919, Anatole France gave her a place in his 1908 novel Penguin Island, where she appears as Maniflore, a woman with civic majesty, …) "an august symbol of justice and truth."

Often described and sketched by her colleagues during the Rennes trial, Séverine left the Communist party after 1920 out of loyalty to the League of Human Rights. Before her death in 1929, she requested only a single epitaph: "I am Séverine, nothing by Séverine, an isolated and independent woman."


Born in Germany of English parents, he took French nationality in 1895. Studied in Paris, at the Académie Julian. From 1881-91 he exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Francais; from 1894 with the Societé Nationale, the Rose+Croix Salons and the Libre Esthetique in Brussels. In touch with the Symbolist writers, with Stéphane Mallarmé, Jean Lorraine, Robert de Montparnasse etc. Akin to the Pre-Raphaelites in his dense, highly detailed style combined with strange or exotic subject matter.

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