Azalées Blanches (White Azaleas)

Media - 1966.49.5 - SAAM-1966.49.5_2 - 124679
Copied Romaine Brooks, Azalées Blanches (White Azaleas), 1910, oil on canvas, 59 12107 in. (151.1271.7 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 1966.49.5

Artwork Details

Azalées Blanches (White Azaleas)
Not on view
59 12107 in. (151.1271.7 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of the artist
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Figure female — nude
  • Figure female — full length
  • Architecture Interior — domestic — house
  • Object — flower — azalea
Object Number

Artwork Description

Azalées Blanches was one of Brooks's first paintings of the female nude and the earliest in which she presented an openly erotic figure. The female nude was a ubiquitous subject for Brooks's male contemporaries, but in 1910 a female artist's depiction of the theme was relatively unusual. Brooks's inclusion of this frankly sexual work in her debut exhibition at Durand-Ruel Gallery in Paris was a provocative gesture. Referring to this moment in her unpublished memoir, Brooks wrote, "I grasped every occasion no matter how small, to assert my independence of views." Audience members also recognized Brooks's challenge; a reviewer compared it to Édouard Manet's iconic modern nude Olympia (1863).

The Art of Romaine Brooks, 2016