A brave woman who adores art, a noble long-liver, who has something to tell about great love and the greatest catastrophe … This is how Rose, the surviving passenger of the Titanic, appears in the famous film by James Cameron. The director was inspired to create this image by the artist Beatrice Wood. And the biography of Beatrice fascinates no less than the sensational movie …
Beatrice was born in 1893 into a wealthy Victorian family, preoccupied with rules and conventions. But her parents' lifestyle was not to her liking - and they were worried about her daughter's excessive love of freedom (although not enough to deprive her of content). She dreamed of being … someone bohemian. By whom? Not that important. The family moved to New York, but the financial support of her parents allowed the girl to regularly visit Europe. Having brilliantly mastered French, Beatrice conquered the theatrical stage of Paris, met Anna Pavlova and Vaclav Nijinsky. Anna Pavlova's choreographer staged two "Russian" dances for Beatrice, with which she later successfully performed at charity evenings. Then she met several "fashionable" artists. At first, she did not like this "new art". But soon, largely under the influence of her friends, she tried herself in painting. She visited Giverny several times - the city that inspired the Impressionists. Beatrice started to work in ceramics by accident, when she bought several Japanese plates and wanted a "complete" teapot, but could not find a suitable one anywhere. A friend half-jokingly recommended that Beatrice blind him herself, and she caught fire with this idea.
For many years, Beatrice experimented, achieving that very metallic luster. And even if she did not reveal the secret of the Japanese masters, many unusual bowls and sculptures were born, so unlike the decent European ceramics.
The Dadaists - the most scandalous artistic movement of the first half of the 20th century - are often and deservedly accused of misogyny. Artists who declared war on academic art, bourgeois society, morality and politicians saw women as objects of creative manipulation rather than equal creators. However, it was within Dadaism that artists appeared who, in spite of everything, turned the idea of the role of women, deserved the respect of skeptical colleagues and “created” contemporary art. Claude Caon, Hannah Heh, Clara Ty … and Beatrice Wood - the uncrowned queen, Mama Dada. She was fascinated by one of the founders of Dada, not particularly generous in praise for the artists - Marcel Duchamp. Together with him in the United States, Beatrice published a magazine dedicated to Dada.
In the 1930s, Beatrice opened a workshop in Los Angeles and began an independent life. She did everything herself - communicated with customers and buyers, sculpted and burned, kept accounting. Miss Wood's creative method was something like this: a few topical subjects (including female images of that time - careerist, fashionista, temptress), archaic, primitive plastic and a sea of experiments. “I make the icing like a sauce,” she explained. All her figures and glazes were created purely intuitively.This fully corresponded to the ideas of the Dadaists, and then of the Surrealists, who glorified the involuntary, the irrational, the inexplicable - everything that is opposite to balanced, thoughtful academic art. But if her colleagues “automatically” combined words or fragments of collages, Beatrice created “random glazes”.
Beatrice was a vegetarian, did not drink alcohol, was fond of theosophy, became interested in Krishnaism in her mature years and was friends with several gurus in the United States. She visited India several times and became deeply imbued with Indian culture, which affected both her works and the style of clothing. The image of Beatrice Wood became another of her masterpieces - long gray hair, colored sarees, an abundance of silver jewelry. In India, her heart remained forever - a passionate romance was not crowned with a wedding, the difference in cultures and the marriage traditions of India prevented.
Beatrice nevertheless was married twice, but these unions were rather spiritual, devoid of marital intimacy. She started passionate novels outside of bourgeois prejudices, but without regret she abandoned unfaithful or disgusted lovers. Not a single man who was touched by Beatrice's attention was never able to expel her from his heart. Wood's list of partners included sculptor Constantin Brancusi, photographer Man Ray, infamous writer Anais Nin.
In 1961, an exhibition of Beatrice was held in Japan. What she presented to the public looked strange even against the backdrop of the Asian master experimenters. One of the collectors praised her ceramics, but did not forget to criticize: "You use too much color." Beatrice laughed. Everything in her life has always been "too" - too much color, too much creativity, too much love … "This is because I live in a pink world and a blue house under the bright sun!" - answered the artist. This answer obviously amused the Japanese - and pleased him. This is how Beatrice Wood's works ended up in private collections in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Beatrice Wood has lived a fantastically bright … and long life. She died at the age of one hundred and five years, until the last minutes remained creative and did not forget about the potter's wheel. At ninety, she began writing an autobiography, which was read by director David Cameron while working on the film Titanic. He personally met with the artist, talked to her, noticed the subtlest nuances of her facial expressions, gestures …
She herself was not a passenger on the Titanic … unless you consider the Titanic as a metaphor for political and social crises in 20th century Europe, the end of the old world and the insane abyss of the coming war. Beatrice Wood inspired talented people during her lifetime - and much longer. She is also considered one of the founders of feminist art, rejecting the canons and drawing inspiration from the historical female experience.
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