Cover image for Overcoming all obstacles : the women of the Académie Julian
Overcoming all obstacles : the women of the Académie Julian
Weisberg, Gabriel P.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Dahesh Museum ; New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xx, 146 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 26 cm
General Note:
Catalog of an exhibition held at Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass., Oct. 2, 1999-Jan. 2, 2000; Dahesh Museum, New York, N.Y., Jan. 18-May 13, 2000; the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tenn., July 9-Sept. 24, 2000.
The women of the Académie Julian : the power of professional emulation / Gabriel P. Weisberg -- Nothing like a rival to spur one on--Marie Bashkirtseff and Louise Breslau at the Académie Julian / Jane R. Becker -- "Men of genius, women of taste" : the gendering of art education in late nineteenth-century Paris / Tamar Gabb.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6447 .O84 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Overcoming All Obstacles: The Women of the Académie Julian is the first book to examine late nineteenth-century Paris's most famous training ground for the leading women artists of the period. The Académie Julian was founded in Paris in 1868, initially to prepare students for entry to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the nineteenth-century's preeminent art school. Because women could not study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts until 1897, Julian itself became an international equivalent for many of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century's most important women artists.

Not only does Overcoming All Obstacles introduce the reader to many works by women artists-both famous and lesser known-but the essays offer a cultural and historical context in which to appreciate their art. Gabriel Weisberg's essay concentrates on the rigorous training methods enforced by Rodolphe Julian and the teachers at the Academy. Jane Becker explores the competitive environment of the Julian Academy as it affected the Ukrainian painter Marie Bashkirtseff and the Swiss painter Louise-Catherine Breslau. Essays by Catherine Fehrer, the leading scholar of the Académie Julian, and Tamar Garb, an art historian who focuses on the training of women artists, give us a richer understanding of the Académie Julian's place in the sphere of art education in late nineteenth-century Paris.

Generously illustrated with both color and black-and-white images, this volume includes documentary photographs and caricatures that have never before been reproduced. The core of the book draws on the large collection of the Académie Julian Del Debbio, the Académie Julian's successor institution in Paris. This publication accompanied an exhibition organized by the Dahesh Museum in New York that opened after its exhibition at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. The exhibition subsequently continued to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis.

Author Notes

Gabriel P. Weisberg is professor of art history at the University of Minnesota.
Jane R. Becker is the former assistant curator of the Dahesh Museum.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

This volume introduces with aplomb a recently discovered, otherwise unknown treasure trove of archives and works of 19th-century art to a wider general public. These records, artworks, and caricatures survived in the Acad‚mie Julian Del Debbio, the successor to the famous 19th-century Paris Acad‚mie Julian. Since women could not study at the official state Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the Acad‚mie Julian was virtually the only art educational institution available to them. The catalog of a traveling exhibition organized by the Dahesh Museum in New York, this work contains over 90 small illustrations drawn from the archives. Most are paintings and drawings by unknown or little-known women artists and will be studied today more for historical than aesthetic reasons. Catherine Fehrer writes of her search and recovery of the documents, Weisberg contributes an essay on the women of the Acad‚mie Julian, Becker writes of the rivalry between Marie Bashkirtseff and Louise Breslau, and Tamar Garb provides discourse on gendering and art education. It is not overstatement to say this book is invaluable and the exhibition is not to be missed.--Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Towson Univ., MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

In 1868 the Academie Julian initiated preparatory training for students seeking entry to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. For women of many nations deprived entrance to this prestigious art school, Julian became an academic equivalent. Published in conjunction with an exhibition organized by the Dahesh Museum (New York), the essays in this well-illustrated book contain groundbreaking archival research preserved today in the Academie Julian Del Debbio in Paris. Weisberg (Univ. of Minnesota) examines the nature of the program developed by Rodolphe Julian and its implementation by Adolphe-William Bouguereau, Tony Robert-Fleury, Jules Lefebvre, and Jean-Paul Laurens. Weisberg also details the international basis of the Academie's enrollment, tracing the mature careers of Anna Bilinska-Bohdanowicz (Poland), Cecilia Beaux (US), and Mina Bredberg (Sweden). The competitive atmosphere at Julian's between Marie Bashkirtseff and Louis-Catherine Breslau is visually documented in hilarious caricatures examined by Jane Becker (formerly, Dahesh Museum). An inadequately researched contribution by Tamar Garb provides shallow treatment to gendering of art education in Paris. Though of modest length, this work nonetheless makes a significant contribution by documenting careers of understudied women artists. General readers; undergraduates through faculty. E. K. Menon; Minnesota State University, Mankato

Table of Contents

J. David FarmerCatherine FehrerGabriel P. WeisbergJane R. BeckerTamar Garb
List of Illustrationsp. vii
Forewordp. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Lenders to the Exhibitionp. xxi
Introductionp. 3
The Women of the Academie Julian: The Power of Professional Emulationp. 13
Nothing like a Rival to Spur One On--Marie Bashkirtseff and Louise Breslau at the Academie Julianp. 69
"Men of Genius, Women of Taste": The Gendering of Art Education in Late Nineteenth-Century Parisp. 115
Bibliographyp. 135
Notes on Contributorsp. 141
Indexp. 143