At her weekly gatherings in Paris, Natalie Barney brought together innovative writers, artists, and thinkers from many countries. She was instrumental in introducing women of different nationalities to each other’s work. Her salon was also known as a welcoming place for women who loved women.
Barney’s lesbian sexuality inspired her writing. At age twenty-four, she published a collection of love poems addressed to female friends. In 1902, she published another homoerotic book inspired by the ancient Greek poet Sappho. As a female poet and the lover of many women, Sappho was an important role model for Barney.

In this portrait, Alice Pike Barney emphasizes her daughter’s musical gifts as well as her alluring beauty. Seated in a throne-like chair with her violin in hand, she seems ready to beguile us with sweet music. Her luxurious red velvet gown and


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