Virtual Art Seminar
Art with Friends
Join an intimate community for five lively discussions on Modern art. In each class, we will learn about an important female artist whose work remains largely understudied today. No background in art necessary. All that's required is a curious mind. The material presented is the result of over five years of archival research and forms the basis of a forthcoming book on women artists and the nude in early twentieth-century Paris. Sessions are led by Lauren Jimerson, PhD.
Live From Paris!
Art with Friends takes you Beyond the Louvre
Discover art that you won't see at the Louvre or the Orsay. Uncover art from private collections and museum storage. Study important but understudied women artists. Connect with people from around the world to explore art, history and culture.
Upcoming Webinar Series:
Sundays at 1:30 pm EST, October 18-November 15
Deepen your understanding of art history and enrich your life through meaningful discussion.
This webinar will change the way you look at art.
Discover Modern Women Artists
What we'll discuss:
Week 1: In Search of a Painting
When I first saw a reproduction of Marie Vassilieff’s Homme et Femme, a double-sided depiction of male and female Cubist nudes, I was determined to find the painting. This was the start of a three-year quest all over France and beyond. As we retrace my journey, we will study this lesser-known artist and the significance of her work. We will uncover her Cubist paintings, unknown to the public, which I found in private collections. We will learn what a woman artist risked a century ago by painting male nudes and challenging gender norms.
Week 2: The Androgynous Doll
In 1915, Marie Vassilieff pioneered a new kind of art form – the portrait doll. They represented various personalities of interwar Paris – Picasso, Matisse, Josephine Baker, and the artist herself. Vassilieff’s dolls were not merely craft – she considered her creations as works of art. As we examine her dolls, we will consider their role as objets d’art and the breakdown of artistic hierarchies they imply. We will learn about the Dada movement and the women involved. We will discuss the signification of the doll itself – its traditional link with femininity and discover the ways in which Vassilieff upends its meaning.
Week 3: Defying Gender
Travel back in time to Suzanne Valadon’s world in Montmartre. A model turned artist, Valadon devoted her career to the subject she knew best – the nude. As a lower-class woman and single mother, she must have assumed that she had nothing to lose. She audaciously exhibited male nudes at an important art Salon in Paris. Shocked, one critic called her an “old slut,” but that didn’t deter her. We will examine Valadon’s male nudes in paintings and in drawings. We will see how this artist became an active agent of her own sexuality and depicted the male body as shaped by her own desires.
Week 4: The Model's Gaze
As a former model, Valadon was acutely aware of the gaze – how the body is typically displayed as an object for male viewers – but she was also perceptive to the ways class and gender shape identity and subjectivity. From her unique and embodied vantage point, which I call the model’s gaze, Valadon reclaimed woman as subject. She painted female bodies that do not conform to standard ideals of beauty. She then turned the model’s gaze on herself. Toward the end of her career, she captured her aging body with a truthful and unflattering eye in the first known old-age nude self-portrait. We will look at Valadon’s female nudes and nude self-portraits and discuss the poignant ways in which they resonate with gender theory formulated over half a century later.
Week 5: Painting Pleasure
In her representations of the nude, Émilie Charmy explored female sexuality in paint. Often, she used her own body in lieu of a model’s creating daring self-portraits. Painting the female nude in a sensual manner with opulent brushwork and vivid color, she captured both a visual and tactile representation of the body. We will learn why Charmy hid some of her work from the public and where it can be found today. We will examine Charmy’s paintings up close and discover how a woman painted pleasure one century ago.
- The Experience -
Connect with friends around the world to explore art, history and culture
In January, 2020, I met Joan Libera and Sumi Shohara at the Louvre. I led them on a tour of the Leonardo Exhibition. Unbeknownst to us at the time, tourism would come to a complete standstill with the rapid spread of Covid-19. In March, under a nationwide lockdown in France, I stopped leading tours and turned my attention to writing.
Unexpectedly, I got an email from Sumi that brightened my day. She wrote,
"I am interested in supporting the wonderful people engaged in the arts and tourism and was wondering if you are conducting virtual tours, or art seminars. I recall that you were preparing to deliver a presentation on female artists in Chicago this spring. Perhaps a lay-persons version of that presentation? "
We decided to launch a pilot webinar to enable exploration at a time when travel was not possible, and to get friends together no matter where they happened to be. Sumi and Joan gathered their friends from around the world, and I conceived a series of seminars on the women artists I had already been researching for over five years. My goal was to teach modern art through the eyes of women and bring their forgotten work into the spotlight. Sumi served as host extraordinaire. She also had the brilliant idea to have a percentage of the proceeds go to World Central Kitchen. "I want to feed people," she said. With Sumi's marketing expertise and experience in customer advocacy, we refined and polished the webinar taking everyone's feedback into account.
The pilot evolved into a close-knit community of people stretching across the globe, coming together each week to learn and discuss art history. At the end of each meeting, everyone shared feedback.
Here are a just a few of those testimonials:
This has been extremely inspirational to the point of making me want to cry.
The women have had such a hard time to represent themselves and it’s unfair.
I’m pretty much in awe. I don’t have a great background in art. It’s been a wonderful experience because I’m looking at stuff now and seeing things that I would have turned my nose up at prior to this.
Carmen, Bucharest, Romania
Lauren, it was wonderful to discover so many insights. It was really engaging the way you spoke about art and its historical context. What I liked the most was the time concept of Henri Bergson and how it related – that was really interesting.
Join an intimate community of art enthusiasts or create your own experience exclusively for you and your friends.
Upcoming webinar series:
Sundays at 1:30 pm EST, October 18-November 15
Try the first session at no risk! If you decide not to continue with the webinar for any reason,
I will refund 100% of the remaining 4 sessions. Please request refund before the second week.
*To streamline the booking process, only one date appears in the booking system. However,
the event is a series of 5 seminars and your booking includes them all.*
Webinars are sold in packs of 5 at 20 dollars per session.
Each webinar is limited to a maximum of 12 people to enable lively and engaging discussions.
Held on the same day and time each week, each session is 90 minutes.
No background in art necessary. All that's required is a curious mind.
*If you would like to propose a specific date and time, or if you have any questions,