Destination for artists and convalescents, playground of the rich, site of foreign allure, the French Riviera has long attracted visitors to its shores. Ranging through the late nineteenth century, the Belle Epoque, the ‘roaring twenties’, and the emancipatory post-war years, Rosemary Lancaster highlights the contributions of nine remarkable women to the cultural identity of the Riviera in its seminal rise to fame. Embracing an array of genres, she gives new focus to feminine writings never previously brought together, nor as richly critically explored. Fiction, memoir, diary, letters, even cookbooks and choreographies provide compelling evidence of the innovativeness of women who seized the challenges and opportunities of their travels in a century of radical social and artistic change.
Weyerman’s collection of artists’ biographies (1729) is exceptional for three reasons. Firstly, he includes a great number of painters not mentioned elsewhere. Secondly, he does not limit his selection to good artists only; he also discusses failed painters and their abortive careers. Thirdly, he writes as an art critic who does not hesitate to pass judgments, sometimes severe, on his chosen subjects.
In the process, Weyerman provides much information on the social and economic circumstances of art production. He found that a bohemian lifestyle was pernicious to a painter’s career, and argued that artists should live and think as merchants. In addition to analyzing Weyerman’s art critical terminology and his ideas on art theory, De Vries includes translations of two full chapters along with the original Dutch.