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 Katharine Augusta Carl  (1854 - 1938)

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Lived/Active: New York/Louisiana / France/China      Known for: portrait painting, writing

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Kate (Katherine) Augusta Carl is primarily known as Katharine Augusta Carl

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Kate Carl
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An American painter and writer, Katharine Carl is noted for her portrait painting of the Empress Dowager Cixi of China, four canvases she completed for the 1904 St. Louis Exposition.  They were the result of a nine-months visit to China, beginning August 5th in 1903, which was a very unique experience because "she was the only foreigner to live within the precincts of the Chinese imperial court in its last days." She lived in the palace next to the throne room and was with the Empress almost daily.

In 1906, she published a book, With The Empress Dowager of China, about this experience, and a theme of the book was the charm, grace, loyalty, desire for education and kindness of the Empress, who had a reputation for being otherwise amongst some people in China and beyond.  Some of the last words of Carl's book were:  "My sojourn at the Palaces of Her Imperial Majesty the Empress Dowager of Chiny, my association with herself and the Ladies of her Court, I shall always remember as one of the most charming experiences of my life."  ( Also, Carl emphasized that the Empress and her family were Manchus and not of Chinese lineage.

Apparently Carl and the Empress had mutual admiration for each other as from the Empress, Carl received the order of Double Dragon and fifteen hundred guineas as a thank you for the quality of the portraits.

As a young women, Katherine Carl left her birth place of New Orleans around 1859, at age five, and from that time lived in Paris, China and New York City.  She studied at the Academie Julian in Paris.  Among her teachers were Jean-Paul Laurens, Gustave Courtois and William Bouguereau.  In 1890, she won honorable mention for an entry in the Paris Salon.  She also exhibited at the Salon in 1902.

Memberships included the Societe National des Beaux Arts and National Society of French Artists in Paris; and International Society of Women Painters in London

Some years after her initial portrait painting trip to China, Katharine Carl returned to the country, and she died there in 1938.

John Mahe and Rosanne McCaffrey, Encyclopaedia of New Orleans Artists 1718-1918

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