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#AdoptAnObject: “French Girl” by Elizabeth Nourse

We are very excited to announce a new initiative at the McClung Museum: Adopt-an-Object.

Adopt-an-Object program offers museum supporters a chance to engage directly in the conservation and exhibition of specific objects in our collection. We welcome you to adopt an object for yourself, or as a unique gift for a loved one. Many of the objects in the campaign will go on display to the public for the first time with the help of your support.

French Girl, c. 1915, Elizabeth Nourse (American, ), Oil on canvas, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Bailey Audigier, 1934.1.98.

Self-portrait, 1892, Elizabeth Nourse, Courtesy Wikimedia.

Our first object up for adoption is the painting, French Girl, c. 1915, by Elizabeth Nourse (American, 1859–1938). At a time when few women artists were taken seriously, Nourse achieved international recognition. Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, she painted everyday people, especially women and children, as well as rural landscapes. She was hailed during her time as “unquestionably the premier woman artiste of America.” She traveled with her sister to Paris in 1887 to study painting, and remained in Europe for the rest of her life, as the two found greater freedom there. The women and children of the French countryside were one of her favorite subjects.

The McClung is lucky enough to have three paintings by Nourse, three of which will be featured in the upcoming exhibition, Women’s Work (January–May 2021). However, this painting is special because it has never been on view at the McClung Museum. Adopt-an-Object is the perfect chance to help support these initiatives and engage with the McClung in a tangible way, even as our doors are temporarily closed due to COVID. The museum has been hard at work on collections care and future exhibitions during our closure. Women’s Work is curated by former McClung Graduate Assistant, Emma Thompson. The exhibition highlights work by women artists in the McClung’s permanent collections, and explores why women artists have been overlooked and underrepresented in the art world.

The images above show that French Girl has had areas of paint loss, the frame has chips to its gilt, and open corners on the frame affect its stability. By adopting this painting, you will help us prepare the painting for its display as a part of Women’s Work, support the curatorial work of a UT graduate student, and enable us to preserve this beautiful painting in perpetuity.

Full restoration of French Girl will cost $1,500.

Adopt this Object

Gifts should be directed to the Museum Support Fund using this online form. Alternatively people can contact Stacy Palado, Director of External Relations, at or 865-974-2143 for more information.