We here at MISS admire the trendsetting ladies in HERstory. Now when I say ‘trendsetting’ I don’t necessarily mean a short term fashion fad. In the case of Louise Abbéma (1823-1927) when I say trendsetter I mean literally setting a trend that continued for decades. She was a French painter, sculptor, and designer who was one of the progressive minds responsible for the Belle Époque in late 19th century France.
Louise’s stairwell to stardom started at age 23. Her portrait of Sarah Bernhardt, her friend and rumored lover, was a hit and sparked a steady flow of clientele for portraiture. Not only did she paint the elite folks for France, her art also lined the walls of the Paris Town Hall, the Paris Opera House, and many theatres.
Although Louise could sculpt her weapon of choice was oil paints and watercolors. The works of Japanese and Chinese painters were a source of inspiration. The influence is reflected in the constant featuring of flowers and other plants.
Wait, I dont think you understand how much of an impact this woman had. She was such an amazing artist that she was nominated as the “official painter of the French Third Republic,” a republican government of France between 1870 and 1940. Her nomination is what put her on trendsetter status.
The forward thinking members of the French Third Republic completely changed the game in France. The artists associated with the Republic were the leaders of the Belle Époque (French for ‘beautiful era’). The era paved the way for the popularity of impressionism. Yes, impressionism as in Monet.
On top of her knack for the arts, Louise could dress! She has keen eye for fashion and many of the women she painted were on point also. I would seriously love to raid this lady’s closet. Oh yeah, her bouffant was dope too!
Image Layout: Phaymiss
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