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Artists Romaine Brooks

Romaine Brooks

American Painter

Romaine Brooks Photo
Movements and Styles: Aesthetic Art, Symbolism, Surrealism

Born: May 1, 1874 - Rome, Italy

Died: December 7, 1970 - Nice, France

"I grasped every occasion no matter how small to assert my independence of views. I refused to accept the slavish traditions in art, and, though aware it would shock I insisted on marking the sex-triangles of all my female nude figures. The traditional depilatory effect shocked me, and I discarded it altogether."

Romaine Brooks Signature


Romaine Brooks was part of the first generation of revolutionary and openly bohemian female artists. As a practicing artist pre-first World War, this was a moment in history when women did not have the right to vote and as such did not have the due respect or the same opportunities as men. The way to succeed at the time, or perhaps simply to be noticed was to mimic masculine appearance and to renounce femininity for all of its restriction and expectation. Thus many of Brook's notable paintings depict androgynous figures, out in the world infused with heroism and purpose rather than bound and hidden by domesticity. In this respect Brooks' struggle to be free has much in common with her English contemporary, the writer, Virginia Woolf. Both women resolutely fought for independence in mind and finance, and understood that their dedicated artistic pursuit came at great price; Woolf famously committed suicide and although Brooks lived to the glorious age of 96, she tragically titled her lifetime memoirs No Pleasant Memories.

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