Instructor: Barbara Zabel
Dates: Jan. 27 – Feb. 24
(Thursdays from 10 AM – 12 PM)
Held in person in our auditorium*
Fee: $125 members / $150 non- members
(by week $30/$35)
Inspired by the allure of Paris, the strong dollar, and affordable passage on transatlantic ocean liners, artists, writers, and jazz musicians flocked to the French capital in the 1920s. The passage of the 18th Amendment in 1919 establishing the prohibition of alcohol had put a damper on social life in postwar America, and prejudice and xenophobia were also on the rise. Paris offered a haven relatively free of social restrictions—and of racism for the many African American artists, jazz musicians, and writers who traveled abroad, among them artists William H. Johnson and Elizabeth Prophet, entertainer Josephine Baker, and poet Langston Hughes.
Other artists whose art we’ll explore include Man Ray, Berenice Abbott, Alexander Calder, Gerald Murphy, and Stuart Davis, all of whom eagerly absorbed French culture while also influencing their hosts, resulting in a dynamic cross-fertilization of ideas. As we’ll see, the art produced abroad registers the tensions between transatlantic and national cultures, between elitist and popular cultures, and between genders and races in the 1920s. A century later, travel restrictions have made it more difficult to set foot on French soil, but at least we can time-travel through the eyes of the artists.
Advanced reservations are required. Please contact the Department of Learning & Engagement at 860.443.2545 x 2128 or email Eileen Donovan.
Unable to attend the live classes? Email Eileen Donovan to enquire about a recorded course package.
About Barbara Zabel
Barbara Zabel is a Professor Emeritus from Connecticut College. Zabel’s teaching and research focus on American and European modernism, issues of gender in machine-age culture, and the genre of portraiture. Over the years, she published scholarly essays in major journals and anthologies, as well as exhibition reviews and essays on contemporary artists and is the author of two books.
Barbara has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, the Smithsonian American of American Art, and the National Portrait Gallery. She continues to curate exhibitions for the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, for which she writes catalogues and involves art history students. Zabel also continues to lecture and teach courses mostly at local venues.
*Class participants will be required to wear a mask and physically distance regardless of vaccination status.