September Morn: The History of a Controversy


A brief history of the early reception of Paul Chabas's September Morn, a French academic painting that entered American culture when antivice crusaders like Anthony Comstock sought to prevent its exhibition in public store windows.


Chris Forster


Matinee de Septembre

Paul Chabas, a French academic painter who studied under the famous William-Adolphe Bourgereau, had already established a reputation within the Académie Francais, when he won the medaille d'honneur for his 1912 painting Matinée de Septembre.

September Morn Comes to America

A traditional nude in the academic tradition, September Morn precipitated debate and controversy when reproductions of the painting appeared in the United States in 1913.