BECK, Julia, artist and calligrapher. (Isabelle BOGELOT). ~ [Calligraphic certificate]. Paris: October 1893.
Illuminated manuscript on a single large parchment sheet (465 × 296 mm). Calligraphic text, with initials and rubrics, plus illuminated border and heraldic headpiece, in ink, gold and colours. Lightly rubbed, gold flaking in places, slightly soiled at head. Original morocco boards, pink silk and pink floral endpapers. Rubbed, silk fraying in places. Contemporary newspaper report.
A large calligraphic certificate by Swedish-born artist Julia Beck, presented to a pioneering French feminist, Isabelle Bogelot on behalf of the Oeuvre des Libérées de Saint-Lazare in commemoration of her attendance at the World's Congress of Representative Women at the Chicago World Fair in May 1893. Bogelot was an important philanthropist who worked tirelessly for the Libérées de Saint-Lazare charity which sought to aid former inmates of this women’s prison, who included a large proportion of Parisian sex-workers. As the article in the Journal des Femmes (24, Nov. 1893, loosely inserted here) recounts, Bogelot had travelled to Chicago in 1893 to attend a week-long convention held within a special Women’s Building constructed for the world fair. On her return she was presented with a medal and this superb calligraphic certificate by Julia Beck.
Beck was born in Stockholm in 1853 and moved to Paris in 1883. She became one of the first female artists from her country to make a living through art alone. She is best-known for her landscape paintings in the Impressionist style, which were highly regarded in France and abroad, but she supported herself partly through commercial calligraphy, at which she excelled. The newspaper article here attributes the certificate to both Beck and Bertha Formstecher, but is is signed (at the foot) by Beck alone. Beck was a committed advocate for women artists.