Reading by Candlelight (by 1870). Attributed to Petrus van Schendel (Belgian, 1806–1870). Oil on wood.
In the 19th century, Petrus van Schendel acquired great fame with his representations of candlelight scenes. The artist brilliantly employed the ever changing quality of light to reveal the world of the night. In this work, the candle provides the only light but it creates varying degrees of brightness. The woman is able to read her book but items in the background are in almost total darkness.
Willem Johannes Weissenbruch
Lisa Fonssagrives reading with dog. Photo by Irving Penn. Vogue, July 1, 1952.
In 1947, Penn was asked to make a group portrait of the twelve most photographed beauties of that era. At that session, he met Lisa Fonssagrives, a Swedish-born beauty at the height of her glory. She was a few years older than he and worldlier, having lived for some time in artistic circles in Paris. (Like her first husband, she began as a dancer.) She and Penn fell in love, and they were married in 1950.
Metropolitan Magazine, August 1905.
Woman in billowing white dress reading on a small grassy hillside near a copse of trees. She seems to be using beads and a handkerchief to keep the pages open. Metropolitan Magazine started out as a sophisticated monthly aimed at the in-crowd — New York City theater-goers — and those that wished to be in that exclusive crowd.
Student reading. Mid-Year Fashions. For The Girl In And Out of College. Vogue, December 1950. Photography: Diane and Allan Arbus.
In 1946, after the war, the Arbuses began a commercial photography business called Diane & Allan Arbus, with Diane as art director and Allan as the photographer. They contributed to Glamour, Seventeen, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and other magazines even though “they both hated the fashion world.”