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Renata Borgatti, Au Piano

1920 Romaine Brooks Born: Rome, Italy 1874 Died: Nice, France 1970 oil on canvas 55 7/8 x 74 1/4 in. (141.8 x 188.7 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the artist 1968.18.13 Not currently on view


Exhibition Label

Renata Borgatti, au Piano marked an important transition for Brooks. It is the earliest painting in which an identified female sitter displays an androgynous style that deliberately subverts gender norms and so inaugurates the artist's exploration of heroic lesbian identity. Borgatti was a professional pianist with whom Brooks began a brief affair while living on the island of Capri. Here Brooks returned to the theme she explored in Le Piano, but now presented woman as the producer rather than consumer of musical artistry.

The Art of Romaine Brooks, 2016

Keywords

Allegory - arts and sciences - music

Figure(s) in interior - domestic

Performing arts - music - piano

Portrait female - Borgatti, Renata

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas