A recent Art Study Day organised by the Art Appreciation group of Crewkerne & District U3A has been declared a great success. 35 people, including U3A members from Chard and Yeovil attended the lectures called Five Extraordinary Women who Influenced the Course of Modern Art, held at Clapton and Wayford village hall. This was the fourth study day organised by the U3A group led by Julian Halsby, a well known artist, art historian and author. Merle Redwood, leader of the Art Appreciation group said: “It was very successful and the view from those who attended was that this was the best one.”

Julian examined the lives and works of five women – Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Misia Sert, Suzanne Valadon and the Marchesa Luisa Casati. Although they may not be very well known, they had a profound impact on the course of modern painting in Europe and the United States of America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Merle said: “They were all so different and so utterly absorbing and the photographs that Julian used to illustrate his talk were awe-inspiring. It has given us a lot to think about.”

The studies of mothers and children by Mary Cassatt in particular were memorable, with U3A member Mary Fowler describing them as “wonderful.” The Study Day included a buffet lunch and refreshments provided by Sarah and Sue Wills from the George Reynolds Centre in Crewkerne. Another factor in its success was the help provided by volunteers, both on the day and leading up to the event. Members of the U3A Art Appreciation group gave lifts so people could get there, helped set up and clear away afterwards and were on hand to welcome visitors. Merle said: “I want to thank them because they helped in so many ways and nothing was too much trouble.”

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