Agostina Segatori owned the Café du Tambourin in the late 1800’s. The Parisian cafe was a popular spot with artists, including Vincent Van Gogh. One day, Van Gogh decided to paint Agostina.
“Agostina, she was the first person to encourage Van Gogh to have a show, and it was in her cafe,” says Sue Ann Round, the owner of Michigan Artists Gallery. “So, she’s a very important person.”
“Busted” is a new exhibit in the gallery on Front Street, and it features a bust of Agostina and six other women painted by well-known artists.
Sue Ann says the idea to focus on women in famous paintings came from an exhibit last year called “Channeling Picasso.” That was based off a 1939 Picasso painting titled “Woman with Green Hat.”
She invited Michigan artists to come up with their own interpretation of “Woman with Green Hat." She says the public response was fabulous.
“Over 2,000 people came into the gallery within six weeks,” she says. “They all voted for their favorite piece which got everybody engaged, from children to people that really don’t even have such a strong interest in art.”
The clear winner was a sculpture created by Leanne Schnepp, an artist from East Lansing. It’s a ceramic bust of a woman with few small birds perched on her green hat and her shoulder.
That’s when Sue Ann decided to offer Leanne a show, and asked if she would do more busts since it was such a hit.
And she did make more busts. All of them are of women who are are featured in paintings from artists like Van Gogh, Modigliani, Klimt and Picasso.
“There’s so much more to know about the works created by artists,” says Leanne. “Their influences, their life stories, as well as the life stories of the people they are depicting.”
Leanne says she wanted to recognize the women not just as models, but as successful people.
“Some that were modeling and painting, or modeling and working on their photography,” she says. “Some that owned a cafe and exhibit other people’s work. Yet they were also very influential in the art scene.”
“Busted” officially opens to the public Friday, Sept. 9, during the Traverse City Art Walk. Michigan Artists Gallery will be open from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. The "Busted" show runs through the fall.