Misia: Muse, Model and Style-Setter for the Avant-Garde 1890-1930

Les Dames Extraordinaires: Passion and Art in the Lives of Three Parisiennes

Wednesday, May 8–Wednesday, May 8 at 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Individual Lecture Tickets: $45
54 W. Chicago Avenue

Register now

Coffee will be served at 11:00 a.m. The lecture begins at 11:30 a.m. 

Like all celebrities, Misia is known on first name basis, a simple one syllable belying her expansive and complicated life as the Polish-born bachelorette Godebeska, and then as Mme Natanson, Mme Edwards, Mme Jose-Marie Sert and as the off and on companion of Coco Chanel.  But she is much more appropriately memorialized not as spouse and partner but as muse and model, not only inspiring them through her intellect and encouragement but through her lifestyle—a continual open house that provided a haven for the intelligentsia in fin de siècle Paris. This lecture will look at MIsia’s precocious and winner-take-all sense of chic and daring, but also her kittenish smile and disarming warmth, that made her so appealing to artists ranging from Renoir to Bonnard, Vuillard and Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as writers, musicians, dancers and modern impresarios like Diaghilev.  

Gloria Groom is currently Chair of European Painting and Sculpture and the David and Mary Winton Green Curator at The Art Institute of Chicago.

An internationally acclaimed scholar and author on 19th Century French painting, she joined the Art Institute in 1985. Since then, she has been involved in major monographic exhibitions and catalogues including Gauguin, Odilon Redon, Caillebotte, Renoir, Manet, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, and thematic exhibitions such as Beyond the Easel: Decorative Paintings of Bonnard, Denis, Roussel and Vuillard, the art dealer Ambroise Vollard (2008), Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity (2012-2013), Van Gogh’s Bedrooms (2016) and Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist. Her current exhibition Manet and Modern Beauty devoted to the little known paintings, pastels, and watercolors of the the artist’s last years, opens at the Art Institute this May and travels to the J.P. Getty Museum, Santa Monica. 

The Symposium on the Arts of France is not only a museum quality lecture program at the Alliance, it provides funding for our Cultural, Educational and Outreach programming each year.

Opportunities are still available for Grand Patron and Patron sponsorships. Please call Conery Hoffman at 312 337-1070 for more information on sponsorship benefits.

Grand Patrons

Frances de Bretteville Blair
Mary S. Blust
Virginia Bobins
Myriam Bransfield
Carole Crosby
Victoria P. Fesmire
Fred Fischer and Heather McWilliams
Cheryl Hammock
Betsy Holleb Karp
Anne Tower Krauss
David E. McNeel
Janis W. Notz
Betsey N. Pinkert
D. Elizabeth Price
Laraine P. Spector
Liz Stiffel
Mary K. Swift
Nancy Traylor
Leslie Zentner

2019 Symposium Steering Committee

Myriam Bransfield, Co-Chair

Mary Blust, Co-Chair

Solange P. Brown
Gloria Groom
Janis W. Notz
Betsey N. Pinkert
Isabelle de la Vauvre

John G. W. McCord
Executive Director

Conery Hoffman
Program Manager

Corporate Partners

Jewell Events Catering
Green Inc
Cecil Beaton The Studio Archive Managed

by Art Agency, Partners


Elisabeth Adams
Liza Aisen
Mary H. Anderson
Elise H. Barack
Roberta Barron
Suzette Bulley
Monique Clarine
Mary Ellen Connellan
Jane Ehrig
Jean P. Elting
Annie Ergas
Monica Fredette
Lili Gaubin
Susan M. Hillman
Libby Horn
Jan Jentes
Kathryn Gibbons Johnson
Virginia Boyles Lawless
Judith Scholl Lee
Fred and Jeanne Lewin
Janice Gunn Lorch
Lisa Klimley Malkin
Doris Marks
John G. W. McCord
Suzanne C. McCormick
Donna McKinney
Carol Montag
Dr. Virginia Mullin
Janet Murphy
Kay O’Malley
Jody E. Pelletiere
Carole R. Sandner
Cheryl Sandner
Diana M. Senior
Pauline Kurtides Sheehan
Beth Smetana
Peggy Snorf
Elizabeth Thiele
H. Randolph and Nancy S. Williams