In a partner program to the Figge Museum's French Moderns exhibition, a free art talk at the Rock Island Public Library tells the story of Midwest women painting in France during the early 20th century.
Art historian Cynthia Wiedemann Empen, Ph.D, will reveal a lesser known picture of the art scene in France in "Rock Island to Concarneau: Midwest Women Moderns in Brittany," at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the Rock Island Downtown Library, 401 19th Street.
Empen will discuss early women artists who were drawn to study at French art colonies for training and inspiration. Women artists contributed significantly to the reputation of Concarneau as a modern international art center. A range of female painters visited the maritime art colony, including Rock Island artist Irma Rene' Koen. Their visions of intense light, picturesque coastal scenery, and the Breton people helped establish this port city as one of the most painted cities in France.
The free lecture draws upon Empen's research into Koen's visit to France in 1923-24 and considers other acclaimed Midwest women moderns who painted in Brittany during the early 20th century.