About This Blog

American Girls Art Club in Paris 1893

I started this blog back in 2011, when I found out I would be spending a year in Paris.

I had a newly empty nest, and I finally had the freedom to follow the dreams I’d had on hold for many years. As you pack up your youngest child for college, you have a lot of time to ponder that big question: What’s Next?

My husband got a one-year job offer in Paris and I was free to join him.

I knew I had to make my time in Paris my own, to put my signature on it. I decided to follow my passions in art, history and literature, and to follow in the footsteps of the American artists and writers who had traveled to Paris before me. Especially the women.

I have a thing for women’s history in the late 19th century. My senior history thesis was on the Woman’s Club Movement in America from 1890-1920. It’s such a great era. Women’s roles were undergoing a radical change between Victorianism and the era of “The New Woman.” Daring women could take off their corsets, ride a bike, pursue a career, and even travel to Paris with other women.

Some of the American women artists and writers who traveled to Paris in those years are well known. We’ve all heard of Mary Cassatt, Edith Wharton and Gertrude Stein. But there were so many more, names who might not be as familiar, like Elizabeth Gardner, Cecilia Beaux, Lilla Cabot Perry, Janet Scudder, The Emmet Sisters, Anna Klumke, May Alcott, and more. What did they hope to find when they came to Paris? How did it change them? What could they teach me about the second half of my life?

In the spirit of those adventuresome women who came before, I decided to name my blog after a real boarding house called American Girls Art Club in Paris. The Club opened its doors In 1893 at 4 Rue de Chevreuse near the Luxembourg Gardens, intending to provide proper room and board to the growing numbers of female art students from the United States. AGAC was a rambling, four-story yellow building with a courtyard and gardens. Click here to read a post I wrote about the history of the Club.

I’ve taken what I learned from my year in Paris and have returned to the States for the second half of my life with a renewed sense of inspiration. I’m painting in oils and pursuing my French, and I update this blog whenever I feel the spirit. Maybe I’ve read a good book set in France or I’ve stumbled upon some interesting tidbit about art, history or travel. I hope you’ll follow along.

Margie White, Founder, American Girls Art Club in Paris

Feel free to comment on this blog or reach out to me on Twitter at @parisartclub. I can be reached by email at parisartclub@gmail.com.

 

17 thoughts on “About This Blog

  1. Look forward to following you as I am taking my second trip to Paris this coming Spring 2012. It is my City….adore it…… Good Luck and happy writing….

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  2. Have you read Une Parisienne à Chicago by Marie Grandin? I’m half way through it right now. An artist and his wife went to Chicago because he had been commission to create a sculpture for the World’s Fair. While he worked she wrote a book of her impressions. Its a fun to read what was different then and compare it to today.

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    • Yes, I have! Glad you enjoyed it too! I love the interconnection between Chicago and Paris during this time period. Did you read it in French or the recent English translation by Mary Beth Raycraft? In Raycraft’s Introduction, she shares a fascinating discovery. Marie Grandin returned to Paris after the World’s Fair but then divorced her husband and returned to the United States with a younger man. Chicago must have had a big impact on her, non? –Margie

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  3. I stumbled on your blog, and so glad I did! I love France, and your book suggestions look great! Look forward to reading more. Cheers, Mrs. J

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  4. Had read Sarah’s Key over a year ago and planned to view the geographical points on this visit but I left the book at home… so in searching for info on the Internet I stumbled across this blog. Tomorrow I set out. The post was very helpful.. Every time I come to Paris I bring a French related read. This trip is The Algeria Hotel by Adam Nossiter. I will now explore your blog further, but had to take a minute to say thanks.

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  5. Nice blog !
    Are you still in Paris ?
    Maybe you ll be interested by my parisian cultural club :

    La Vie Parisienne

    Paris, FR
    1,115 Les Parisiens

    Bonjour! If you ‘re interested in French culture and French history, this Paris meet-up is for you! I organize guided visits in English. Some of the themes of my visits are: W…

    Next Meetup

    From Hemingway to Edith Wharton,Amerian Writers in Paris in …

    Friday, Mar 27, 2015, 7:15 PM
    23 Attending

    Check out this Meetup Group →

    Or my blog about Paris and French culture

    edithsparis.com

    Edith W ( not Wharton ….)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello. I just started reading Madame Picasso and stumbled upon your blog. I have also read the Paris Wife and Zelda and thoroughly recommend both.

    I think we are kindred spirits! I am an artist and blogger. I write about art and my travels and books as well!

    I was lucky enough to accompany my husband to Paris in March and wrote multiple posts about the awesome adventure.

    Wonderful blog!!!

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    • I just found your blog while researching background for my book club, on All the Light We Cannot See. Love your blog; love Paris! I’ve been 4 times and it’s never enough. 🙂

      If you are interested, my Young Adult historical novel is coming out in June 2016 (Published by Rebelight Publishing, Canada) and is set in Paris in La Belle Epoque, featuring a young woman struggling for acceptance in the world of art: The Art of Rebellion. Are you interested in reviewing it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not sure if you got my reply. I would love to review your book!! Thanks for asking! Look forward to hearing from you.

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  7. Hi Brenda, thank you for visiting my blog. I absolutely fell in love with Paris, especially from an art and literary history perspective. I would be honored to review your book! Thank you for asking. Please let me know what the next steps are. I look forward to hearing from you.

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