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Susan Stewart Waller
Curators of the University of Missouri (Columbia, MO 65211-3020)
Posing as Art: Cleo de Merode and Gwendolyn John as Artist's Models

This project will examine how work as an artist's model factored into the careers of Cleo de Merode and Gwendolyn John. Today de Merode is known as a ballet dancer and John is recalled as a reclusive painter of intimate interiors. Both women, however, also were models: de Merode for Alexandre Falguiere's nude figure of The Dancer, and John for Auguste Rodin's The Muse. Although the trope of the male artist and female model pervades modernist literature and art, until recently histories of art have reduced the artist/model transaction to a formula in which the model is the passive female object of the desiring male gaze. Current scholarship has begun to employ alternative methodologies. The caeers of these women offer an opportunity to explore the artist/model transaction during the French Third Republic, an historical moment when the social identity of the model, conditions of artistic production, and the status of women in civil society were undergoing a fundamental shift.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2008 – 7/31/2008