Audrey Hepburn reads under umbrella in The Nun’s Story. Belgian Congo, © Leo Fuchs, 1958.
In 1930, in Belgium, Gabrielle van der Mal decides to leave her the upper-class family to enter a convent, expecting to work as nun in Congo with tropical diseases. She subjects herself to the stringent rules of the retrograde institution, including interior silent and excessive humbleness and humiliation.
Liseuse sur un canapé. Georges d’Espagnat (French, 1870-1950). Oil on canvas.
D’Espagnat went on to become one of the most individualistic of 20th century French painters. Although associated with many of the greatest names in 20th century art, and though his work has at various times been identified as Fauve, Nabis or Impressionist, he retained his own individuality.
Alice White (1904-1983) reading with her Chow puppy.
White began her career as a secretary and script girl, working for Josef von Sternberg and Charles Chaplin. A sexy and bubbly player, she was repeatedly miscast as a singer-dancer. She toured the vaudeville circuit after her career spluttered, returning to Hollywood only to get involved in a sex scandal in 1933 with her boyfriend, actor Jack Warburton, and future husband Sy Bartlett.
Mary Reading (1915-16). Edmund Charles Tarbell (American, 1862–1938). Oil on canvas.
Tarbell is particularly associated with figural impressionism, and his works include human subjects (often lovely young women) outdoors in bright sunlight, as well as indoor scenes of women engaged in quiet activities that recall the works of Jan Vermeer. The artist’s soundly constructed compositions reflect his teaching methods as well as the lifestyle and accoutrements that were part of his genteel upbringing.