Maiden Voyages: December 2018

It has been very aggravating for me not to have the time to give Pigtails in Paint the attention it deserves. Lately, I have been busy with professional development courses so that I can do my job effectively.

Keeping Their Distance: If museums and libraries can’t keep controversial (but historically relevant) materials safe from destruction, who will? Perhaps some readers are aware of the bizarre Chadwick Hall image of Samantha Gates that appeared in Taschen’s 20th Century Photography. The book was meant to showcase a collection of photos donated to the Museum Ludwig in Cologne by collector L. Fritz Gruber. When inquiries were made about the possibility of other images in the museum’s collection, the employee in question said the museum was trying to distance itself from parts of this collection and added that that particular photo was “disgusting”. It is unfortunate that employees, docents or curators should be allowed to work for institutions whose materials they have little regard for.

Nothing New Under the Sun: Anyone who knows anything about history realizes that the whole debate about the eroticization of children is hardly a new one; it simply manifests itself in different forms. There is an interesting essay about childhood innocence in connection with vintage postcards.

Promoting Sex Trafficking? Netflix’s new series ‘Baby’ is accused of promoting sex trafficking. A statement was released by The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) condemning the Italian drama series. The program centers around two teenage girls from a wealthy part of Rome who are drawn into the city’s underworld. NCOSE is claiming that the show glamorizes the teenagers entering into prostitution as a coming-of-age story.

The Pigtails Film Archive: A lot of tips come my way, mostly in the form of individual artists or films. In light of the tendency for the more controversial materials to “disappear”, I immediately seek out copies and keep them in an archive for later review. For a while now, I have wanted the over 400 cataloged films on hand to be published temporarily until a more complete review can be written in the main body of the blog. This should help us avoid duplication of effort as well as encourage people to come forward with genuinely fresh leads. The titles and short details will be added a little at a time in the coming month. In addition, I will be introducing a ‘Random Scenes’ category as a counterpart to our ‘Random Images’ to accommodate short posts that deal with intriguing short scenes featuring little girls but do not warrant a full review.

Spike in Visitors! I don’t know if this is good news or bad, but our technical staff has informed us that we had a record number of visitors (for a single day) last month, with over 5000 visitors. This is the highest it has been since we were hosted in the U.K.

Random Images: Natalia Kharitonova

The following photo, Burnt by the Sun by Natalia Kharitonova, won Third Prize in a jury selection at the New York Center of Photographic Art last summer. It was recently censored by Instagram shortly after it was posted. In private emails from Instagram, the artist was advised that it was necessary to cover up the breasts of children, and therefore posting it was “unethical”. Kharitonova responded that, “It’s not ethical for me to just draw triangles on children …” Of course, Instagram is a private company and so little can be done about it at the moment. For the time being, it does still appear on Facebook, but who knows how long it will be able to remain there.

Natalia Kharitonova – Burnt by the Sun (2018)

Random Images: Jonathan Pasqué

With the continuing advance of technology, there are always new ways to express one’s artistic intentions. The irony here is that this artist should use such technology to convey a message that makes us contemplate our own humanity.

The ‘Nu du Ciel’ series of nudes were shot from a camera-mounted drone popular these days with techno-geeks and scenes were set up on the ground to create amusing compositions normally observed from a perpendicular view. Included is this one charming shot of two children. I recommend taking a look at this installation; it will make you chuckle.

Jonathan Pasqué – Nu du Ciel 3 (2018)

Pasqué shares his thoughts about the significance of nudes on his website. Here’s an excerpt translated into English thanks to Christian.

We never stay indifferent in front of a nude. Sculpture, engraving, painting, photography, no matter the form, the nude attracts the eye. Certainly because man is a sexual being. But how to innovate in this art that has gone through the ages? By propelling it precisely in the air of time, in the era of drones! … These nude bodies seen from the sky, staged in varied landscapes, put in light all the beauty and richness of our planet. Their nudity is like an echo to the fragility of our environment. To remind us that, if the earth still has the look of Eden, it is time for us to change our lifestyles and consumption if we want to safeguard this true paradise …

Ivar Arosenius: Kattresan

I am a regular reader of the French blog Les Éditions du Faune devoted to art and literature. On September 27 it published a good article on an interesting Swedish painter, Ivar Arosenius, who lived only 30 years.

Born on October 8, 1878, he started to study art at age 17; as an independent mind, he attended different schools until he returned to his old teacher who respected his freedom to explore his own fantasy and imagination.

Arosenius mostly painted in watercolours, experimenting with motion, texture and colour. He showed a surreal world which mixed fantasy and reality; in particular he illustrated fairy tales. He also worked for the press by producing satirical caricatures of Swedish society; however he never got a secure place with a journal, as his works, appearing as simple humour, were probably too subversive for a conservative society.

Ivar Arosenius with his daughter Eva (c.1908)

His family paintings show a completely different side of the artist, soft and tender. He often represented his wife Ida Andrea Cecilia (nicknamed Eva) as a fairytale princess or as a Madonna holding their child. He also lovingly painted their only daughter Eva Benedikta Elisabeth (1906–2004), better known by her nickname Lillan.

Ivar Arosenius – Little Girl in Front of an Open Chest of Drawers (1907)

Ivar Arosenius – The Girl at the Door Interior of the Artist’s home, Älvängen (1908)

Ivar Arosenius – Lillan in the meadow (1908)

Arosenius’ most famous work is an illustrated tale that he wrote for Lillan: Kattresan (The Cat Journey), about the adventures of a little girl riding on her cat and discovering the world. A scan of it can be seen on the Swedish Literature Database (see the links on the right for the navigation through its 42 pages). I show a few pages from it; clearly the little girl looks like Lillan.

Ivar Arosenius – Kattresan, page 1 (1909)

Ivar Arosenius – Kattresan, page 7 (1909)

Ivar Arosenius – Kattresan, page 15 (1909)

Ivar Arosenius – Kattresan, page 33 (1909)

His wife and friends urged him to publish the book, so he set to improve the drawings, but he could not finish this work, as he died in the night from January the 1st to the 2nd, 1909 from the complications of haemophilia. The book was published posthumously the same year, and it brought fame to Arosenius. Indeed, in May, the Academy of Arts organised at last an exhibition of his work.

I found out that Arosenius made another version of Kattresan for Lillan’s twin cousins, one of whom was named Johanna, or simply Hanna or Hansan. Her grandson published 8 images on his blog from it.

Finally I show two pictures of Lillan in her teens. First a painting of Lillan with her cousin Hanna:

Anton Dich – the two 15-year-old cousins Hanna Gottowt and Lillan Arosenius on the French Riviera (1921)

Next an undated photograph of Lillan from around the same time:

Lillan Arosenius (c.1921)

Maiden Voyages: November 2018

Too Short A Season: It has been my goal to manage this site so that models and artists understand that their work is presented with respect, regardless of content. Because we are examining the portrayal of little girls in our society, I felt it important that Pigtails in Paint should be a place where women can be heard and listened to and that they feel safe doing so. On occasion, former models have come forward privately or publicly to share anecdotes or request mementos of their work. Recently Makenzie, a cousin of Samantha Gates, came forward to tell me she was starting a site dedicated to Sam and wanted help contacting artists who used her image in their work. It was fun learning about the various jobs Sam did that no one outside the family knew about and will hopefully one day appear on that site. But after exchanging only a few messages, I got an email from one of her friends Amanda (who has been commenting on this site lately) telling me that Makenzie’s stomach cancer has taken a turn for the worse and that she was in the hospital. I have been informed that she passed away last month survived by a loving extended family and many friends. It is too bad I did not get to know Makenzie better and hear more stories of her girlhood memories. This is the third person I know this year who succumbed to cancer, all before their time: first my youngest aunt, then Poli Papapetrou and now Makenzie. It is said that the world changes one funeral at a time. But what kind of world will we have when it is the good people who leave us?

Life as a Girl Decade after Decade: Pip uncovered an interesting project intended as a book series sharing the testimonial of girls in America living in various decades the past 100 years. The first book, Girlhood in America, shares over 50 stories of life told by the girls themselves and includes a number of photographs as well.

Happy Halloween 2018!

Everyone have a safe and happy Halloween from all of as at Pigtails in Paint! Careful on those roads tonight. Watch out for little witches and goblins! Now, enjoy these vintage Halloween cards from Ellen Clapsaddle.

Ellen H. Clapsaddle – A Jolly Halloween (card)

Ellen H. Clapsaddle – The Highest Expectations for Halloween (card)

Ellen H. Clapsaddle – Halloween Greeting (card)

The Photography of Marcelin Flandrin

Marcelin Flandrin was an ethnic European Frenchman born in Algeria in 1889. Sources do not agree on when he went to Morocco, but he was definitely there by 1912 when it became a protectorate of France. Flandrin was an aviator and a photographer and served in the French military in Morocco. When the First World War began in Europe in 1914, Flandrin was transferred to France where he served in the French Army’s photographic department.

After the war, he returned to Morocco and lived in Casablanca. There he worked as a professional photographer, and documented the identity of Casablanca in the 1920s. In 1922 he reported on the visit to the French President to Morocco. In 1924 his photos, along with those of Rudolf Lehnert, were used to illustrate the book Nordafrica. In 1925 he took one of his most famous photos; the last photo of a Barbary Lion in the wild. He was the photographer for the Sultan of Morocco’s trip to France in 1926 . Flandrin was one of the greatest publishers of postcards of his time. He died in 1957.

It is hard to date his photos. Most sources I have seen do not even try to determine in what year his photos were taken. One source gave a “circa 1900” date for professional photographs by Flandrin, although he was only 11 years old at the time. Another source gave a circa 1930 date for the photo Esclaves dans les Bananiers. Slavery was abolished in Morocco in 1925, so it is very unlikely that a photo of slaves would have been taken in 1930. In the captions for the Flandrin photos in this post, the dates are given as circa 1925, but that is only a guess.

Although Flandrin is better known for photos of adults, war photography, and his pioneering work in aerial photography; he made several photos of young girls. Le Seigneur Passe !! is my favorite of his girl photos. The three interlaced arms in the center of the photo, the different directions the models are facing, and the expressions on the faces combine to give the photo a sense of movement and excitement.

Marcelin Flandrin – Le Seigneur Passe!! (circa 1925)

The next photo, Les Trois Graces Africaines, shows the same three models in a more relaxed composition. It appears to be a simple photo at first glance, but there may be more to this work than is immediately apparent. I have seen two versions of this photo. The one posted here is the better quality. The other is a mirror image, as if the negative was flipped when it was printed. It is captioned as number 10 of the Nu Académique Marocain series, and has cancelled Moroccan postage stamps affixed. This demonstrates that it was considered respectable enough to be sent through the mail.

Marcelin Flandrin – Les Trois Graces Africaines (circa 1925)

Nude art was popular in the early 20th century, but artists often felt that they had to employ contrivances to make the nudes respectable. One was the ethnographic contrivance, in which the nudes were shown as necessary to educate the viewer about a foreign culture. Orientalism, which is the exotic, romantic portrayals of Islamic culture, is a subcategory of that ethnographic contrivance. Another contrivance was to use nudity in the context of classical mythology, and still another was to portray nudity of an innocent prepubescent who could be considered asexual. Note that Flandrin appears to intentionally avoid using any of these contrivances for Les Trois Graces Africaines.

The title of the photo refers to the Three Graces of mythology. However, there is nothing in this photo that is suggestive of mythology. The Three Graces are conventionally portrayed in a line, with the center grace facing the opposite direction from the two on the ends of the line. The title Les Trois Graces Africaines serves to remind the viewer that Flandrin could easily have used this mythological contrivance, but chose not to. The painting below shows how the Three Graces should appear.

Raphael – Three Graces (circa 1505)

Flandrin documented the conditions in Morocco in the 1920s with photos of all ages and both sexes. His works include a few nudes of only prepubescent models, and these may be seen as employing the “innocent, asexual child” contrivance. Four photos of this kind appear below. Three are casual outdoor photos of girls, and one is an indoor photo posed as a model in a life-drawing class. Note that these photos demonstrate that Les Trois Graces Africaines would have worked just as well as Les Deux Graces Africaines, with the two youngest models only. This would have avoided arousing controversy by omitting the fully nude figure of the sexually mature young woman. Flandrin may have chosen to use a young woman with the two girls precisely for the purpose of challenging the viewer.

Marcelin Flandrin – 11. Nu Académique Marocain (circa 1925)

Marcelin Flandrin – 20. Nu Académique Marocain (circa 1925)

Marcelin Flandrin – 18. Nu Académique Marocain (circa 1925)

Marcelin Flandrin – La Causette dans le Jardin de la Casbah (circa 1925)

Flandrin is considered to be an Orientalist photographer, but I don’t think that any of the five photos posted above are Orientalist. The following photo by Lehnert and Landrock, Deux Fillettes Nues, et un Garçonnet, is an example of an Orientalist contrivance. Note the Moorish arch, the decorative tiles on the wall, and the ceramic jugs that give the photo an exotic near-eastern flavor.

Lehnert and Landrock – Deux Fillettes Nues, et un Garçonnet (circa1910)

The following two photos are examples of Flandrin photos that are Orientalist. In these, he uses the model’s clothing and props to show that these photographs document a non-western culture. However, since there is no nudity in these photos, he does not use Orientalism as a contrivance to make nudity acceptable.

Marcelin Flandrin – Petite Kabyle Assise (circa 1925)

Marcelin Flandrin – Jeunes Filles Mauresques (circa 1925)

Look again at Les Trois Graces Africaines, Le Seigneur Passe !! , and 18. Nu Académique Marocain. There are no near-eastern props in these photos. Even the hoop earrings would fit in with the art deco styles popular in Europe and America at that time. I believe that Flandrin’s attitude toward nude photography was expressed in the caption for another of his postcards. This was a photo of three nude models appearing quite happy, over an old French proverb that, translated into English is: “Where there is embarrassment, there is no pleasure.” The models were not embarrassed and needed no contrivance to justify their nudity. Flandrin may have thought that the viewer should not need a contrivance either.

Three from Akos Kozari

Not much information exists on the web about Akos Kozari. What I know is that he’s a Hungarian photographer who specializes in images of nature and urban decay, and sometimes digitally enhanced scenes. Photos of people are rarer, but here are three with young girls in them. I really like the ones of the kids playing in the fountain.

Akos Kozari – Childhood Moments

Akos Kozari – The Nameless Child

Akos Kozari – Title Unknown (1)

Magdalenian Girls

Since Pigtails is the website for the study of girls in art, it is appropriate to include some very early examples. Girls have been a popular subject in art for a very long time.

During the Magdalenian period in Europe (approximately 17,000 BC to 10,000 BC) people lived primarily by hunting. They had no metal tools. It is believed that they lived in tents in the summer, that could be easily moved to follow the herds of game. In the harsh winters of the time, they lived in more substantial shelters or, where caves or rock shelters were available, used them during the winters. Many of their artifacts have been found in rock shelters (overhanging cliffs), and therefore the Magdalenian people have come to be called “cave men”. The cave men are often portrayed as dumb and sub-human. This is not true.

The Magdalenians were Homo sapiens, the same as modern people. A typical group of Magdalenian adults would not be intellectually inferior to a group of modern adults. In fact, there is reason to believe that the Magdalenian adults would be more intelligent than modern people; life was so difficult that those with subnormal intelligence were unlikely to survive to adulthood.

The Magdalenians developed art that reflected this high intellectual level. The cave art at places such as Lascaux in France, Altamira in Spain, and Cresswell in England prove that highly sophisticated art flourished in the Magdalenian period. Most of the cave art consists of paintings or drawings of animals. At Cresswell, however, there are drawings that have been interpreted as dancing girls or women. The drawings are abstract, and do not appear to be representations of the human form to me, but I am not an expert on the conventions of prehistoric art. Dr. Paul Pettit is an expert, and according to him, “I interpret at least two of those long-necked birds as women – possibly some ritual dance undertaken by females, and possibly in the cave itself.” The first illustration is one of the drawings to which Dr. Pettit refers.

Anonymous – Cresswell Drawing(circa 11,000 B.C.)

The next picture is my favorite example of Magdalenian art. It was found engraved on a rock in La Marche Cave, France, and dates from about 13,000 B.C. The figure wears the bulky clothing necessary for the cold climate of the era. When considered by itself, it may not be obvious if the figure is a girl, a boy, a woman, or a clean-shaven man. When we look at it together with other drawings from La Marche it is easier to interpret. There are drawings of people of both sexes, from a newborn with the umbilical cord still present to the elderly. The ratio of the size of the head to the size of the body indicate that this is a drawing of a juvenile. The dainty size of the feet and feminine features indicate that it is a girl.

The picture has a hurried quality, like a gesture drawing. Note that the legs seem to be double. Is that intentional, or did the artist, who could not erase his engraving, decide to slightly change the position of the legs? Is the girl wearing a cape? Does she have a rectangular object on her lap?

The last example is an ivory figure of a girl that has been named Venus Impudica or Vénus Impudique by modern archaeologists. It was found at Laugerie-Basse in France. It is a little over three inches tall, and is missing its head and feet. It was carved between 15,000 and 10,000 B.C. The breasts of the figure appear to be just beginning to develop, showing that it represents a girl rather than a woman. Venus Impudica is, in my opinion, cruder than the other examples of Magdalenian art in this post. Nevertheless, it has a certain charm about it. It is fascinating to think that it may have been a little girl’s doll. Perhaps a man long ago, with only a chip of flint for a knife, laboriously carved a doll for his beloved daughter. She probably loved her dolly as much as any modern girl loves her more sophisticated machine-made doll.

Anonymous – Venus Impudica(circa 15,000 B.C.-10,000 B.C.)

Two from Antonio Mancini

I plan to do the third post in my “Sublimated Sexuality in Modern Surrealist Girl Art” series soon, but until then I will put up a couple of quickies. These two paintings are by the Victorian/Edwardian-era Italian painter Antonio Mancini. You’d think that an artist once described by John Singer Sargent as the greatest living painter would be better known, but he is considered a minor painter by art historians, which is ironic because he often painted minors. Usually boys, but not always.

This first image is likely a boy (going by the hairstyle and the angularity of the child’s body, but it’s ambiguous enough that I decided to post it anyway. At any rate, I think it’s a nice piece regardless of the child’s gender. The pose is quite feminine, I think.

Edit: I’ve completely revised my position on this. I’m quite certain the child is, in fact, a girl, based on the hair and the pose. Mancini was too good a painter to have made a compositional mistake that would leave the child’s sex so ambiguous. The entire dark swath has to be hair. The front of her hair is oddly short, but I’ve seen hairstyles like that for girls in other Victorian-era works. Moreover, the pose is classically feminine. The biggest clue, however, is the rosary. A nude boy wearing jewelry, even religious jewelry, is pretty much unheard of. This is a girl. – Pip

Antonio Mancini – Young Antiquarian (1885)

The subject of this next work, however, is certainly a girl. I’ve always liked those wrap-around bracelets worn on the upper arm. It’s just a nicely exotic look.

Antonio Mancini – The Little Ballerina