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The Red Rose Girls

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The Red Rose Girls

The Red Rose Girls

New Exhibit Documents Early 20th Century Trio of Women Artists

The Red Rose Girls

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Book cover for The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love, by Alice Carter. hide caption

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NPR's Linda Wertheimer speaks with Alice Carter, curator of a new exhibit at The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., that showcases the work of an unconventional trio of female artists who worked and lived together at the turn of the 20th century.

Carter, an illustrator, also wrote a book on the women: The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love.

Jessie Willcox Smith, Elizabeth Shippen Green, and Violet Oakley met at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in the late 1800s. They went on to study together with illustrator Howard Pyle at Philadelphia's Drexel Institute.

In 1900, the three women — and a fourth female friend serving as a caretaker of sorts — established a country home and studio called the Red Rose Inn. Pyle dubbed them "the Red Rose Girls." Over the next eight years, the three artists lived and created in their idyllic surroundings, becoming very successful financially and captivating society with their uncommon lifestyle.