Girls of Oceania Part 2: Melanesia and Micronesia

(Last Updated On April 16, 2021)

Melanesia is by far the part of Oceania with the most land area. The island of New Guinea has more than twice as much land as Polynesia and Micronesia combined. It is also the earliest inhabited part of Oceania. If you look at a map, it will not be obvious why Melanesia is considered to be part of Oceania. On the map, a swarm of large islands, close together, extends from the Malay Peninsula to the Fiji Islands.

The islands from New Guinea to Fiji are considered to be Melanesia, and the islands west of New Guinea are said to be part of Asia. The reason for dividing Melanesia from Asia at New Guinea is that the people who inhabit the islands west of New Guinea are of the same race as the Malay people on the Asian mainland. From New Guinea east to Fiji the people are of a Black race with an appearance similar to the people of Africa. Melanesia is big enough and old enough to have a rich diversity of cultures, and most of the images of Melanesia in this post are from ethnographic works.

An ethnographic contrivance by Francis Barton, along with some information about the photographer, was posted in Pigtails in Paint here.  Another of Captain Barton’s photographs is shown below. It was published in the book Melanesians of British New Guinea by Charles Seligman. The purpose of the photograph is to show the tattoo patterns of the girl’s tribe.

Francis Rickman Barton – Tattooed Girl (1904-1910)

J. G. Pasteur was another photographer who documented the life on New Guinea in about the time of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Pasteur sent the negatives of his work to Europe, and his friend C. H. Stratz published the photos in his books after Pasteur’s death. The Stratz books are not art books, but the photos definitely have an artistic composition. Stratz wrote in Naturgeschichte des Menschen that J. G. Pasteur created the most beautiful and artistically perfect Papua pictures (Papua is another name for New Guinea). Although Naturgeschichte des Menschen is a scientific book, Stratz was clearly interested in the artistic value of the photographs.

J.G. Pasteur – Papuamädchen von Acht bis Zehn Jahren (circa 1900)

J.G. Pasteur – Papuamädchen von Etwa Zehn Jahren (circa1900)

J.G. Pasteur – Mädchen von Vierzehn Jahren aus Taubadji (circa1900)

The next two Melanesian photos are anonymous images from the Solomon Islands and New Britain Island. The picture of the Solomon Islands girl with the wide smile and flowers in her hair is particularly evocative of a happy childhood. The New Britain girl appears more somber. She was probably posed that way by an ethnologist to demonstrate the musical instrument of her tribe.

Anonymous – Solomon Island Girl (circa1920)

Museum für Völkerkunde, Dresden – A Girl from Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain, Playing on Pongolo (before 1930)

The next photograph is from the collection of the American physician Sylvester M. Lambert. Lambert spent twenty years in the Pacific islands as a doctor for the Rockefeller Foundation’s International Health Board. During that time he took many photographs that document the life of the island people. His photos have the appearance of an amateur snapshot. This is a photo of Melanesian women and girls. One source says the photo was taken on Santa Ana Island, while another says that it is from Santa Catalina Island. Santa Ana (Owaraha) and Santa Catalina (Owariki) are both in the Solomon Islands, and are separated by less than two miles of water.

S. M. Lambert – Women and Girls on Santa Ana (1919–1939)

Note that all of the Melanesian photos shown so far were taken before 1940, and that the girls in the photos have no clothing. The idea that nudity is obscene, although common in Western culture, is not universally held. There are two interesting maps in Die Frauenkleidung und ihre natürliche Entwicklung by C. H. Stratz that show where women routinely went nude in the years 1500 and 1900. This area seems to be most of the tropics in 1500, and a much smaller but still significant area, including part of Melanesia, in 1900. (I think he underestimated the area in South America in 1900.) There is still at least one area in Melanesia where nudity is common today. On the Melanesian island of Malaita, it is customary in some communities for only men, boys, and married women to wear clothes, while girls and young unmarried women go naked. Most of Melanesia has adopted western or at least semi-western modes of dress today. This is shown on the last two images from Melanesia. Both are from the Melanesian Women Today web page.

Melanesian Women Today – Solomon Scholarships (circa2020)

Melanesian Women Today – Takuu (circa2020)

In Micronesia, many people wore clothing, even if only grass skirts, before they adopted western style dress. The next two photographs are of girls on the Micronesian island of Nauru. Nauru is now an independent state, and with a land area of about eight square miles is one of the smallest sovereign states.

Anonymous – Nauru Girls (circa 1920)

Australian War Memorial – Private Corfield with a Young Nauruan Girl (1945)

Micronesian people are related to Polynesians. They are descended from the same group of migrants that left Taiwan in ancient times and went to Indonesia. Some of those people went north to Micronesia while the rest went east to Polynesia. The Micronesian population was later augmented with more migrants from Polynesia and from The Philippines.

Yap is a very traditional Micronesian island, where the old-fashioned grass skirts are still worn for special occasions. The next image is a vintage postcard from Yap showing a girl, a man, and one of the stone wheels that are highly valued by the people on Yap. Following that is a photo taken by an Australian woman and posted on her Lozinyap blog. The two girls were celebrating Yap Day in 2015.

Anonymous – Girl and Man on Yap (circa1940)

Lozinyap – Yapday Girls (2015)

Guam is the biggest and most cosmopolitan island in Micronesia. Gerard Aflague is a Chamorro, an indigenous person of Guam, and an illustrator of children’s books. He has illustrated, and written several books with Christian religious, educational, and Pacific Island themes. His wife is also a writer. He seems to be very proud of his Chamorro heritage, and the first image is the cover of a book written in both Chamorro and English. He has also written and illustrated bilingual books in English and other Pacific island languages.

Gerard Aflague – Cover of Head Shoulders Knees and Toes (2017)

Gerard Aflague – Cover of Little Chamorrita Did I Tell You (2014)

Robert Hunter is a painter living in the Northern Mariana Islands. He has a great deal of experience as a commercial and fine artist, having worked as an artist for the United States Postal Service, the Red Cross and others. Much of his art revolves around Micronesian life and legends. The first painting by Robert Hunter, Things Lost, Things Found , depicts a young girl and a nautilus shell on the beach. The second painting, Piggyback, shows a girl carrying another child.

Robert Hunter – Things Lost, Things Found (2010)

Robert Hunter – Piggyback (2011)

Most of Micronesia consists of U.S. territories or independent states in free association with the United States. The free association status, among other things, makes it easy for the Micronesians to enter the United States. Many people from Chuuk (formerly Truk) have settled in Milan, Minnesota. The mural of a young Chuukese girl shown below is on the wall of Bergen’s Prairie Market in Milan.

Anonymous – Mural of a Micronesian Girl on Bergen’s Prairie Market (circa2020)

The last example of a young island girl in this post is one that people in the USA, and in associated states that use US money, have probably already seen. This is the Northern Marianas Islands quarter dollar for the “America the Beautiful” quarter series. The design depicts a girl at the memorial commemorating the 1944 Battle of Saipan. Donna Weaver designed the quarter, and Phebe Hemphill sculpted it. Phebe Hemphill said on a Youtube video that the person on the quarter is a “young girl”. On the US Mint website, however, the person on the quarter is described as a “young woman”. I agree with the sculptor that she is a girl, and therefore have included the quarter in this post.

Weaver and Hemphill – America the Beautiful Quarter for Northern Mariana Islands (2019)

Farm Girls in Naturalist Painting 4: More Goose Girls

(Last Updated On April 11, 2021)

One year ago, I started this series of articles on naturalist paintings of rural girls, and I pointed out that in the 19th century, peasant life was a theme of predilection for the schools of social realism and naturalism, both as a focus on the fate of poor toiling people and as an expression of interest in nature, in contrast with modern urban life.

In peasant families of that time, children participated in farm work, and it seems that herding flocks of geese was a girl’s job. Thus, many 19th century paintings represented goose girls, and indeed, my first article was devoted to The Goose Girl of Mézy by Léon Augustin Lhermitte. Moreover, this topic was the subject of the German fairy tale Die Gänsemagd, collected by the Brothers Grimm and published in Grimm’s Fairy Tales in 1815, which has been illustrated by many artists.

I will thus present here a selection of such paintings. The criteria for my choice have been the quality of the painting and of its digital reproduction, its naturalistic style (as opposed to later schools of Impressionism and Expressionism), and that it shows a young girl, not an adult woman.

I start with Jules Bastien-Lepage, the painter of Pauvre Fauvette presented in my second article. This “goose girl”, dated around 1875, belongs to the Philadelphia Museum of Art:

Jules Bastien-Lepage - Goose girl (c1875)

Jules Bastien-Lepage – Goose girl (c1875)

One of the most famous painters of the rural world is Jean-François Millet (1814–1875). Many people have seen his Des Glaneuses (1857), showing women gleaning in a field after harvest, and L’Angélus (1857–59), showing a peasant couple praying at the sound of a church bell. Born in the hamlet of Gruchy (now part of the village Gréville-Hague) in Normandy, he worked in the family farm until 1834, when he left to study painting in Cherbourg, then in Paris. In 1849 he moved to Barbizon, east of Paris, where he remained for the rest of his life; he is one of the founders of the famous “Barbizon school” of realist painting.

He briefly returned to his birthplace in 1856, where he painted the following work, now at the National Museum of Wales (image from Tutt’[email protected]):

Jean-Francois Millet - The goose girl at Gruchy (1856)

Jean-Francois Millet – The goose girl at Gruchy (1856)

In the 1850s and 1860s, he painted several goose girls. One was exhibited at the 1867 Salon, about which he wrote to his friend Sensier: “I want to make the screams of my geese ring through the air. Ah! life, life! the life of the whole!” Here is one these paintings, dated 1866–67; previously owned by Sensier, it belongs now to the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum.

Jean-François Millet - The goose girl (1866-67)

Jean-François Millet – The goose girl (1866-67)

He also painted a nude “goose girl,” but this one is a woman rather than a girl.

The English painter and illustrator Alice Mary Havers (1850–1890) was popular for her genre paintings of village women and rural landscape. Here are two of her goose girls in a beautiful landscape (images from the Art Renewal Center):

Alice Mary Havers - Goosey, goosey gander

Alice Mary Havers – Goosey, goosey gander (date unknown)

Alice Mary Havers - The goose girl

Alice Mary Havers – The goose girl (date unknown)

The Irish novelist Edith Somerville (1858–1949), also a suffragette and Irish nationalist, painted and sketched, illustrating picture books. Here is (from the Crawford Art Gallery) an oil painting showing a goose girl who looks sulky, as she has befriended a goose and does not want to see it served for dinner:

Edith Somerville - The goose girl (1888)

Edith Somerville – The goose girl (1888)

Johann Till the Younger (1827–1894) was an Austrian genre painter. He trained in Vienna under his father Johann Till the Elder, and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna under Leopold Kupelwieser and Christian Ruben. He was member of the Künstlerhaus, an association of visual artists in Vienna. The following image comes from Tutt’[email protected] Masterpieces:

Johann Till - The little goose girl

Johann Till – The little goose girl

Gustaf Theodor Wallén (1860–1948) was a Swedish social realist painter, graphic artist, cartoonist and sculptor. He studied at the Academy of Art under George von Rosen. In 1887 he won a travel award to study in Paris at the Académie Colarossi and, under William Bouguereau, at the Academie Julian. The following image comes from the Art Renewal Center:

Gustaf Theodor Wallén - The little goosegirl

Gustaf Theodor Wallén – The little goosegirl

Václav Brožík (1851–1901) was a Czech academic painter. He went to Paris in 1876, and for the rest of his life he divided his time between Paris and Prague. He painted scenes from Czech history, portraits, genre paintings, and landscapes. He was influenced by the two great French naturalist painters of rural life, Jean-Francois Millet and Jules Breton, as can be seen in the following work in the National Gallery in Prague:

Václav Brožík - Goose girl (1880s)

Václav Brožík – Goose girl (1880s)

The Polish realist painter Antoni Gramatyka (1841–1922) studied art in Kraków and Vienna. He mostly worked in Kraków and its neighborhood. He painted landscapes, portraits, church polychromes, day-to-day life in Kraków and rural scenes in surrounding villages.

Antoni Gramatyka - Girl with geese (1881)

Antoni Gramatyka – Girl with geese (1881)

Finally, the great academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau, who had so often represented peasant girls, has also made one goose girl (image from the Art Renewal Center):

William-Adolphe Bouguereau - The goose girl (1891)

William-Adolphe Bouguereau – The goose girl (1891)

Girls of Oceania: Part 1 – Polynesia

(Last Updated On April 16, 2021)

Some islands are conventionally associated with a continent. For example, Japan and Indonesia are islands in the Pacific, but they are considered to be part of Asia. There are many islands scattered throughout the Pacific that are not associated with any continent; they are known collectively as Oceania. Oceania consists of three sections: Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. This post will be about Polynesia; Melanesia and Micronesia will be covered in Girls of Oceania Part 2.

Polynesian people originated in Taiwan. Over the course of many generations, they migrated south to Philippines and Indonesia, then east until they reached the island groups of Samoa and Tonga about 1000 BC. They remained in Samoa and Tonga for over a thousand years. Then, in a relatively short time, they spread throughout the eastern Pacific. Polynesia expanded to Hawaii in the north, New Zealand in the southwest, and Easter Island in the southeast. This is a huge area of ocean, millions of square miles, but it contains only about 118,000 square miles of land, of which 103,000 square miles are in New Zealand.

These remote islands developed a mystique during the era before air travel, when visiting an isolated island was like going to another planet, with little to no contact with the outside world. There is a romance in being so detached from the rest of the world. In the days of sailing ships when the male crews may have spent weeks without seeing a woman before stopping at a Polynesian island, the women of the islands were of particular interest. Polynesia became famous for women hula dancers, but young girls were also hula dancers.

The first example of a children’s hula, called “keiki hula” in Hawaiian, is this photo of Shirley Temple in her hula costume from the movie Curly Top. This was not an island movie, but hula dancing had become popular everywhere. Polynesian costume looks cute and feminine and therefore is appealing to girls who are not Polynesian. An image of non-Polynesian girls in grass skirts by Shannon Richardson was posted on Pigtails in Paint here.

Fox Studios – Publicity Photo for Curly Top (1935)

Hulas, including keiki hula, are more popular in Polynesia than elsewhere. The next two images show keiki hula shows in Hawaii, the first at the Kona Inn in the 1940s; the second at a shopping mall in the present century.

Anonymous – Keiki Hula at Kona Inn (1940s)

Na Kamalii Nani o Lahaina Hula School – Hula Show at the Mall (circa2016)

Hula girls have inspired several painters, including John Yato. Yato was born in Japan and his family moved to California when he was nine years old. He specializes in bright watercolors of various parts of the world, including the Pacific islands. The following two paintings by John Yato were inspired by Polynesian girls.

John Yato – Little Hulas (circa2010)

John Yato – Paradise Smile (circa2020)

Hawaiian girls are featured in cartoons as well as fine art. Lilo and Stitch, one of the best known Hawaiian-themed cartoons, was released by Disney in 2002. This story of a 6-year old Hawaiian girl who adopts a creature from outer space was a very successful movie. Sequels and a television series of Lilo and Stitch have been made.

Walt Disney Pictures – Lilo and Stitch (c2002)

Barbara Bradley was one of the 20th century’s outstanding illustrators. She made many illustrations of young girls, and I am surprised that she has not already been featured in Pigtails in Paint. Her typical style of drawing was more realistic, but she did a series of Hawaiian kids illustrations for the Dole pineapple company in a cartoon style in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Barbara’s children were models for the Hawaiian kids.

Barbara Bradley – Dole Hawaiian Kids (circa1970)

Barbara Bradley – Dole Hawaiian Kids Girl (circa1970)

In the limited amount of research done for this post I did not find any serious sculptures of young Polynesian girls, but there is a lot of kitsch; bobble head dolls, dashboard ornaments, and souvenir figurines. An example shown below is a solar powered bobble head of a girl playing the ukulele.

KC Hawaii – Keiki Ukulele Bobble Head Solar Doll (circa2020)

Up to this point, all of the images have been of Hawaiians, or at least of generic Polynesians that could be Hawaiian. New Zealand is by far the largest and most populous island group in Polynesia, but for some reason doesn’t have as much young girl art as Hawaii or French Polynesia. Perhaps New Zealand is too big for the feeling of being on a remote isolated little piece of land. The photograph below is from the studio of one of the great early woman photographers, Elizabeth Pullman. She had an intense interest in the Maori (New Zealand Polynesians) and photographed many of their important leaders. The photo below is an anonymous Maori woman and two girls.

Pullman and Son – Maori Woman and Two Children – (1871-1900)

French Polynesia, which includes the island of Tahiti, was the home of the painter Paul Gauguin for several years. Gauguin created many paintings of Tahitian women, but few paintings of young girls. Two of his paintings of Tahitian girls are shown below. Gauguin was probably influenced by photographer Charles Georges Spitz. Spitz lived in Tahiti, but the photograph posted here is from the Tuamotus Islands.

Paul Gauguin – Piti Teina (Two Sisters) (1892)

Paul Gauguin – Tahitian Woman And Two Children (1901)

Charles Georges Spitz – Tuamotus (circa1888)

Roger Parry was another French art photographer and he was also a war correspondent. Parry visited Tahiti in 1932–1933, and took at least four nude photographs of young Tahitian girls. Two are posted here, followed by a photo from Frederick O’Brien. O’Brien was not an artist; he was a bohemian wanderer and social activist who was in the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia in 1913–1914. His picture of the kava drinker with two women and a girl became well known. It was published in O’Brien’s book White Shadows in the South Seas in 1919, and in National Geographic Magazine about eighty years later.

Roger Parry – Jeune Fille Nue (1932)

Roger Parry – Jeune Fille Nue aux Algues (1932)

Frederick O’Brien -Kivi, the Kava Drinker with the Hetairae of the Valley (1913-1914)

Only a few of the many islands of Polynesia can be covered in this post. Samoa will be the last group of islands considered here. Most of Samoa had been a German possession. It was formerly believed that various groups of people had certain distinctive characteristics. We Americans are commercial, therefore we have bobble head dolls from Hawaii. British are reserved, therefore we have formal studio portraits from New Zealand. French are artistic, therefore we have Gauguin’s paintings from Tahiti. Germans are scientific, therefore we have tomes detailing the ethnography, geology, botany, etc. of Samoa.

The two photos from Samoa are both from scholarly works. The first is from Die Frauenkleidung und ihre natürliche Entwicklung by Carl Heinrich Stratz. Stratz wrote that the picture is from a book by Selenka, but he does not say that Selenka was the photographer. This same image is found in several other early 20th century books. It is a good example of an ethnographic contrivance; an artistic picture disguised as ethnography to make it appear more serious and respectable. The second photograph is true ethnography with no contrivance. It uses a 14-year old girl to illustrate the physical characteristics of the Polynesian race. This image was taken from Naturgeschichte des Menschen, also by Stratz. The image is attributed to the Godefroy album. Godefroy was a German trading company that operated in the Pacific. This picture also appears in many other books, and in spite of the stiff pose has an innocent appeal.

Selenka – Mädchen aus Samoa im Blumenschmuck (circa1900)

Godefroy Album – 14 Jähriges Mädchen aus Samoa (c1900)

Random Images: Otto Dix

(Last Updated On April 16, 2021)

This painting was uncovered by Christian. At first glance, I had though that the blue lines were cracks in the paint but Otto Dix (1891–1969) was actually rendering the girl’s blue veins, perhaps exaggerated in an attempt to stand out from his contemporaries.

Otto Dix – Little Girl (1922)

Some clues to his motivations can be found here.

Lehnert and Landrock’s Young Model

(Last Updated On May 7, 2021)

The team of Rudolf Franz Lehnert and Ernst Heinrich Landrock is probably the best known of all Orientalist photographers. Lehnert was born in 1878 in what is now the Czech Republic, and was then part of the Hapsburg Empire. Landrock was also born in 1878, in Germany. In 1904 Lehnert and Landrock became partners in a photographic studio in Tunis. For ten years they produced a large quantity of photographs and postcards in Tunisia. Landrock was the manager, and Lehnert was the photographer.

Orientalism, a romanticized depiction of the Middle East, was a popular style of art in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Painters and writers made the genre popular before the advent of photography and thus Lehnert and Landrock adopted the Orientalist style. Some critics have complained that Orientalism is denigrating to the people of the Middle East, but I would disagree. Those opposed to Orientalism say that any portrayal of a non-western culture must necessarily depict it as primitive and inferior. This attitude seems to me to indicate an intolerant attitude of the critic rather than of the Orientalist artist. Opponents also say it is not realistic.

I am not qualified to judge if Lehnert and Landrock postcards realistically portray early 20th century Tunis, but I know that postcards in general are not meant to depict reality. I live in Florida. I know that Florida’s climate is humid, with frequent rain. On beaches here you will see people of all ages and both sexes, and occasionally a discarded soda can. On postcards of Florida beaches you will only see sunny sky, spotlessly clean sand, and attractive young women. It’s true that this is unrealistic, but it is not disparaging of Florida, and most people have enough sense to know that reality may be different from a postcard.

The nudity shown on Lehnert and Landrock postcards may be realistic. Islamic societies are often thought to have strict dress codes for women, but there are exceptions to this rule. Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) visited Cairo in 1869 and wrote of seeing people of both sexes naked in public. (See Chapter 31 of his book The Innocents Abroad) Michael Wolgensinger photographed a girl he saw naked in public in Iran in 1958. Pigtails in Paint posted the photo here.

It would not be possible in one post to adequately cover the vast amount of images that were photographed by Lehnert and Landrock, so this post will be limited to a few of the photos of just one of their many models. She appears to me to be among the youngest of their models. Her name is not known. Although Lehnert and Landrock photographed both clothed and nude models, I have only found nude photos of this particular girl. The first three photos show the girl alone. Titles in French are from the internet source of the photo (most are from Wikimedia Commons). I composed the titles in English for pictures that had no title.

Lehnert and Landrock – Jeune Fille au Mirroir (1904-1914)

Lehnert and Landrock – Girl with a Musical Instrument (1904-1914)

Lehnert and Landrock – Jeune-Femme Nue au Tambourin (1904-1914)

In the next two pictures the girl is with Fathma, one of the few Lehnert and Landrock models whose name is known.

Lehnert and Landrock - A-Young Girl and Fathma (1904-1914)

Lehnert and Landrock – A-Young Girl and Fathma (1904-1914)

Lehnert and Landrock – A Young Girl and Fathma on a Couch (1904-1914)

The following two photos show the girl with a young boy. His race indicates that he is probably a slave. When the photo was taken, Tunisia was a protectorate of France. Although slavery was illegal in France, the protectorate status meant that Tunisia was internally self-governing and slavery was legal in Tunisia. Note that the boy’s genitals are censored, but the girl’s are not. Lehnert and Landrock made other photos with nude females and clothed or censored males. An example has been posted on Pigtails here. I have not discovered why there was this aversion to male nudity. My guess would be that male nudity was offensive to many of the people who bought postcards; Lehnert and Landrock may have felt they could sell more postcards by avoiding male nudity.

Lehnert and Landrock – Young Girl and Boy (1904-1914)

Lehnert and Landrock – Another Photo of a Young Girl and Boy (1904-1914)

Female nudity was also censored sometimes, usually by only slightly blurring the vulva. I could not find a censored picture of the particular model who is the focus of this post, but here is a censored photo, from a postcard, of another young Lehnert and Landrock model. The following is the same photo from the book Woman, an Historical and Gynaecological and Anthropological Compendium by H.H. Ploss, M. Bartels, and P. Bartels; edited by E. J. Dingwall (1935). This is the only instance in which I have found a censored and uncensored version of the same photo.

Lehnert and Landrock – Jeune Berbère Nue (censored) (1904-1914)

Lehnert and Landrock – Jeune Berbère Nue (1904-1914)

There seems to be no obvious reason why some are censored and some are not. The age of the model, and the situation being photographed appear to have no bearing on whether the photo is censored. If a photo was censored for postcards sold in a more restrictive jurisdiction, I would expect that there would be both censored and uncensored versions of the same postcard. I have not found an example of this (in the photos above the uncensored version is from a book, not a postcard). The next two photos can both be found at multiple places on the internet, and may give an idea of why we don’t find two versions of the same picture. The second photo is merely a cropped version of the first, yet it appears many different places on the internet. Apparently one postcard collector cut the card to fit the space in his album, and multiple internet sites posted scans of that one card. This indicates that although there are many instances of a photo posted on the internet, they may all be scanned from one or two postcards. Therefore, there may be two different versions of the same postcard, but only one has been posted on the net.

Lehnert and Landrock – Garconnet Nu Assis et Fillette Nue Debout (1904-1914)

Lehnert and Landrock – Garconnet Nu Assis et Fillette Nue Debout (cropped) (1904-1914)

In 1914, the First World War began. Lehnert and Landrock were both nationals of countries at war with France, the protecting power in Tunisia. Their business was closed and they had to leave Tunisia. In 1924, after the war, Lehnert and Landrock started their business over again in Cairo, Egypt. Lehnert died in 1948 and Landrock in 1966. Their business in Cairo has continued after the death of its founders. In 1982, the new manager of the shop discovered the old negatives in storage. There was a resurgence in popularity of Lehnert and Landrock’s art. There was some concern that the negatives of nudes may not be safe in Cairo, so they were sent to the Elysée museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

State of the Blog Address: 10th Anniversary Post

(Last Updated On February 16, 2021)

Some of you may know that today is the 10th anniversary of when Pip posted his first item. Pip’s idea was that due to excessive prudery, interesting and legitimate art was not available on the internet. At first, the site was to cover children of both genders but given that he had so much more material on girls, he decided to focus on that. Reaching this landmark is a testament to the approach we have taken on handling a sensitive subject. Although my lifestyle precludes me from spending much time on the site anymore, I do intend to keep it running as a resource as long as practicably possible. I have ceased the ‘Maiden Voyages’ posts but will post them occasionally when new information is offered by readers. Even if we were shut down tomorrow, Pigtails in Paint has gained new ground in spite of the zealous actions of people who would rather live with the simplicity of arbitrary standards rather than put thought into complex issues. There are certain important ideas that should be shared mostly to do with the reason for our success and what we all should strive for in the future. I will add these items to this post as I think of them over the next couple of days. I suggest readers check in again on the 20th to make sure they have not missed any items.

Base Impulses: it would be naive not to realize that most readers were drawn in by the allure of the girl children presented here or shocked at one artist’s presentation or another. One of the pitfalls I see most people fall into is misinterpreting their own response to the images. Children move us for a reason, in fact for their own protection. We treat them with kid gloves so they may develop into healthy adults. The assumption that this attraction is sexual (in the adult sense) is misleading and can lead to maladaptive behavior conditioned over time. It was not our intent to have a peep show of cuties (and let the chips fall where they may) and when I joined the team, I felt it important that all images should be accompanied by some kind of text. Some thought should be given to why we react to these images and not make simple assumptions about complex interpersonal issues.

Balancing Quality with Respect: When I mentioned the principle of having text for every post, my friend Graham Ovenden whole-heartedly agreed. In addition to that he felt it was also important to present images of high quality. There have been too many examples of bootleg productions—in print and on the net—that are poor reproductions and obviously pandering to prurient interests. On the other hand, we deliberately avoided sharing images of such high quality that someone might violate an artist’s copyright and profit without permission. So we tried to find a happy medium and in a few special cases present lower-grade items if it was felt important to present. Graham’s commitment to this idea is reflected in his beautiful publications under the banner of Garage Press.

Real Feminism: All the while working on this site, I would look within and ask myself what I am getting from the experience. One of the remarkable conclusions is that it is a genuinely feminist act. I began to realize that the problem with feminist movements in the past is that they are mostly run by women. It seems reasonable that women should take the lead in so-called women’s issues but the problem is the mentality of the war of the sexes, as though all men did not have women’s interests at heart. Given the typical personality and behavior of the “typical” woman, the success of such movements are ultimately limited. It is important that men and women be thought of as complementary partners and achieve greater results when working together. To that end, Pigtails in Paint presents two sides of girls: 1) who they really are and 2) what projections of fantasies we have of them. These fantasies are hard-wired in our brains and it is reckless not to acknowledge them and pretend that we only see girls for what they really are. I actually got some flak for this when someone accused me of endorsing the traditional paradigm of the “feminine mystique”. Despite conventional wisdom, this mystique is not strictly a cultural construction but a cultural manifestation of a primal response. Ignore it at your peril!

Animal Spirits: We must have a respect for the past as well as an eye for the future in equal measure. When it comes to the beauty of the human body and the acceptance of our sexual natures, there have been many movements in the past. The existence of naturist colonies is one of the modern remnants of that. While researching items for Pigtails, something that was on the periphery suddenly came into sharp focus. There is a modern day equivalent of the “hippie” movement and it is receiving a lot of ridicule as so many have received in the past. But these things don’t exist in a vacuum. People participate because there is something there for them they cannot get from mainstream society. What I am talking about is referred to as Furry Fandom. On the surface, it is a kind of ludicrous fantasy, but dig deeper (the values vary from person to person) and one finds a striving for freedom of personal and sexual identity. The partial or complete fantasy of it allows people to play with social interactions in ways not possible in their workaday lives. As civilized people it is all too easy to lose sight of the merits of our animal natures and become cogs for the sake of convenience and survival. Sexuality being one of our most repressed aspects always leads to experimentation in movements like this and there is heartache, personal epiphany and profound acceptance to be had. We naturally project our ideas on things in the world around us and that includes little girls, however much we can really know them, and those projections would perhaps inevitably find expression in anthropomorphic renderings of our animal friends as well.

Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-daro

(Last Updated On January 22, 2021)

This little statuette is the best known work of art from the Indus Valley civilization, which was, with Egypt and Mesopotamia, one of the great seminal civilizations of the fourth to second millennia BC. The antecedents of the Indus valley culture go back to about 7000 BC. The high civilization began around 3300 BC, and reached its height during the period of 2500 to 1700 BC. Mohenjo-daro, one of the two great cities of the Indus Valley, was destroyed in an invasion circa 1500 BC, but vestiges lingered perhaps as late as 600 BC. Mohenjo-daro is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Anonymous – Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-daro (2300 – 1750 B.C.)

Of the three contemporary river valley civilizations; Egypt (Nile Valley), Mesopotamia (Tigris – Euphrates Valleys), and the Indus Valley, the Indus had the greatest geographical extent. It was also the last to be known to modern historians, having been discovered in 1921 near Harappa, Pakistan. It became apparent that the ancient Indus Valley people were masters of technical skills such as city planning, construction, and drainage. They are believed to have spoken a Dravidian language, and may have had a religion similar to Jainism. They had a system of writing, but we are not able to read it. It is peculiar that there was a form of writing on Easter Island that used characters very similar to some of the Indus characters. Easter Island is near the antipode, the farthest point on earth, from Pakistan.

The Dancing Girl figurine was found in the ruins of a house in Moheno-daro by archaeologist Ernest MacKay in 1926. It is estimated that it was made circa 2300 – 1750 BC. We don’t know if she was really a dancer, but her long limbs and graceful pose seem to indicate a dancer or acrobat. There is a reason that many of the best gymnasts and dancers are young girls. Females have narrower shoulders and wider hips than males. This gives them a lower center of gravity, and therefore better balance than males. Young girls, before their breasts are fully developed, have better balance than women with larger breasts.

Anonymous – Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-daro back (2300 – 1750 B.C.)

The bronze figure is 4.1 inches tall now that the feet have been broken off and lost. It was cast by the lost wax method. The Indus Valley art that survives consists mostly of terra cotta figurines and carved stone seals. Dancing Girl is noted for the serene, perhaps arrogant facial expression. Her right arm is bent, and her left hand rests on her leg. She appears to be resting after a performance. The posture is like that of a figure on a pottery fragment from Bhirrana, in the Indus Valley region of India, dated to about 4000 to 3000 BC. Originally, something was held in Dancing Girl ‘s left hand. My guess would be that it was a stick with a ribbon like those used in rhythmic gymnastic performances.

Anonymous – Bhirrana Potshard (4000 – 3000 BC)

Dancing Girl has been said to resemble the modern Baluchi people of Pakistan. One archaeologist wrote that her face resembles an African. Why more bracelets on one arm than other? There are twenty-four bracelets on the left arm, and four on right. People have speculated about whether her dance was for a religious ceremony or merely for entertainment, but we have no way of knowing.

When Dancing Girl was discovered in 1926, India, Pakistan, and several other countries in the area were part of Britain’s Indian Empire. The statuette is now on display in the National Museum in New Delhi, India. Pakistan claims ownership, and has asked for it to be returned.

Random Images: Xaver Bergmann

(Last Updated On January 5, 2021)

A reader came across this unusual figurine for auction. The really remarkable thing about it is that it is overtly erotic and looking at the physique of the girl, she is clearly very young. It would have been interesting to get into the head of the artist to understand the logic for composing this kind of subject for a Vienna Bronze. I own a very small one of a girl with a mandolin and so it must have been quite common to feature nude subjects in this medium.

Xaver Bergmann – Orientale mit Katze (1850s?)

I believe the title (Easterner [Arab] with Cat) was meant to be suggestive implying an erotic subject. Although there is no date indicated in the auction, Vienna Bronzes were made starting in the 1850s.

Maiden Voyages: Happy New Year 2021!

(Last Updated On December 28, 2020)

Readers can make a perfectly reasonable case that I have been neglectful the past few months. And although we try to present things as professionally as possible, I should reiterate that this is a volunteer enterprise and work can only be done as time permits. I have been promised some articles from a few of our readers, but only Moko has followed through so far.

Young Environmental Activists: We mentioned the work of Greta Thunberg and Ralyn Satidtanasarn who captured the public imagination as among of the youngest activists. In a sense, age is not a requirement to be effective protester. In fact, it could be these girls’ innocence that might finally move us grown-ups to affect some meaningful change. We can now add Licypriya Kangujam from India to the list (Instagram account). I only hope the novelty of these youngsters does not wear off before real progress is made.

The Trouble with Controversies: The release of controversial materials is not just a legal/ethical matter. But because there tends to be some kind of public outcry, it becomes almost impossible to the judge the merits of the piece objectively and discuss whether the nudity or sexual content is just sensationalism or an essential part of the work. A case in point is the 2020 film Cuties (French, Mignonnes), a coming-of-age story of a young dancer (trailer here). In typical corporate fashion, Netflix has apologized in response to protests, really satisfying no one (sorry but not sorry). You can find some of the discussion here, here, here and here. I would be interested in what Pigtails readers think.

Our Artist Fans: It is always a delight when a living artist sees our site and is pleased with it. This happened recently with Dolphine (Andrei Sharapov, aka d’Elf) who requested a dedicated post. Pip discovered this artist long ago and there are numerous lovely submissions, but given the extensive coverage already given here (and my limited time), we have to decline. However, I am happy to share key links to his gallery and Instagram.

Defunct Websites: We aren’t the only ones operating on a as-time-permits basis. That is why some sites have disappeared, most notably Novel Activist. It was my intent to reissue some of the more important pieces right here (with the author’s permission). Fortunately, our internet host has taken it upon himself to reconstruct the site in full and make it available. The project is basically complete but cannot be published until some sense is made of the connecting links. Also, some of the images are missing or of poor quality so some assistance will be needed by our readers when the reissue is released.

Last Chance for the Movie Guide: I remind readers of an excellent resource recently released for movies featuring young girls, Quilty’s Guide to Nymphets in the Movies. It is not simply a list of films but bona fide reviews with the author’s opinion of the merit (or lack thereof) of each one. I am told that the book will be removed soon from Blurb and will be sold for a higher price on the secondary market so if you intended to get this one, do so soon.

Postcard Archives: Although we gripe about the amount of censorship of legitimate artistic nudity, sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing where to look. A reader found a collection with a couple of adolescent nudes and I simply share them with you (here and here).

Album Covers: 2020 Submissions

(Last Updated On December 23, 2020)

We periodically get album cover leads since Pip got the ball rolling years ago. the problem is that even though they can be found online, their quality is often poor or they’re too small. So we’re killing two birds with one stone here: 1) Informing readers of cover art of interest and 2) Soliciting higher quality images from readers which we can put in a dedicated post. My apologies that I can’t say much about the music itself since I mostly like Classical and music you can dance to!

Trem da Alegria (1986)

Trem da Alegria (Train of Happiness) was a children’s musical band based in Brazil. They released eight albums between 1984 and 1992.

La Chorale Des Enfants De L’Opera De Paris: Children Of France is, just as the title suggests, a vocal selection performed by children from France first released in 1971. Besides the charming cover, if you click on “more images”, you will find another sweet image of the smiling children.

Mulekada was a Brazilian children’s musical group. This group was active from 1998–2003 and featured a Latin-Pop style of music.

The Smart Set: Informally Yours is a US LP/Vinyl release of easy-listening Jazz which came out in 1959. A cute and innocent bath scene.

Surprise Party Au Bord De La Mer is a collection released in France in 1958. Once again illustrating the convention of very young children not having to wear clothing at all at the beach.

Bonemen of Barumba: Driving the Bats Thru Jerusalem was released in LP and CD in 1982. Straight beach nudity but not clear the thematic intent.

Mu Dv Ay Ne: L.D. 50 is a Heavy Metal Vinyl and CD release from 2000. The artist’s name is actually Mudvayne but this album is made to appear like atomic symbols from the periodic table (only Ne [Neon] is legit BTW).

Carnaval dos Baixinhos is an LP cover released in Brazil in 1988. The titles of the songs seems to suggest that this is marketed for children. The cover shows plenty of toddler skin but it is somewhat jarring given the theme of Carnival. The good news is that the faces are not visible so there should be no concerns about stigmatization for these two who would now be in their 30s.

J’L’Tismé: Le Jour J is a hip-hop label released in 2000. Images like this are both amusing and provocative with the baby seeming to engage in grown-up vices.