Madame(s) X: Muses, Makers, & Shifting Identities

Homer Winslow - Portrait of Helena de Kay

Exploring the different ways that female artistic identity constructed through creation, negotiation, and collaboration in an era when women did not have the right to vote,  this Olio revises modernist myths of artistic creation to underscore the central role of female muses in self-fashioning and myth-making.  

Behind some of the defining works of early modernism, from Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu to John Singer Sargent’s notoriously shape-shifting portrait of Madame X, lies the lesser known biographies of the late 19th century women who inspired them. What did it mean to toe that line between art and life in an age when women’s rights were strictly curtailed? This Olio focuses on the multivalent roles of women in the arts in the 19th century, highlighting the remarkable biographies of Sarah Bernhardt, Virginie-Amelie Avegno, and Helena de Kay. What can we learn from the indelible mark left by these women at the turn of the 19th century? 


Join art historian Ted Barrow at Strand's Rare Book Room to explore these questions and more.




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue for our Friday night residency.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month



Other upcoming Olios


Sep 17

Our Pornographic Education

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7:30 p.m. at Crystal Lake

Sign Up - $15

Sep 18

Mediated Intimacy: The Dating App Landscape

Taught by Pani Farvid
7 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Sep 19

* Sold Out * OlioTrip | Cienfuegos, Cuba

Taught by Teresita Levy
10 a.m. at Cienfuegos, Cuba

Sign Up - $

Sep 23

New York, The Neoliberal City

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at The Old Stone House

Sign Up - $15

Sep 26

Living Room Salon | 'Dirty Computers', Voice & Visibility

Taught by Kashema Hutchinson
8 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Sep 29

Olio FieldTrip | Skateboarding and Modern Art

Taught by Ted Barrow
1 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $30

Oct 4

Modern Privacy: Reclaiming Our Self Narratives

Taught by Lawrence Cappello
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Oct 15

Olio Seminar | Kafka will Ruin Your Life and Make You Laugh About it

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Strong Rope Brewery

Sign Up - $60

Oct 22

The Fear of Leisure

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7:30 p.m. at Threes Brewing // Greenpoint

Sign Up - $15


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