Vittorio Matteo Corcos (1859-1933) was an Italian painter known for his portraits of finely-dressed young men and women. But here is one example of a young girl.
Les Bryant is a realist painter who recently produced a series of works entitled “Memories of Childhood Never Fade”. The one below has a bit of a collage-like quality with discrete figures placed in the scene. As an extra bonus, there is an image showing the work in progress.
Colleen Browning (1918–2003) was an English painter who later emigrated to the United States. As a realist painter, the timing of her career was unfortunate because of US (CIA) efforts to promote abstract art at the expense of realist painters, classical composers and other representative artists during the Cold War. This campaign is now well-documented in several books including the landmark Who Paid the Piper? : CIA and the Cultural Cold War (2000) by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Guy Bourdin (1928–1991) was a French photographer best known for his highly experimental photography. He was a key contributor to French Vogue from 1955 thru the 1990s challenging the conventions of fashion photography, often presenting provocative images bringing together the ideas of Surrealism and subjective photography. He was said to have the eye of a painter with his images often containing some kind of narrative which he executed with perfectionist zeal. Also clear to see was his use of exaggerated color including the unusual use of makeup in his models.
Although Pierre Boucher (1908–2000) was known for his nude photography, he saw it as one of many tools in the service of graphic composition. He studied at the School of Applied Arts (in France) and was a photographer in the air force from 1921 to 1925. His professional career began in 1930 producing various forms of advertising including movie posters. He published articles on the nude, sports, architecture and traveling and his work was included in an anthology Le Nu en Photographie (1937).
Thanks go to Patricia [below] for doing the extra research on these photographs. -Ron
This has indeed been a strange year. For the first time in a while, no interesting tidbits have come across my desk to share with you (except artist leads). It may be a bit premature, but I am introducing Phase II of Pigtails in Paint.
Phase II: As Pip trusted me more and more with leadership in the development of this website, a picture began to form in my mind of how Pigtails should evolve. In the beginning (Phase I), posts had to be produced that defined the range of our subject matter but also to show others how it ought to be done—how to survive and be of service in a hostile world. In many ways, Pigtails has accomplished its mission. I’d like to think that a sincere interest in the “Cult of the Girl Child” need not be so stigmatized and can be an opportunity to learn about ourselves. The idea behind Phase II is that the site ceases to be a blog but a central resource on this subject matter. We are far from completing all the posts that need to be done so technically we will remain a blog for the foreseeable future. Pip has often said that besides the fact that we cover the arts and media, the site itself is, after a fashion, a work of art itself. Producing art requires inspiration and apart from all that is going on in my personal life, I have simply not been motivated to move ahead with several posts I had planned. What I hope to do during the summer is make a push to complete the ‘Artists by Name’ page (still have only completed through the letter “B”) so that readers will know which artists appear on our radar and which do not. Also, it is an opportunity for readers to suggest small items that should be added so people can do digging on their own—such as the titles of books relevant to this site or other websites with good coverage of a particular artist. That is, we are going to focus on organizing the leads we have received for all to see. After artists, the other miscellaneous categories will also be filled in. Generally speaking, Phase II is a database development stage of the site but there are still a lot of items to add to the blog as well. Readers who would like to research and write about any artists (or subjects) listed in the archive are invited to do so. As always, I am around to edit the work and make sure it stands up to our usual standards of quality and accuracy. Of course, we will continue to accept messages and comments as before.
Allied Sites: A couple of pages will need to be added to make Pigtails in Paint a better resource. A page will be added with links to sites allied to our own and organized according to content type (or what I sometimes refer to as a contrivance).
Essays on the Human Experience in the Modern Age: I suppose this may sound kind of ambitious, but I have been encouraged to take what I learned and put together a kind of thesis about the human condition (perception, projection, inspiration, affirmation, spirituality, sexuality, etc.). I had many ideas on how to begin this project and have finally come to the conclusion that Pigtails is not the right place for it because much of the material strays pretty far from the narrow focus of the girl child. She is an important figure to be sure, but she is one piece of an incredibly interesting puzzle and I strongly believe that those with the capacity to take it all in will find their lives enhanced by the experience. Therefore, I am going to publish the essays on another site which has wider scope and when I have enough material under my belt, I will share the link. Here’s a clue: we should remember that we are not the only ones to be subjected to a witch hunt and it is foolish not to glean pleasure from that which makes us different.
Sanity for a Change: Pip informed me of the decision regard the sale of dot-org domains. The sale would have been a real setback for many volunteer organizations.
In the Works: As always, new posts appear sporadically. I wish I could dedicate full time to this endeavor but I have many interests and am now in a committed relationship and there can be no cutting corners there. And periodically, opportunities to make new connections or get access to hard-to-find material come up and must be taken advantage of immediately. Currently, I am negotiating to expand PIgtails’ Edwardian postcard collection. This was really someone else’s project but they have been incommunicado for a few years now. I have reached the letter C in the ‘Artists by Name’ database, An outline of definitions will be the basis of the ‘My Thesis’ page to eventually be found under the ‘About’ tab. I have been pressured by a number of serious individuals to put the theoretical scientific and philosophical principles in one place. I often allude to this idea or that on individual posts but there really needs to be one place where readers can understand the “big picture” anthropological framework of our efforts here. Also, there will be a ‘Online Resources’ page for leads on other sites of interest organized by contrivance. It is my hope that Pigtails in Paint can serve as an important nexus with regards to the subject of young/little girls. Stay Healthy! -Ron
A reader submitted these covers for consideration. These are the album covers (front and back) for a dance music release produced by the Brazilian television host Xuxa as part of an audiovisual series aimed at children. Unfortunately, I do not read Portuguese and am not completely sure about the background of this release.
The interesting thing is that it portrays children dancing (presumably to the music). The presence of the children is appealing and is aimed at that age market, but these images do bring up the question of the ethics of children imitating adults. Like most music of this genre, it is sexually suggestive and children were probably taught do perform the dances convincingly. Also, children who learn dancing at an early age can become quite skilled and well express the joy of the activity (they make it seem effortless). The ethical question, as is often the case, is two-edged: what kind of adult activities should children be allowed to emulate and at what age? and are children at the age shown really all that naive about matters of human sexuality as expressed in their culture? Does “the Queen of Children” go too far in this portrayal?
In an earlier post, I included a postcard of a girl trying to be one of the boys. Gender aside, we are human beings who want to indulge in the pleasures of life. Until the fairly recent conveniences of life, the demanding requisites of reproduction and child-rearing for women made it more difficult for them—with the possible exception of girls born into aristocratic families. These postcards were meant to be humorous—it really shows how humor changes over time—but I feel a certain sadness when I look at them. That society should impose standards of dress and behavior on girls so that they are less able to experience the joys of freedom inspires pity. The opportunity to wear trousers (with permission or illicitly) must have seemed like a Godsend. A girl could then engage in exuberant physical activities with abandon and not risk appearing indecorous by accidentally exposing her private parts (with or without panties).
An important movement in the effort to stop the sexual exploitation of children was in the Unites States in the 1930s. In rural areas, it was not uncommon for girls to marry at very young ages, much earlier than what we would consider the age of consent. The moral crusades to stop such practices were exemplified in films like Child Bride (1938) starring Shirley Mills (which will be reviewed here at some point). Besides having a controversial plot to get people into the theaters, it was also a form of propaganda showing how backward and ignorant these people were.
What is often forgotten is how marriageable age and life span tend to be linked. In an age of prosperity and creature comforts, people lived longer, and marriage could be put off to allow some enjoyment of the pleasures of life. But life in the Appalachian “hollers” was a rough one and the priority of marriage was not so much to validate the love between a man and a woman, but a household arrangement that would allow the couple and their family to survive. Any man capable of making a good living was quite desirable and families with daughters would hedge their bets—and save money—by marrying off their girls to such men early. I suppose there are many who would speculate about the sexual standards of these arrangements, but even more important was the ability and willingness of girls to manage the household while the husband was working on the family farm, ranch or other business—it was a popular stereotype to regard them all as moonshiners.
With all that being said, I present a news item discovered by an associate. It includes a photo of a man kissing his 12-year-old wife but tells the story of how they were married when she was 10 and the man’s efforts to have the girl adopted properly through the system bureaucracy. Given the circumstances, the courts actually upheld the legitimacy of this marriage. So what is the real cause for our pity: that a girl should marry at such a young age or that in such a prosperous nation, so many people must live these hard lives?
This item was found on a historical website called Flashbak that documents interesting and unusual news stories.