Saturday, 16 June 2012

Louise Scherpenberg

Julian Trevelyan Woman in a Courtyard 1933

Louise Scherpenberg was the girlfriend of the artist Julian Trevelyan; "That night I celebrated our apartment-to-be with Julian, his girlfriend Louise Scherpenberg, and David Reeves, one of their young friends." (Jan Gabrial Inside The Volcano Pg. 39).

Trevelyan had this to say about Scherpenberg in his book Indigo Days:

During my last year in Paris I had fallen in love with an American girl called Louise. She was beautiful and unusual, with an Egyptian-looking face, a fine body, and a shock of greying hair of so many shades that she could mend the tears in any clothes by simply pulling out one of her hairs of the right colour, and using it as a thread. She lived precariously by modelling in the art schools, and she devoured life eagerly as a child. ((Pg. 44-45)

Trevelyan relates how she lived with him at Villa Brune; "But for a time we were very happy. We both painted in a kind of frenzy, and by night we would dance in the Rue de Lappe, or else we were invaded by friends who came in to share the warmth of Louise's personality." (Pg. 45).

"Nearly as tall as Julian, a husky-voiced New Yorker whose tilted eyes suggested rather the outreaches of Mongolia, she was irreverent, direct and easy in her skin. I liked her from the start. (Jan Gabrial Inside The Volcano Pg. 42). Scherpenberg appears to have broke off their relationship while Jan and Lowry were still in Paris. ( Jan Gabrial Inside The Volcano Pg. 51). Jan says that she left Trevelyan to live with another English artist named Brockenshaw in Spain. Trevelyan confirms this in his memoir though he doesn't say who she went to live with - "I was overcome with a sort of helpless misery to which I could see no end, for I still loved her dearly." (Pg.45)

Scherpenberg was a former school teacher from White Plains, New York. She later gave an interview to the Tyrone Daily Herald about her time as a model in Paris:

Life of an artists model in Paris is by no means a bed of roses This is the of one of an American girl Louise Scherpenberg who used to be a school teacher in White Plains New York.  She took to posing as a way of existence after she spent her boat fare home but soon learned that it is by no means the romantic life that some writers have made it out to be. Eight dollars a week is considered a good salary for posing three hours every morning and three in the evening for six days It is impossible to get a job posing at the same school for two weeks in succession. Work for an individual artist to be able to pay a model well is rarer than hens teeth in these days and one must be remarkably beautiful or interesting to find a job of this sort. The nude model of course suffers most from the cold. The heating facilities usually consist of an oldfashioned wood or coal stove set up in the center of the studio. If the room is warm for the model it is uncomfortably warm for the students so they open thus creating a draught which is not very good for the poser. If the stove happens to be really rare thing it roasts on one side and freezes on the other No it is a cold underpaid thankless business declares Miss Scherpenberg. If I could write a book on the models in the Latin Quarter it would not make dull reading. I want to warn any girls who have the ambition to become a model in Paris to keep away if possible. Tyrone Daily Herald February 17th 1932.

No comments:

Post a Comment