Les grandes dames de l’art

Marie Vassilieff
04.03.2022

Fanny Michaëlis, Marie Vassilieff, 2022
© Fanny Michaëlis

The podcast “Les grandes dames de l’art” (“Great women of art”) gives a voice to the women artists of the 20th century. They talk about their work, their life, the world around them, and their achievements. Let us go in search of their presence, their secrets. Let us rediscover the hidden stories of women artists through their voices.

For this second season, we open a new chapter that plunges us into the Paris of the inter-war period, the decade that became notoriously known as the Roaring Twenties. What did the wildness of this decade consist of? It is largely due to women who flourished in this welcoming capital, lived their lives as they wanted, and became artists on equal footing with men. They played a primordial role in the construction of modernity, and we are rediscovering them today.

Many of them came from abroad to settle in Paris, where they knew they would find private academies for their training and a growing avant-garde in which they could find their place. This was the case for Marie Vassilieff, born in 1884 in Smolensk. Thanks to a grant from the Tsarina, this intrepid young Russian, whose parents intended for her to study medicine, opted for art, started her training at the Academy of Saint Petersburg, and in 1905, at the age of 21, settled in the Montparnasse district. She would later say: “Yes, it’s me, Marie Vassilieff, very small, very blond, very round, very gray eyes, very short hair and who has been living for twenty years in this hell, this unique paradise that is Paris”. Her joyful voice and her tenacious character take us on an adventure, and show us what it was like to be an artist at the beginning of the century.

“Les grandes dames de l’art” is a podcast produced by AWARE: Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions, in collaboration with the INA, with the support of Maison Veuve Clicquot and the Ministry of Culture.

Coordinated by: Mathilde de Croix and the AWARE team
Directed by: Élodie Royer
Music by: Juliano Gil
Credits and Sound Editing: Basile Beaucaire
Scientific Advisors: Catherine Gonnard and Véronique Jolivet
Translation: Beth Gordon
French Voice: Camille Morineau

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