How to Draw the Human Figure: The Drawings of Grace Young
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I revised the ebook of figure drawings by Grace Young to include information and examples of the practice and technique of figure drawing at the time she made her student notebook in the 1920s and other information I have learned about the time including notes on the school she attended, which was the first design school for women in the United States.
See a printed edition of the book at Amazon.com: How To Draw The Human Figure: The Drawings Of Grace Young or view a preview at Google Books: How to Draw the Human Figure: The Drawings of Grace Young By Tom Richardson
The Philadelphia school was one of the earliest in the United States in which female students could draw from the male and female nude figure models in life drawing classes.
Other references about women art students participating in life drawing classes:
Life Drawing Class at the Henry Moore Instutute, Leeds.
The studios of Frances and Margaret Macdonald By Janice Helland
Second report of the Royal commissioners on technical instruction, Volume 1, By Great Britain. Royal Commission on Technical Instruction, Henry Michael Jenkins, London, 1884
The room for drawing from the life was occupied both by male and female students, who were drawing from the draped female model. In another room students were engaged in modelling from the life, also from the draped female figure.
Concise dictionary of women artists By Delia Gaze
From Harper's Magazine, Volume 51, 1875
But there is one point where the results are less satisfactory. The best designs which include the human figure have still to be obtained from the Continent; and these being of especial importance in pottery, the great porcelain factories say that their needs can not yet be met by English art schools. The truth is, there is an opposition in controlling quarters to permitting studies of the female nude at South Kensington. This inhibition especially hampers the female pupils, who do, perhaps, the greater part of the ornamental work. In the male school the male nude is studied; and many of the male students—those particularly who mean to devote themselves to fine, as distinguished from decorative, art—unite to employ female models in rooms outside of the school. It is as difficult to see what benefit is secured by modesty in thus placing a necessary study beyond the regulation of the masters, who might preserve decorum, as it is to find any advantage to religion gained by shutting the door to the pictorial gospels of Raphael on Sunday, and keeping open the door of the gin-shop. Both the piety and the prudery are anomalous. The Zoological and the Botanical Gardens in London, the Dublin Museum, Hampton Court, and Kew Gardens are all open on Sunday, while the museums and galleries of the metropolis are closed. The Royal Academy has nude models of both sexes, under the same government which prohibits the like~at South Kensington. The queerest anomaly, however, is that of the Slade School of Art at University College, whore the vexed question has been settled by permitting the male pnpils to have female models, and the female pupils to have male models! This restriction of the ladies to (nearly) nude models of the other sex, strange as it may seem, was made in the interest of propriety, as it was thought improper for the masters to enter and instruct them in the presence of a female model.
These restrictions, as has been said, fall most heavily upon the female pupils. It might be supposed that if at South Kensington the male pupils may study the male nude, the female pupils might have the corresponding privilege with models of their own sex; but the fact is, the young female artists are not permitted to see so much of their model as they would be required to reveal of their own persons at one of her Majesty's Drawing-rooms. There has consequently not one good figure painter ever graduated from the female classes at South Kensington. The head-master, Mr. Burchett, himself an able figure painter, knows well, as all experienced figure painters in Europe know, that female models are far ofteuer secured from vice by their occupation than exposed to it, and that life schools are not inconsistent with decorum, uuder proper management; and he (Mr. Burchett) has made efforts, one of which was to have the model incased in flesh tights, to secure for his pupils the advantages so freely offered in Continental schools. But his contrivances have been stopped by threats of Parliamentary questions. It is no doubt in good part due to this limitation that South Kensington can not yet point to any high results in the direction of the tine arts. Young men of genius will continue to prefer schools which are without such restrictions. And it can only be ascribed to the consummate care with which studies of the antique are conducted, and to the full supply of the finest casts offered by the museum, that decorative art itself at South Kensington has suffered so little from the limitation referred to. For it is certain that the human figure is the key to all other forms in natnre. It is certain also that the female form is the very flower of all natural beauty—" the sum of every creature's best," as Shakespeare says of Perdita—and no arrangements for art training can be considered complete which do not include accessibility to snch studies of the same as are required by those who have given evidence of their fitness to interpret the sacred secrets of nature.
If, in now speaking of Art Schools, I refer first to the Slade School in London, it is to note it as the place where these pernicious modes of study first took their origin; to be afterwards introduced at South Kensington and elsewhere. At this school mere boys are allowed to draw from naked women ; and when I told the late Professor Hiibner, Director of the Dresden Gallery, that I had myself seen at this place young men and maidens drawing from the same male model, naked save for a mere wisp of clothing, he thanked God fervently that it was impossible to witness such a sight anywhere in Germany. For many years I was officially connected with the Government Art Department at South Kensington, and was well acquainted with its working. During that time not a shilling was expended on naked female models, and it was understood that a minute of Council forbade the application of public funds for such a purpose in all the Government Schools, Of course this was in reference to male students only, no one at that time ever dreaming of such means of study being provided for female students.
Now all is changed. At the South Kensington Exhibition this year of student work, selected for award from the various Government schools, there were only three studies of naked women, but all done by female students, thus trained at public expense to assist in the degradation of their sex. The mode in which such studies are corrected at South Kensington is as follows :—-A male and female teacher sit together with the naked model before them, from whom the drawings to he supervised have been made. He criticises, and she subsequently conveys his remarks to the students. At an art school in one of the chief provincial cities, this arrangement sinks to a still lower depth of debasement, for there the " middle woman" is dispensed with, and a master directly instructs a class of female students, drawing and painting from a naked female model. The result of all this miserable work is to female students useless from a professional point of view, for even if they gained any increase of skill from such study it is quite inapplicable to forms of art work within the compass of their powers to execute successfully.
Report of the Proceedings of the Church Congress, held at Portsmouth, 1885
In happy contrast to what I have been describing, I have much pleasure in calling your attention to practical and successful efforts made by two ladies, independently of each other, in the highest interests of female students and models, by the establishment of Art Colleges admirably conducted on Christian principles. Miss Mayor, whose 2ealous work at Rome must be well-known to many present, has, in addition to the management of her very efficient Art School, organised evening classes for Italian models, at which, with the ready assistance of her pupils, she gives the poor creatures some education, and what is as valuable to them in their calling, heartfelt sympathy and advice in their daily life. This good work is producing most gratifying results, including the fact that some of the girls who formerly sat as naked models have now quite given up doing so. A lady who has lived for years amongst artists writes to Miss Mayor as follows about these classes —" I am very glad your school for models has been persevered in; growing as it does out of the Art College. It may be the expiation which art owes to generations of human beings, who have gifts to the painter and the sculptor, and for whose souls no man has cared."
Female Art Students, Pratt Institute, ca. 1890.
The Year's art By Marcus Bourne Huish, David Croal Thomson, Albert Charles Robinson Carter
The Upper School of Painting is open from 10 A.m. till 3 P.M. for the special study and practice of the Art of Painting, instruction being given by the Visitor (a member of the Academy), assisted by the Curator. No student can enter this school without having first fulfilled the conditions required in passing through the Preliminary School of Painting, or for entering the School of Modelling from the Life. The classes in this school are (i.) painting from the head, life size ; for male and female students. Twelve days a month.—(ii.) Painting from the nude living model ; for male students only. Twelve days a month.—(iii.) Painting from the draped living model ; for female students only. Twelve days a month.
The School of Drawing from the Life, for male students only, is open from 5 till 7 P.M. for the study of drawing from the nude, instruction being given by the Visitor, assisted by the Curator; and the model is chosen by the Visitor, subject to the approval of the Keeper. Students who have passed into the School of Modelling from the Life are admitted to draw in this school. Students in the upper division of the Architectural School are admitted to this school on a somewhat lower standard of skill in draughtsmanship and modelling than is required from other students.
The School of Modelling from the Life is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 10 A.M. till 3 P.M., and every evening from 6 till 8 P.M., the latter for males only, for the more special study and practice of the Art of Sculpture, instruction being given by the Visitor, assisted by the Curator ; and the model is chosen by the Visitor, subject to the approval of the Keeper. The classes are (i.) model of a head and extremities from the living model. Day school ; male and female.—(ii.) The nude living model. Day and evening ; male students only.— (iii.) The partially draped male model. Day school; female students only.
The debate concerning models and morals intensified around the issue of female artists and the nude. The cultural expansion of the 19th century resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of art schools and a growing specialization within the curriculum of most academies. By the mid-1890s, for modeling, drawing and painting. The importance accorded to the figure in high art made women determined to gain admission to life classes, yet for much of the century they were banned from those held at such prestigious schools as the Ecole des Beaux Arts and the academies of Antwerp, Dresden, and Florence...
Female Art Students at the Newlyn Art School.
The Architect and Contract Reporter: a Weekly Illustrated Journal, Volume 6, 1871
ART EDUCATION AT THE LONDON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE.
AN inaugural lecture, open to the public, was delivered at the University College, Gower Street, on Wednesday last, by E. J. Poynter, Esq., A.R.A., having reference to the commencement of a course of fine art study in connection with this institution. Commencing his lectura, which was most attentively listened to throughout by a large audience, Sir. Poynter remarked that it was owing to the liberality and munificence of the lute Mr. Felix Slade that ibis school had been founded, and this gentleman had also given six scholarships of 501. per annum each, ami tenable for three years, to be awarded to students for proficiency in the Fine Arts. It was considered that the objects of the donor would be the most advantageously carried put by founding a practical school of art; and the fulfilment of this project must certainly be beneficial. Excepting the Royal Academy, there was no school (the lecturer proceeded to remark) of any importance for the student of high art; but there were doubtless in London numerous private schools of art, and also various societies where artiste subscribed to meet together for the purpose of studying from the living model. These, however, could not be considered of much utility to the student; and having in regard the large number of art students in London and the paucity of opportunities provided them for increasing their knowledge and gaining useful instruction, it was certainly to be presumed that there was abundance of room for a school devoted to the study of Fine Art like the one inaugurated on the present occasion. The prospectus which he had issued would show the system intended to be pursued—giving preference to the study of the living model. The system of instruction prevailing in this country some years ago, and not by any means extinct in modern schools of art, appeared to be the cause of that want of sound knowledge of drawing and painting which was commonly found in English artists as compared with their foreign confreres. This system he (Mr. Poynter) described as a lengthened course of study from the antique before permission is giveu to draw from the living model. This system was amenable to numerous objections. It reversed the natural order of things, inasmuch as it debarred the- student from acquiring that knowledge of the construction of the human form which could only be properly obtained from a study of the living model. Experience had amply proved the difficulty which a student found in connecting the forms in the antique model with those given in the anatomical books and figures before he had learned to adequately understand them in the living figure. In France, the lecturer stated, a different order of things prevailed in these matters than was found in England; and he also alluded to the advantages afforded to the student abroad by the practice, more or less extensively adopted by artists, of employing pupils or assistants, thus enabling the young beginner to acquire a species of practical and useful knowledge otherwise unattainable.
Marie Bashkirtseff - In the Studio. L'Atelier Julian, Obra de Marie Bashkirtseff, Figuration Féminine post.
Granite: Published in the interests of the producer, Volume 13, 1903
Art Students of New York