The Little Knitter
November 07, 2012
This has always been one of my favorite knitting pictures, The Little Knitter by William-Adolphe Bougeureau, 1879. The little girl looks Italian, or French; she's on a street in Rome, or Paris, and somehow you just know that despite the fact that she makes stockings, she is barefoot underneath her skirts. But behind that expression that says, "Oh, right, another artist? Sure, I'll stand here knitting -- while you pay me!" (somehow I don't think she got paid much), she is happy. She knits while she fetches things from the shops for her mother, or while she goes to tend goats or sheep or whatever, but she is really happy, because she can knit. It gives her something to have pride in, and it's a way to earn solid money. She knows it's fun, too.
William-Adolphe Bougeureau was the greatest artist of his time; but he is little known now. He painted at the best schools, in the Academic style, won many awards, and exhibited in the Paris Salon for his entire working life. He was known throughout Europe. He married, had children, bought a big house in Montparnasse. He rose steadily in his career and never had a setback. But as much as he was loved by the traditionalists, he was equally reviled by the avante-garde. In the words of the bumper sticker, "He who wins the war, gets to write the history."
So you have probably heard of artists like Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne -- and their work is beautiful, I don't want to say otherwise -- but after his death, after 826 paintings, Bougeureau was outcast, he wan't even mentioned in many encyclopedias.
But, I have always loved The Little Knitter.
I can't believe he wasn't mention even in enclopedias. That is an injustice to a talented man.
Posted by: brandi | November 07, 2012 at 08:06 AM