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Gender, Models, Painters and Artistic Entrepreneurship: The Case of the Académie Vitti in Paris (1889–1914)

Maria Antonietta Trasforini


The Académie Vitti, located at 49 Boulevard Montparnasse in Paris, was active from 1889 to 1914 and constituted a singular case among art schools. Founded by the Italian Cesare Vitti with his wife Maria Caira and her sisters Anna and Giacinta, the academy stood out in that it was open to women and allowed them to work in co-educational classes with nude models. This fluidity and interpenetration between various social worlds, which seemed in appearance immiscible, provides a glimpse into the history of individuals that initially belonged to a form of artistic working class or underclass and made their way towards more “entrepreneurial” circles. It highlights the social and professional world of Italian models – men and women – at a time when the modern art market was taking shape in the capital of the arts.


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