Vive La France Culture Classes

A Toast to French Women of the Arts

Join us for a three-session series focused on French women in the arts – featuring Josephine Baker, Catherine Deneuve, and other muses, patrons, and artists.

Taking place on  April 19, April 26, and May 3 at 6 p.m. at the Academy of the Sacred Heart (4521 St. Charles Avenue), these classes will feature cultural presentations, wine tastings, and hors d’œuvres.  Classes will be in English and last approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.


April 19Being Deneuve: The Mysterious Aloofness of a French Icon

It is easier to define Catherine Deneuve by what she is not, rather by the multi-faceted women she has not ceased to embody, both on and off camera. From her role as a nymphomaniac bourgeoise in Bunuel’s Belle de jour to her acapella singing under The Umbrellas of Cherbourg to her praised performance in Indochine or her cameo albeit unforgettable scene in Nip and Tuck, this talk will focus on some of the most emblematic aspects of Deneuve’s life: her career choices, her love for Italy, her friendship with Yves Saint Laurent, the death of her sister. It will also explore her political acumen as evidenced by her desire to defy the Nazi regime in The Last Metro, her embodiment of the Fifth Republic as Marianne, or her more recent -and quite controversial- condemnation of #Metoo.

Presentation by Jean Xavier Brager, PhD. Live from Marseilles

April 26 — A Muse, a Patron and an Artist

Unquestionably, the impact that women have had in shaping the arts is significant; yet, too often men are celebrated alone, while women stand in their shadows. In this lecture, a little light will be shed on the various ways in which women have played their parts in the making of the avant-garde.

This session will present a muse, a patron, and an artist, whose lives span between the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, as paradigms of the larger group of inspiring women.

Typically, these women shared a rebellious impulse against social conventions and an unconditional love for freedom. In their private life they often embraced rebellious social behaviors disconnected from social conformism. From the standpoint of the arts, these women took an active role in the shaping, promoting, collecting and inspiring such movements as fauvism, cubism, surrealism, and often held the hands of the men who were deemed responsible for shaping these movements.

Presentation by Véronique Day, PhD.

May 3 — Josephine Baker

This presentation examines the life of the legendary artist Josephine Baker.  By exploring the personal and historical events that shaped her life, we see what propelled her to greatness.  How did a little Black girl from apartheid Missouri become an iconic French artist, a war hero, an LGBTQIA+ pioneer, and a civil rights activist?

Presentation by Tara Melvin, DMA

Wine recommendations curated by Margene Minor and Marguerite Keenan with selections from the Wine Seller (5000 Prytania Street).

Chef Robert Faust will present a French hors d’œuvre at each class.

For bios of the presenters, click their name or click here.

Click here to register.

If you would like more information, please email Karen Walk Geisert at

To rewatch our prior series on Champagne and the Art of Publicité click here.