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Romaine Brooks

About The Author

Romaine Brooks (1874–1970) was an American painter most known for her muted color palette and deeply personal portraits that challenged conventional ideas of gender and sexuality. Among her sitters were the dancer Ida Rubinstein and the poet and novelist Natalie Barney. She spent most of her life in Paris, where she was a leading figure of an artistic counterculture of upper-class Europeans and American expatriates, many of whom were creative, bohemian, and homosexual. Brooks’s career reached its height in 1925, when her work was exhibited in London, Paris, and New York. In the 1930s, Brooks began work on her autobiography, No Pleasant Memories, which consists of sketches of her troubled childhood, musings on artists’ roles in society, and reflections on her own rejection of the norms and traditions of art. Largely forgotten by art history, Brooks bequeathed a number of her paintings to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, where recent exhibitions have sparked a renewed interest in her work.

Books by Romaine Brooks