Alice Pike Barney

Alice Pike Barney ( born January 14, 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio as Alice Pike, † July 16, 1931 in Los Angeles, California ) was an American painter, philanthropist and Salonnière.


Alice was the youngest daughter of Samuel Napthali Pike, who made ​​his fortune as a manufacturer of whiskey (Magnolia fire whiskey) and a great art patron was, among other things, he was in Cincinnati built the Pike's Opera House. In 1866 the family moved to New York. Alice was the only of the four children who shared the artistic interest of her father and showed early talent for singing and playing the piano.

In 1874 became engaged to Alice Pike with the famous African explorer Henry Morton Stanley ( 1841-1904 ), who started shortly after his second expedition to Africa ( 1874-1877 ). During his absence she married in 1876 in New York Albert Clifford Barney ( 1855-1902 ), the son of a wealthy railroad owner from Dayton, Ohio. From the marriage were two daughters, Natalie (1876-1972) and Laura (1879-1974), out. In 1882 the family Barney spent the summer in New York Long Beach Hotel, where Alice Pike Barney learned the Irish- English writer Oscar Wilde ( 1854-1900 ), who was on a book tour, know. This encouraged her talent in painting seriously exercise, despite the disapproval of her husband.

Alice Pike Barney 1887 traveled to Paris to be closer to her two daughters, who were educated in a French boarding school. The boarding school was founded by feminist Marie Souvestre, daughter of the famous novelist and dramatist Émile Souvestre, and she was the executive director. During this time, Alice continued lessons with Emile Auguste Carolus- Duran and Claudio Castelucho at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiere. As the American painter James McNeill Whistler opened an academy, she was one of the first students and was greatly influenced by him in their work. In 1899 she founded at her house in the Rue Victor Hugo a literary salon; there regularly met their friends and guests (including representatives of symbolism Lucien Lévy- Dhurmer, John White Alexander and Edmond Aman- Jean).

When her daughter Natalie in 1900 her first book of poems French Quelques Portraits - Sonnets de Femmes brought out, it was Alice, who illustrated it. Of the four women they portrayed it, there were three without her knowledge to her then courageously open lesbian relationship ( polyamory ) to her daughter. Her husband was from a newspaper report in the Washington Post ( " self-proclaimed daughter Sappho " ) alarmed and immediately traveled to Paris to bring back his wife and daughters to America. A short time later, he suffered a heart attack from which he died in 1902.

Through her ​​daughter Laura Clifford Barney Alice Pike Barney met the Bahai religion and converted shortly after 1900 to do so. In the House of Barney family in Washington, many Bahai meetings were held. In 1903 she portrayed in Washington Persian Baha'i scholar Mirza Abu'l- Fadl, who for several years visited on Abdul- Baha's suggestion, the U.S. community. In the spring of 1905 she stayed with her daughter Laura a month with Abdul- Baha in Acre and portrayed in this time the son of the governor. In the coming years, Alice Pike Barney had several solo exhibitions, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington and encouraged other artists. In 1911 she married the 23 -year-old Christian Hemmick what attracted worldwide attention, and nine years later the divorce.

Works (selection)

Natalie Clifford Barney, 1896

James McNeill Whistler, 1898

Laura Clifford Barney as Lucifer, 1902