Nancy Coonsman Hahn and Mrs. Kincaid’s Fountain

Nancy Coonsman was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1887. She studied art at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and finally as a student of Abastenia St. Leger Eberle in New York. When she married Emanual Hahn in 1918, she was one of the most celebrated sculptors in America. Her most prestigious works are the World War I memorials in Cheppy-Varennes-en-Argonne, France (1922) and Veterans Park in Memphis, Tennessee (1926).

Nancy Coonsman – Girls with Frogs (1915)

Earlier in her career she created some beautiful but less famous works, including a couple of fountains. She designed a fountain with cherubs for the Mullanphy Floral Shop in St. Louis, and another for Randolph Laughlin’s new home, “Lachlin,” (built 1907–1912). A little girl from St. Louis was the model for Randolph Laughlin’s fountain. I have not been able to find an image of either of these fountains.

Nancy Coonsman Hahn’s best-known fountain is the Margaret R. Kincaid Fountain in St. Louis, Missouri, dedicated in 1915. Margaret R. Kincaid made a bequest to the City of St. Louis to build a fountain in a public park in the city. Mrs. Kincaid stipulated that the artist designing the fountain must be a woman. A competition was held, and Nancy Coonsman won. Ms. Coonsman proposed the design shown in the first illustration. The two girls would have been surrounded by frogs, and water would have been sprayed from the frogs onto the girls. Wikipedia gives the date of Frogs and Girls as 1897. Apparently this date is given because the picture is from International Studio Magazine, which says on the cover that it was entered as second class matter with the post office in 1897. Nancy Coonsman was ten years old in 1897; the edition of International Studio Magazine with the photo is from about 1919.

Nancy Coonsman – Margaret R. Kincaid Fountain (1915)

Surprisingly, the proposed design resulted in considerable outrage. The Women’s Protective League and the local newspaper protested. The Union Trust Company, custodian of the bequest, rejected the design. The nudity was not acceptable. Coonsman was irritated at having to make a new design for the fountain. I would have thought that after the uproar over her original design, the new fountain would be designed without nudity. Coonsman felt otherwise, and submitted the design shown in the second photo, with naked children dancing around the fountain. Perhaps because the children were younger, perhaps because they were in bas-relief, or maybe for another reason, the second design was approved.

The city and the Union Trust Company should have expected nudity; why were they shocked by the first design? I don’t know if there were any nude figures in the other two Coonsman fountains in the St. Louis area, but one featured cherubs, who are conventionally portrayed nude. Other great sculptors of the time were creating fountains with nude young girls, including Water Lily (c1913) by Bessie Potter Vonnoh, Seaweed Fountain (1914) by Janet Scudder, and At Water’s Edge (1914) by Edward Berge. It seems that people sponsoring a competition for sculptors should be familiar with what sculptors are doing.

What if these people with the task of approving the design were not familiar with the world of art? This contest happened in 1915, the year of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, which made nude sculptures familiar to everyone who read the newspaper. Many of the Panama-Pacific statues (three-fifths according to the Richmond [Virginia] Times-Dispatch) were modeled by America’s first supermodel, Audrey Munson. In addition to being an artist’s model in real life, she played the part of an sculptor’s model in the movie Inspiration, which was one of two movies with nudity released in 1915. No copy of the movie is known to exist today, but we know from reviews that there were explicit nude scenes in Inspiration. Local news around the nation reported the controversy about whether the movie should be shown in their city, and which if any scenes should be cut. Even somebody who followed only the local news in 1915 should have been well aware that sculptors used nude models. My reason for mentioning these things is to show that everybody should have expected nudity in the fountain design in 1915. If they didn’t want it, they should have told Nancy Coonsman up front instead of making her redesign it.

Note the concrete bench in the background of the approved fountain, The bench, with the little elves sitting beneath it, was also designed by Coonsman.

Girls of the Naga Hills

The Naga Hills of northeastern India and adjacent parts of Myanmar (Burma) are the home of several ethnic groups that collectively call themselves Naga. Pigtails has published several articles on ethnographic photos and ethnographic contrivances, and such photos are fairly common from the Americas, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific. Not as many are found from east Asia, perhaps because girls in that region are usually clothed as completely as girls in the Western world. Naga girls were an exception. Several ethnologists have published works on the Naga people. At least two of them, Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf and John Henry Hutton, have photographed quite a few posed portraits of girls.

Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf – Two Girls Standing in front of a House (1936-37)

Of the twelve photos in this article, eleven are by Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf and only one was taken by John Henry Hutton. The reason is that the best quality photographs that I could find are those of von Fürer-Haimendorf. Von Fürer-Haimendorf first visited the Naga in 1936; his last expedition to the Naga Hills was in 1970. He took over 10,000 photographs, many of which are online at University of London SOAS.

Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf – Two Small Girls on a Platform (1936-37)

John Henry Hutton documented the lives of the Naga in the 1913 to 1928 period. Neither he nor von Fürer-Haimendorf were artists in the strictest sense, but both seemed to try to pose models for an aesthetically pleasing photograph. Judged by their artistic merit, I believe that Hutton’s photos are at least equal and probably superior to von Fürer-Haimendorf’s. Unfortunately, the Hutton photographs available at the University of Cambridge Digital Himalaya project are low quality.

Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf – Procession of Girls Carrying Wood (1936-37)

Two Girls Standing in front of a House is the first photo in this article. Note that the most necessary adornment for the prepubescent girl consists of necklaces and earrings. Postpubescent females, like the one on the left, almost always wear at least a skirt in Naga photos I have seen. Von Fürer-Haimendorf posed his models well; I like the contrast between the folded arms of the woman and the elbows out posture of the girl. I think it would have been better if he had not cropped the photo at the ankles; it makes it look like their feet were cut off.

Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf – Two Girls, One with Curly Hair (1936-37)

Two Small Girls on a Platform also has a problem with cropping. The girl on the left has the top of her head cut off. Other than that, it is a very nice picture. I like the expression of the girl on the left; it looks like she is trying not to laugh. There are some small black dots on the right side of this photo as it appears at University of London SOAS. Although both girls are quite young, one is fully clothed. The photos I have seen indicate that as a general rule children go naked and adults are clothed, but there are exceptions to that rule.

Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf – Naked Young Girl with Necklace (1936-37)

Procession of Girls Carrying Wood is, in my opinion, a well composed picture. If a painter were to copy one of the photos in this article, Procession of Girls Carrying Wood might be his best choice. They are carrying a lot of wood, but do not appear to be overburdened. The girl on the left wears a very small skirt. These minimal skirts are common in photos of young women and teenage girls.

Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf – Untitled (1936-37)

Naga people usually have straight hair. When von Fürer-Haimendorf found an individual with curly hair, he found it to be noteworthy. He found three curly-haired Nagas, two men and one girl, whom he photographed. Photos of the men are both head and shoulders portraits, while the picture of the girl is full length. Both girls in Two Girls, One with Curly Hair are at the age when girls are most often depicted wearing skirts, but only one has a skirt in this photo. It’s a good image, even though the subjects are poorly centered.

J.H. Hutton – Untitled (1913-28)

Young girl with Necklace is a simple yet pleasing photo. It is well-centered and well-cropped. However, the image is appealing more for the beauty of the model than the skill of the photographer.

Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf – Row of Girls Dancing in Festive Attire on a Platform (1936-37)

The next photo is the only image by von Fürer-Haimendorf that is untitled, and the only one of his in this article that is from University of Cambridge Digital Himalaya project. Like the previous photo, it is well-centered and well-cropped. I find the pensive attitude of the model intriguing.

Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf – Three Little Girls (1936-37)

The next photo, by J. H. Hutton, is also from University of Cambridge Digital Himalaya project. The style is much like von Fürer-Haimendorf’s, even the cropping off of the girls’ feet.

Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf – Small Girl with Bamboo Fibres in Her Hand (1936-37)

Row of Girls Dancing in Festive Attire on a Platform is another example of von Fürer-Haimendorf’s method of centering his subject. There is plenty of empty space on the left, but the dancer on the right is only half visible in the image. The dancers wear “festive attire”, and are therefore more dressed than most other girls in these images. The robes of the girls on the right are open, and it appears that their fancy dress is for ornamentation rather than concealment.

Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf – Three small girls on a platform (1936-37)

The last four photos are of younger girls. That last is one of von Fürer-Haimendorf’s few color photographs. Note that the middle girl in Three Little Girls wears only earrings. Maybe she is not as rich as the other girls who have necklaces, or maybe it is just because she is younger. Little Naga girls have short hair, while the older girls wear their hair longer.

Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf – Little Girl – Colour Photograph (1936-37)

Manon Gropius, the Muse

The Wikipedia entry for Manon Gropius lists her occupation as “muse”. It was not an occupation for which she was paid, but she did inspire works of music, literature, and sculpture.

Anonymous – Manon Gropius as a Baby (1917)

Alma Manon Anna Justina Carolina Gropius (nickname Mutzi) was born in Vienna, Austria in 1916. She was the daughter of Walter Gropius and  Alma Schindler Mahler Gropius. Manon’s father, Walter Gropius, was one of the outstanding architects of the 20th century, and the founder of the Bauhaus school of art. Manon’s mother, Alma Gropius, was a composer, diarist, and socialite. Alma Gropius was an attractive woman known for a scandalous life of adulterous affairs and multiple divorces. Alma began an affair with poet Franz Werfel in 1917. Werfel was the father figure during Manon’s childhood.

Anonymous – Manon Gropius, Anna Mahler on Right, and Two Others (1917)

Manon’s parents separated when Manon was two years old. Her early childhood was spent traveling between her mother’s three homes, two in Austria and one in Italy. She was short-tempered as a young child. At age five Manon decided that she wanted to be an actress, and that was her goal for the rest of her life. Alma was quite proud of her daughter Manon’s beauty, and she allowed Manon to go naked as much as possible.

Anonymous – Manon, Grandmother Anna Sophie Moll, Sister Anna Mahler in Venice (1922)

Manon mellowed as she entered puberty. She developed an interest in religion. Although she had been baptized as a Protestant, Manon felt that the Catholic concept of spirituality was more compatible with her. In 1932 she converted to Catholicism. Manon’s kindness, innocence, and beauty made a deep impression on people. The author Elias Canetti described 16-year old Manon as “an angelic gazelle”.

Anonymous – Manon Gropius Naked (c1923)

Canetti considered Manon to be the opposite of her mother Alma. Alma, in Canetti’s opinion, viewed Manon as just another trophy of which to boast; like Alma’s expensive possessions, and the many men with whom she slept. As Alma aged her ability to manipulate men with her beauty waned. Alma apparently hoped to continue to manipulate men, at least vicariously, through her beautiful daughter Manon. Manon, however, was developing into a very gentle, non-manipulative young lady.

Anonymous – Manon, Franz-Werfel, Alma Werfel in Venice (1924)

Franz Werfel seems to have had a deep platonic love and respect for his stepdaughter Manon. He compared her to saints, especially to St. Francis of Assisi, the patron of animals. This was because Manon had a remarkable affection for animals. Manon loved animals, and animals loved her. It is normal for a girl to love her pet cat, as Manon did, but Manon’s empathy with animals extended much farther. Domestic dogs and cats that did not know Manon would follow her. She could approach wild animals that normally fear people. Her affection was not only for cute animals like dogs and cats, but even included snakes.

Anonymous – Walter Gropius and his Daughter Manon Gropius at Dessau (1927)

In the spring of 1934 Manon caught polio in Venice, Italy. She started to recover to an extent, but other complications arose, and she was in poor health for the rest of her short life. She died a year later on Easter Monday 1935. She was eighteen.

Anonymous – Manon Gropius and her Cat (1932)

Franz Werfel and composer Alban Berg were both at Manon’s funeral, and both vowed to memorialize her in art. Berg had been working on an opera at the time of Manon’s death. He quit working on the opera and switched to composing a violin concerto in memory of Manon. He completed the concerto Dem Andenken eines Engels (In Memory of an Angel) before he died on Christmas Eve, 1935. Critics of classical music consider Berg to be one of the great composers of the 20th century, and Dem Andenken eines Engels is considered to be his greatest work. An article in Pigtails about Gilbert O’Sullivan’s muse Clair Mills provoked controversy due to differing interpretations of the lyrics expressing love for Clair. Dem Andenken eines Engels uses programmatics in the music, rather than lyrics, to express love for Manon, and has not aroused any controversy of which I am aware.

Anonymous – Manon Gropius on a CD Cover for Berg’s Violin Concerto (no date)

Werfel took longer to write his novel as a tribute to Manon. In 1935 he planned a novel about a fictional 17th century saint, but it was still only a plan in 1940. By that time Europe was at war, and Werfel was among the refugees fleeing to neutral Spain. On the journey to Spain he stopped at the French village of Lourdes. There he heard the story of the teenage girl, St. Bernadette Soubirous, who in 1858 encountered the Virgin Mary at a grotto near the village. Werfel changed his plan from a novel about a fictional saint to a novel about a real saint, and completed writing Das Lied von Bernadette in 1941. Das Lied von Bernadette is what we would now call a historical narrative; the main events and characters are real, but details and conversations have been added to give the characters a personality and make them seem alive to the reader. The personality given to St. Bernadette is that of Manon Gropius. Das Lied von Bernadette was translated into English as Song of Bernadette in 1942, and was number one on the New York Times best seller list for thirteen weeks. Song of Bernadette was released as a movie in 1943.

Manon Gropius has also been memorialized in literature in the Nobel Prize winning memoirs of Elias Canetti. Canetti devotes two chapters of his memoirs to Manon. Manon’s World : A Hauntology of a Daughter in the Triangle of Alma Mahler, Walter Gropius and Franz Werfel by James Reidel (2021) is another novel about Manon Gropius.

Manon’s half sister Anna Mahler sculpted a statue of a young woman holding an hourglass for Manon’s gravestone. This statue was destroyed by bombing during the war, before it was ready to be placed on Manon’s grave.  After the war Manon’s father, Walter Gropius, designed the Bauhaus style marker currently on Manon’s grave.

Slavica Janešlieva’s Cut-Out Paper Pioneer Doll Kit

Slavica Janešlieva was born in 1973 in Skopje, which was then in the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, one of six republics that were united in Yugoslavia. Skopje is now in the independent Republic of North Macedonia. In 1998 Janešlieva earned a master’s degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Skopje. In 2011 she became a professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts, at the University of St. Cyril and Methodius. Her art has been displayed in exhibitions and museums around the world.

Slavica Janešlieva – Cut-Out Paper Pioneer Doll Kit (2006)

Slavica Janešlieva spent her childhood in a relatively stable, though authoritarian country. The government of Yugoslavia tried to encourage the people to accept diversity. Even though the Yugoslav ethnicities had traditionally been enemies, it was hoped they could learn to live and work together in harmony. During the Cold War, Yugoslavia was not aligned with either NATO or the Warsaw Pact. As a result, both the United States and the Soviet Union sought the friendship of Yugoslavia. In the 1990s, the dream of different peoples living together in a peaceful stable country came to an end.

Anonymous – Slavica Janešlieva as a Child – (circa1983)

I believe that to understand Cut-Out Paper Pioneer Doll Kit it is necessary to know some of this background information about the artist’s country. Yugoslav Macedonia was part of Yugoslavia until 1991. From 1991 through 2019 Skopje was in the Republic of Macedonia. Greece objected to the name, because a region in Greece is also called Macedonia. The name was changed in 2019 to the Republic of North Macedonia. The country could accurately be called West Bulgaria, because the ethnic Macedonians are Bulgarian. They may not have wanted to name their country West Bulgaria out of concern that Bulgaria would object or try to annex the country (which they did during World War II). Albanians are the second largest ethnic group in North Macedonia; there is antagonism between ethnic Macedonians and ethnic Albanians.

Perhaps Janešlieva has some nostalgia for the old Yugoslavia. Note the Pioneer Pledge to “love and cherish our homeland ‘my MBC’ and all its nationalities and ethnic groups.” Note also that the map of the Make Believe Country is a map of the former Yugoslavia. The doll’s nudity implies a vulnerability. A real paper doll has clothing that can be cut out to fit on the doll. In this work, the blouse, pantyhose, and shoes could not fit the doll.

Cut-Out Paper Pioneer Doll Kit was exhibited at the Bitola Museum in Bitola, North Macedonia in 2015. It was part of the “In-First-Person” exhibit for self portraits of contemporary Macedonian artists. I don’t know if the girl is really from a childhood photo of Slavica Janešlieva. Here in the USA most people don’t have nude photos of themselves as children. It may be different in North Macedonia.

Barbara Bradley, Queen of the Perkies and Cuties

Barbara Bradley was one of the most popular illustrators of the 20th century, but her name is not well-known by the general public. Artists recognize her as one of their profession’s greatest. She was born in 1927 and developed an interest in drawing while still a child. In a 2008 interview for femaleillustrators.blogspot she said that she was influenced by comic artists Hal Foster and Milton Caniff. She drew the illustrations for her high school yearbook. After high school she attended college for seven years, but did not get a degree. Later she was awarded an honorary doctorate.

Barbara Bradley – Polly Pigtails (1951 – 1957)

In the early 1950s she was working as a professional illustrator. Bradley was well-known for her illustrations in Polly Pigtails’ Magazine for Girls. Below are three of Barbara’s illustrations featuring Polly Pigtails and her dog. She said that the dog was one of her best models.

Barbara Bradley – Polly Pigtails (1953)

Barbara Bradley – Polly Pigtails (1950s)

Bradley also worked for the Merrill Publishing Company. Four of her cover illustrations for Merrill children’s books are shown below. The books were for both boys and girls, and so a typical cover illustration included children of both sexes. However, Bradley’s main interest throughout her career was to draw girls. Barbara Bradley referred to herself as “Queen of the Perkies and Cuties”.

Barbara Bradley – Read Write Count Color (circa 1950s)

Barbara Bradley – Busy as a Bee (circa 1950s)

Barbara Bradley – Sound and Say (circa 1950s)

Barbara Bradley – Bobby and Betsy’s Easy Coloring (circa 1950s)

Advertising illustrations were another important part of Barbara’s work. Below are two of her advertising drawings. The Carter’s ad has a boy, a girl, and a dog. Note how often Bradley has animals in her drawings. The other illustration is for a Dole’s Pineapple advertisement. The style is entirely different than her other drawings, proving Bradley to be a very versatile artist.

Barbara Bradley – Carter’s Advertisement (circa 1950s)

Barbara Bradley – Dole Pineapple Hawaiian Kids (circa 1970)

Barbara Bradley – Two Girls (date unkown)

Barbara Bradley – Two Girls and Two Boys (date unkown)

The next two illustrations show a helpful sister, and girls getting attention from boys. I thought these illustrations were particularly effective in evoking a mood. The last picture is the cover of her book, Drawing People. This book has been acclaimed by artists as one of the best instruction manuals for drawing the clothed figure. When Bradley began the book she went at it as a perfectionist. Then her granddaughter was born, and the book occupied a much lower priority. Her book was published in 2003, and Barbara passed away five years later.

Barbara Bradley – Drawing People Cover(2003)

Františka Drtikol

Czechs seem to have a knack for photography. Rudolf Franz Lehnert and Jan Saudek have already been featured in Pigtails. Josef Větrovský may be the subject of a later article in Pigtails. These are not all of the famous Czech photographers, but they are some that included young girls in their work. For a country with a current population a little over 10 million, this is a remarkable concentration of photographic talent. This article is about some young girl photographs of the Czech photographer Františka Drtikol.

Františka Drtikol – Ervínka (no date)

Františka Drtikol was born in 1883. He studied photography in Munich as a teenager, and in 1901, at age 18, he opened his own studio in his native town of Pribram. In 1907 he moved to Prague. Drtikol began his career in the Art Nouveau style, and was an early advocate of Art Deco. Much of his work was of portraits and female nudes. Drtikol was an active photographer until 1935, when he abandoned photography for painting and study of Buddhist philosophy. Drtikol died in 1961.

Františka Drtikol – Ervínka Standing (1928)

Františka Drtikol’s daughter Ervínka was the model for some of his most expressive portraits. The first portrait of Ervínka is not dated, but was probably photographed about the same time as the next two, which are dated 1928. The fourth photo is titled Malá Ervínka (Little Ervínka), and appears to have been taken several years earlier. The fifth is a photo of Ervínka in an Art Nouveau style costume. It is titled Dcera Ervínka v Otcově Ateliéru (Daughter Ervínka in her Father’s Studio).

Františka Drtikol – Ervínka Sitting (1928)

Františka Drtikol – Malá Ervínka (no date)

The first nude of Ervínka Drtikol has a title that translates as Ervínka with Cubist Decorations. Františka Drtikol was into most of the avant-garde art movements, including cubism. The following photo is a New Year’s card and the title translates to Nude – Happy New Year.

Františka Drtikol – Dcera Ervínka v Otcově Ateliéru (no date)

Františka Drtikol – Ervínka s Kubistickými Dekoracemi (no date)

The last two photos in this article are an untitled nude, and one simply titled Nude Girl.

Františka Drtikol – Akt – Šťastný Nový rok (no date)

Františka Drtikol – Untitled (no date)

Františka Drtikol – Nude Girl (1928)

Christiane Vleugels

Christiane Vleugels is an extrodinarily talented Belgian painter. She started painting at age 12, and was a professional at 17. Early in her art career, Vleugels had to devote herself to painting commissions to earn a living. This included a government commission to paint portraits of Belgian King Boudewijn and Queen Fabiola. Vleugels looks back on this as a tiresome but necessary period during which she improved her painting technique. She was then prepared to tackle more creative works of art.

Now that she was free to follow her passion, Vleugels said, “Each new painting unveils a certain aspect and makes it clear to me that I have chosen the right path in life. The sole purpose of my work is to tempt people to dream”. Her paintings are so realistic that it would be easy to mistake them for photographs, were it not for the fact that she is able to compose scenes that do not occur in reality. She certainly achieves her goal of tempting people to dream.

Christiane Vleugels – Raipun (2006)

The first Vleugels painting posted here is titled Raipun. This is the name Christiane Vleugels uses on the DeviantArt site. On that site, the artist states this painting is very dear to her. There is something about this painting that I also like a lot. The girl, the canyon, and the flower are rendered in a realistic manner, but they combine to make a scene from fantasy. In the lower right, the natural wall of the canyon morphs into an artificial pavement. What does the artist want to communicate by this?

Christiane Vleugels – Luna (2008)

Luna is the next painting. It appears to illustrate the old story, often told to children deemed too young to learn about sex, that babies are found under cabbage leaves.

Christiane Vleugels – God’s Creation (2007)

The painting titled God’s Creation on DeviantArt bears the title God’s Gift on another site. I have used the DeviantArt title. Also, all of the dates in the captions are the dates the painting was posted on DeviantArt. Note that there is a galaxy in the angel’s wing.

Christiane Vleugels – Forgotten Tunes (2009)

Vleugels wrote, concerning Forgotten Tunes, “With this painting I am refering to the Tale of ‘The Ratcatcher of Hamelen.’…But, even though some heartfelth music gets to be forgotten, doesn’t mean it looses its magic!” Robert Browning wrote a poem based on the tale, and as a result it is better known to English speakers as The Pied Piper. Vleugels wrote, “I used my daughters face for this portrait to give it a more personal touch.”

Christiane Vleugels – Forever Moments (not dated)

I found Forever Moments on another art site, unfortunately without a date or comment by the artist. It is an intriguing composition. The boy and the girl are together in the painting, but appear to pay no attention to each other. Note the lines that seem to me to indicate wind, yet the wind does not disturb the children’s hair. The heads of the two children are at the same angle, but the boy’s faces up and the girl’s faces down.

Christiane Vleugels – Caroussel (2010)

Caroussel is another portrait of the artist’s daughter. Christiane Vleugels had a problem with Caroussel because she originally painted it in shades of gray. She then added layers of color by glazing, but it didn’t look right. She said, “No worries, exept for the fact that I had to repaint the whole skintone. It worked out allright in the end, but the vintage effect that I was aming for, went lost in the whole process of repainting. Still, a nice result, even if not spectacular. I hope you will enjoy!” I think the result is spectacular; perhaps Vleugels was being modest.

Christiane Vleugels – Timeless (2006)

Timeless, a portrait of the artist’s youngest daughter, is the last painting posted here. Most of the subjects in Vleugels’ paintings are adults, and the relatively few children are often her own. Vleugels wrote, ” You are wondering where I get my inspiration? Well, I am lucky to have been blessed with a wonderful family and lots of amazing friends!!! ”

Christiane Vleugels’ webpage can be found here. She is also on Facebook and DeviantArt.

Ida Chagall, Child Model

I found this photograph of Ida Chagall and her father in the book Art History of Photography by Volker Kahmen (1974). Kahmen identified the photo as Marc Chagall with his young daughter, circa 1925, photographed by P. Barchan. The source of the photo was Querschnitt (11, 1926). Querschnitt was a German art periodical, very prestigious in the 1920s.

Pawel Barchan – Marc Chagall With His Young Daughter (c1925)

The composition of this image intrigued me. Ida (the girl) appears to be relaxed and gazing calmly at the camera. Marc appears to be in a contrived pose, staring at something above the camera. Marc is well dressed, while Ida wears only ballet slippers. What was the photographer trying to convey to the viewer? Does the fact that the girl wears ballet slippers indicate that this photo may be part of a series, and there may be more photos with Ida dancing? I decided it would be worthwhile to try to find more photos by P. Barchan that might be of interest to Pigtails fans, and write an article about him. Unfortunately, I could find few more Barchan photos, and none that would be on topic for Pigtails. Therefore, this article will focus on the model instead of the photographer, but first a little information about Barchan will be offered.

Marc Chagall – Bathing a Baby (1916)

Pawel Barchan was the professional name used by Pavel Abramovich Barckhan (1876–1942). He was born in Poland when it was part of the Russian Empire. In 1908 he moved to Berlin, and was a well-known member of the artistic community there. Barchan was a man of many talents: a writer, art critic, journalist, translator and photographer. He assisted the Russian Ballet in Berlin in the early 1920s. Did he give Ida her ballet slippers? In about 1912 Barchan opened a photography studio. He made portraits of celebrities including painter Marc Chagall, and Chagall made paintings of Barchan. In 1942, while living in France, Pawel Barchan was arrested, sent to Auschwitz, and killed. His property, including photographs, was seized and presumably destroyed.

Anonymous – Marc Chagall With His Wife and Daughter (c1917)

Marc Chagall was born in Belarus, then part of the Russian Empire, in 1887. He became a painter and developed a unique style of vivid colors and semi-abstract imagery. Chagall is known primarily as the quintessential Jewish artist. One critic joked that everybody Chagall paints looks Jewish. He wrote in his autobiography that he wanted to document the disappearing traditions of Jewish life. Chagall’s art, however, transcends any one religion and celebrates humanity in general. Several of his religious paintings have Christian themes, and he designed the stained-glass windows for the Christian cathedrals at Reims and Metz.

Marc Chagall – Ida at the Window (1924)

Marc Chagall’s only child, his beloved daughter Ida, was born in 1916. Ida started modeling for her father as an infant, as shown in the painting Bathing a Baby. When Ida was about eight years old, she was painted in Ida at the Window. She was around nine or ten when photographed by Pawel Barchan. An anonymous photograph of Ida, about twelve, with her father was published in Literarisze Bleter  no. 41 October 12, 1928.

Anonymous – Marc Chagall with his Daughter Ida (1928)

In 1940 the Chagalls were living in France. In addition to being a Jew, Chagall had been officially designated as a “degenerate artist”, and he was not a native Frenchman. Ida encouraged her father to leave Europe soon. Marc Chagall and his wife were arrested in April 1941. In the following month, the American Vice-Consul in Marseilles was able to get them released and gave them forged visas so they could come to America. Before leaving Europe, Chagall packed his paintings and had them shipped to the USA. The paintings were impounded in Spain, and may have been destroyed had it not been for Ida, who had remained behind with her husband. She worked to get the paintings released, then she also fled to America.

Marc Chagall died in 1985 at age 97; Ida died in 1994 at age 78.

Glenna Goodacre’s Girls

Glenna Maxey Goodacre (born in 1939) is most famous for her design of the Sacagawea dollar coin and the Vietnam War Women’s Memorial. Goodacre was born in Texas and moved to New Mexico in 1983. Her sculpture is notable for its celebration of the American West, American Indians, and patriotism. Goodacre retired from sculpting in 2016 and died in 2020. She created many sculptures of children, especially girls. Thirteen of her works featuring girls are included in this post.

Glenna Goodacre – The Runner in Kettering Ohio (1997).jpg

The Runner is on public display in at least three places: Lincoln Park in Kettering, Ohio, Texas Tech University in Goodacre’s native city of Lubbock, Texas, and the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. The statue is life-size.

Glenna Goodacre – The Runner in Lubbock Texas (1997)

Goodacre’s most famous Indian sculpture is the Sacagawea dollar that went into circulation in the year 2000. Although it has two youthful portraits, Sacagawea was modeled by a college student, and the infant represents a boy. The dollar would not be on topic for Pigtails, but several other Goodacre Indian sculptures are. The two shown below are Little Sister and 3rd Generation. The title for 3rd Generation is enigmatic; I have not been able to discover what it means.

Glenna Goodacre – Little Sister (1978)

Glenna Goodacre – 3rd Generation (1995)

Pledge Allegiance is one of the artist’s most popular works. It is on public display in at least ten cities in the United States. Children depicted in the statue group include both girls and boys.

Glenna Goodacre – Pledge Allegiance in Milwaukee Wisconsin (1991)

Glenna Goodacre – Pledge Allegiance in Holland Michigan (1991)

Below are two more groupings that contain both girls and boys. The first is titled Facts of Life. For those Pigtails readers whose native language is not English, I should explain that in the USA, the phrase “facts of life” is a euphemism for information about sex. This assemblage has one boy with crossed arms and crossed legs. On each side of the boy is a girl in a more open posture. The children are discussing something, and the title implies they may be talking about their newly developing sexuality. Nevertheless, there is nothing overtly sexual about this work; the children appear to be innocent friends.

Glenna Goodacre – Facts of Life (1997)

It is interesting to consider how the Facts of Life would be viewed if the sexes were reversed. What if the child with the crossed limbs was a girl surrounded by two boys in a sculpture titled Facts of Life? It might appear that the boys were behaving aggressively toward the girl. Girls, however, are traditionally seen as nonaggressive, and Goodacre tends to use traditional sex roles in her art. This is especially apparent in what is to me Goodacre’s most powerful and moving work; the Vietnam War Women’s Memorial. The women are shown as heroic for healing wounds, rather than for inflicting them.

Glenna Goodacre – Tug Of War (1987)

Traditional sex attributes figure in the next work, Tug of War. Boys are considered to be physically stronger than girls. Therefore, to make the contest fair, there are three girls against two boys. Goodacre’s art is uplifting in its portrayal of the good in people. Her children always play fair.

Glenna Goodacre – Mother and Daughter (1998)

Children are good and parents are loving, as shown in the next statue group titled Mother and Daughter.

Glenna Goodacre – Sweet Sue (1985)

The next three sculptures are full length statues of girls, without adults or boys. Goodacre was very good at portraying all ages and sexes, but her girls are especially charming.

Glenna Goodacre – Ballerinas (date unknown)

Glenna Goodacre – Star (date unknown)

She sculpted facial portraits as well as full figures. The next two are portraits of girls I think are particularly expressive.

Glenna Goodacre – Amelia (date unknown)

Glenna Goodacre – Uhoh (date unknown)

Goodacre specialized in the clothed figure, but she also did a few nudes. In researching this article, all of the Goodacre nudes I found were female, and all but one were adult women. The one exception is April, which is shown below.

Glenna Goodacre – April in Kansas City Missouri (1973)

Glenna Goodacre – April (1973)

Gottfried Lindauer’s Maori Girl and the Tohunga

When I was looking for artwork for the Polynesian post, I found relatively few examples of girl art from the largest Polynesian islands, New Zealand. It was only recently I became aware of the work of Gottfried Lindauer.

Gottfried Lindauer – Tohunga under Tapu (circa1900)

Lindauer was born in Plzeň (Pilsen), in what is now the Czech Republic. He studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and became a successful professional artist. In 1874 he emigrated to New Zealand to avoid the military draft. Lindauer came to admire the Maori culture; he specialized in painting the Maori. His life-size portraits of Maori chiefs are perhaps his best known works.

Tohunga under Tapu illustrates an incident described in the book Māori Biographies: Sketches of Old New Zealand by James Cowan and Gottfried Lindauer (1901). A tohunga is a Maori medicine man. The Maori considered the remains of the dead to be “tapu”, that is sacred and forbidden. When the tohunga, in the course of his religious duties, came in contact with the remains, he also became tapu for a time. While under the tapu, he could not touch food with his hands.

The tohunga had to eat as shown in the painting. Māori Biographies states that, “A little girl, quite naked, so that her garments may not be infected with the dangerous tapu, has brought the old man his food, a plaited flax kono or basket full of potatoes, and is half-fearfully feeding him with the boiled taewa stuck on the end of a long fern-stalk.”

The painting is now exhibited in Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Auckland, New Zealand.