Programme Sep – Dec 2023

Muses in the Limelight
The concept of the Muse has declined considerably over time – from the revered and powerful goddesses of Greek mythology on whom humans called for divine inspiration, via the alluring nude or scantily clad young woman of Renaissance art, to the subservient and seemingly powerless muses who have become, at best, a footnote to the great male painters. However, particularly in more recent times, muses (mostly female) were quite often notable artists themselves but their reputations have been overshadowed by the fact of their being muses to a famous artist (usually male). The aim of this programme is to look at a number of female artists, working in different media, styles and times and to bring them into the limelight, putting their work into a wider context of the time and place in which they lived.

Wednesday, 6 September, 2023, 10:30 – 12:30, The Arc, Jewry Street, Winchester
The Muses – Their Demise and Resurrection
Illustrated seminar by Ruth Millington
In this seminar, Ruth Millington will discuss how muses were once goddesses of divine inspiration, but by the 20th century had become
fixed in the image of a passive, powerless female model. Covering major movements and groups, from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood to
Surrealism, Futurism and today’s contemporary art market, she will share how and why the concept of the muse has changed dramatically
over time and throughout art history. She will also explore how and why many of the greatest muses have also been artists in their own
right, including Dora Maar and Emilie Flöge. What creativity and impact have they brought to the role beyond posing in another artist’s studio? And, looking forward, can the label muse ever help an artist’s career? Or does it forever cast them in the shadows of their great male

Wednesday, 27 September, 2023, 10:30 – 12:30, The Arc, Jewry Street, Winchester
Camille Claudel and Rodin
Illustrated seminar by Dr Emma Stirrup
The intense professional and personal relationship between Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel has been the subject of numerous creative
interpretations, from theatre, ballet and music, to literature and film. While both sculptors were variously described as ‘genius’, Rodin is lauded as the founder of modern sculpture, whereas Claudel, his pupil, collaborator and eventual rival, is consistently rediscovered from
obscurity. Rodin’s first major commission, The Gates of Hell, would occupy the sculptor for nearly 40 years and prove to be the inspiration
for his most famous works, The Thinker and The Kiss. It was at the start of this commission that Rodin agreed to teach Alfred Boucher’s class at the Académie Colarossi, a class that included four women sculptors, amongst them Boucher’s 18-year-old star pupil, Camille Claudel. She
joined Rodin’s studio in 1883, the two artists deeply influencing each other, with Claudel working closely with him on The Gates of Hell and
The Kiss. Each found a muse in the other. Tender portraits of the lovers are amongst the most important works of both oeuvres, and both
explored their painful separation and heartbreak in sculpture: Rodin in Eternal Idol and The Adieu and Claudel, most daringly, in The Mature Age.

Wednesday, 25 October, 2023, 10:30 – 12:30, The Arc, Jewry Street, Winchester
Suzanne Valadon
Illustrated seminar by Dr Catherine Hewitt
In the 1880s, Suzanne Valadon was considered the Impressionists’ most beautiful model. But behind her captivating façade lay a tempestuous character and a closely-guarded secret. Born in poverty in rural France, as a teenager in Montmartre, Suzanne began posing for – and having affairs with – some of the age’s most renowned painters, including Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec. It was Renoir who one day caught her indulging in a passion she had been trying to conceal: the model was herself a talented artist. Some found her vibrant still lifes and frank portraits as shocking as her bohemian lifestyle; at eighteen, she gave birth to an illegitimate child, the future painter Maurice Utrillo. But her friends Toulouse-Lautrec and Degas could see her skill. Through Suzanne’s artwork, this seminar will trace the remarkable tale of an ambitious, headstrong woman fighting to find a professional voice in a male-dominated world. Life and art interlace as we uncover the personal plight of a young girl’s quest for love and a single mother’s battle to save her alcoholic son, while considering Suzanne’s broader significance to the history of art.

Wednesday, 1 November, 2023, 10:30 – 12:30, The Arc, Jewry Street, Winchester
Celia Paul — The Artist Mistaken for a Muse
Illustrated seminar by Rosemary Waugh
A naked woman lies on a black bedspread, a small dish containing a split-open boiled egg by her side. Elsewhere, a different woman sits
upright in a simple white dress, an intense beam of sunlight illuminating her euphoric features. For many years, Celia Paul was best known as the woman who appeared in several paintings by Lucian Freud, including Naked Girl with Egg, and for being the mother of one of his many children. But Paul was always more than one of the British painter’s female muses. The pair met when Paul was a student at the Slade School of Fine Art and Freud was a visiting tutor. Alongside her life as Freud’s lover and model, Paul was quietly but efficiently becoming one of the most emotionally adroit and endlessly inquisitive painters of our time. Like Freud, Paul’s portraits regularly depict those closest to her, most frequently her sisters and mother. But while Freud’s work often shocks with its unfiltered and unflinching gaze, Paul’s paintings exude a light-filled tenderness and meditative warmth. As the author Zadie Smith so neatly summarised: Paul was not a “muse who later became a painter, but… a painter who, for ten years of her early life, found herself mistaken for a muse.”

Wednesday, 15 November, 2023, 10:30 – 12:30, The Arc, Jewry Street, Winchester
Side-lined? Women Abstract Painters in the Mid to Late Twentieth Century
Illustrated seminar by Barry Venning
In 1950, the photographer Nina Leen took a famous group photo now known as The Irascibles. It depicted eighteen New York artists who
have become famous as the Abstract Expressionists. Of the eighteen, only one, Hedda Sterne, was a woman, and her presence was resented
by the males because they all thought, as she put it, that “the presence of a woman took away from the seriousness of it all.” The seminar will
consider those women artists, many of them wives or partners of more famous males, whose contribution to the history of abstract painting
has, until recently, been overlooked, including Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Agnes Martin, Grace
Hartigan and Janet Sobel.

Wednesday, 6 December, 2023, 10:30 – 12:30, The Arc, Jewry Street, Winchester
Lee Miller
Illustrated seminar by Antony Penrose
Lee Miller was a surrealist before the movement had a name. Her love affair and collaboration with Man Ray from 1929 to 1932 established
her unquestionably as part of the movement. She refused to be anyone’s muse, remaining a surrealist artist on her own terms through
her subsequent roles as a fashion photographer, photo-journalist, combat photographer and finally a gourmet cook. She is now rightfully
recognised as having made her own highly significant contribution to the art of the 20th century in Britain and Europe. The second half of the seminar will take a behind the scenes look at the creation of the Lee Miller Archive which houses more than 60,000 negatives of Lee Miller’s work, 10,000 vintage prints plus manuscripts and ephemera. We see how Lee Miller’s family conserve and disseminate her work, based at the family home, Farley Farm House, which has become a museum from which the archive produces books, films and exhibitions. Whilst acknowledging our invaluable collaboration with The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, it is also the human and practical face of running what has become one of the most internationally significant private collections of photography and fine art.
(Contains highly disturbing images of the holocaust, war and its consequences.)
Followed by the WAHG Christmas Party