Marie Bashkirtseff (1858-1884)
The Russian Maria Konstantinovna Bashkirtseva, scion of a rich nobleman's family, travelled to Europe with her mother as a child. The talented and exceptionally ambitious young woman studied at the renowned Académie Julian in Paris, one of the few academies to admit female students.
Bashkirtseff very quickly developed an extensive oeuvre characterised by a slightly academic, naturalistic style. In 1884, her painting 'The Meeting' was exhibited at the Salon in Paris, but to her great indignation it won no prizes. At the time, she was already suffering from TB and wanted nothing more than to be remembered as a great artist. She died in October of that same year, aged 25.
Marie Bashkirtseff later primarily became known for her candid diary that she wrote starting when she was 13. She also wrote a famous exchange of letters to Guy de Maupassant. As an early proponent of female emancipation in 1881 she wrote: “Aimons les chiens ; aimons seulement les chiens ! Les hommes et les chats sont des créatures indignes”.