The Académie Julian was not an academy in the accepted sense, but an art school which furnished models and provided (not too close) supervision of its students' work. Established in 1873 by artist Rodolphe Julian, the regime was famously undisciplined, and it was the only art school in Paris to accept women and foreign students, who could not attend the official Ecole des Beaux-Arts until 1897. Even in the early twentieth century it was not considered suitable for women to study life drawing, but many of the sixty works on display pay homage to the Académie’s life drawing classes. Although not overcoming all obstacles, the Académie was a vital step for women artists and has continued in spirit thanks to the successor school, the Académie Julian Del Debbio in Paris, which organised this exhibition with the Dahesh Museum , New York
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as '“Overcoming all obstacles: Women of the Académie Julian”, Dixon Gallery, Memphis, 9 July-24 September'