The story of Romaine Brooks, female artist from the early twentieth century, holds a story unique and challenging. This artist contains many struggles and experiences yet continued to make history as an upcoming female artist who would not let the spoils of her early childhood keep her from living the life of a pioneer in the world of art.
Romaine Brooks was born in Rome, Italy, and lived from 1874-1970. Brooks grandfather was a multimillionaire, but Brooks seemingly privileged childhood was not all a cake walk. Brooks parents divorced when she was very young, and shortly after her father completely abandoned the family. Her mother was very emotionally abusive, and often left her in charge of her mentally ill older brother, who grew dangerously paranoid with age. Brooks was later fostered by a poor family in New York, arranged by her mother who eventually stopped paying the foster bills. After the foster family located her grandfather, Brooks was sent to a boarding school until the age of 19, when she went to Paris to live on her own. This is the stage in her life in which the tables turn and she metamorphosed into her individual lifestyle.
In 1903 she married to John Ellingham Brooks, who was homosexual, yet didn’t seem to understand her bisexual nature. They quarreled as soon as she cut her hair short and ordered men’s clothes for a planned walking tour of England. Brooks left him a year later and in 1904 became unhappy with her work, mainly with the bright colors she had originally used. Brooks began to paint in more of a grey scale style, which seemed to hold some sustenance and success for her and would sometimes contain a dash of red or orange often referred to as an Ochre or Umber, a palette she would use for the rest of her career.
Romaine Brooks’ first exhibition was one that would establish her reputation throughout the rest of her artistic career. She took on the area of 16th arrondissement which is the interest in the...