A woman looking at The Sleepers by Gustave Courbet - source unknown
The previous blog post in this series ended with a brief description of the The Sleepers which many feel is one of the most important LGBpaintings in history for the honest and sympathetic depiction of same-sex sexuality. This post reviews the artistic environment of works featuring women with women produced around the time that Courbet painted The Sleepers.
Women Bathing at the Brook - Ferdinand Georg Waldmuller (1848)
Many paintings were produced in the 17th to 19th century depicting a group of young women bathing together, usually naked, for the pleasure of male viewers. Often the bathers are shown in languid poses suggesting ready availability for the viewer(s) but here Waldmuller shows the women interested in something that has happened beyond the edge of the painting creating some mystery and tension.
Courage, Anxiety and Despair: Watching the Battle - James Sant (c.1850)
This painting by Sant is atypical of the vast majority of 19th century paintings of women, most of which show domestic scenes and lives lived mostly separately from the world of men and affairs of the world. Here Sant shows us a scene of battle that we don't often see - from a female point of view and how they are affected by and respond to organized male violence.
A Morning. The Dance of the Nymphs - Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1850-1851)
The title of this painting does not make specific reference to ancient mythology but the scene is reminiscent of many from the past which featured the nymphs of Diana or Venus celebrating life, womanhood and perhaps Bacchus. These more modern dancing women are clothed and could be seen as ballet dancers celebrating nature on a natural stage.
Promenade - Constant-Emile Troyon (c. 1850s)
The 19th century saw unprecedented improvements in living standards which allowed greater numbers of women to have leisure time to spend, usually with other women, on strolls in gardens, or parks, or sharing confidences and the joys of life as a woman in the industrializing West.
The Ball Gown - Jules Trayer (1860)
Along the Arno to the Cascine - Giuseppe Abbati (1862)
Bringing Home the May - Peach Robinson (1862)
This photograph is an example of the movement known as Pictorialsim which was dedicated to advancing photography as a legitimate form of imaginative fine art and not just a technology for static portraits. Pictorialists carefully planned their scenes using models, costumes and sometimes multiple exposures which were combined into a single composite image. Here Robinson creates a romantic and idealized representation of country life.
First Born - Gustave-Leonard de Jonghe (1863)
Red Shirts Staplers - Odoardo Borrani (1863)
Elegant Women on the Beach - Eugene Louis Boudin (1863)
Buying Fruit and Vegetables at the Night Market - Petrus Van Schendel (1863)
Listening to the News of the Day - Gerolamo Induno (1864)
Restful Afternoon - Charles Hue (c.1864)
A Walk - Silvestro Lega (1864)
Two Women in a Clearing - Louis Dericks (1864)
Two Women in the Garden of Castiglioncello - Giovanni Fattori (1864-5)
Spring - Jacques James Tissot (1865)
Livorno Waterholes - Giovanni Fattori (1865)
Some artists chose to depict women together in rural peasant scenes as a more honest and real representation of most womens' lives.
Forbidden Fruit - Auguste Toulmouche (1865)
The rising standards of living included the growth of book publishing and reading and many paintings depict women engaged with books. Sate sponsored secular education of girls and women emerged in the West in the middle of 19th century.
Women Dancing in a Brothel - Constantin Guys (c.1865)
Guys was one of the Realist artists in Paris who traveled the streets and painted what he saw. Here he shows us the social life of women with other women inside a brothel.
Women in the Garden - Claude Monet (1866)
The Impressionists were a group of artists that succeeded the Realists in France as an important counter-cultural artistic community. Like the Realists they were dedicated to painting everyday life but pioneered painting plein-air (outdoors) using palettes of bright, vibrant colours.
The Visit to the Artist's Sudio - Louis Marie Joseph Ridel (1866)
Painting as a profession was dominated by males in the 19th century as it had been for centuries but it became both increasingly acceptable for women to become painters and achievable with prosperous families financially supporting their daughters aspirations.
In Sun - Vincenzo Cabianca (1866)
The Secret - Jules Salles-Wagner (c.1866)
The Reluctant Bride - Auguste Toulmouche (1866)
Summer Days - Julia Margaret Cameron (1866)
The new technology of photography attracted many artistic talents to explore the potential of the medium. Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) emerged as one of the finest portraitists of the nineteenth century - in any medium. She took up photography in her late forties and produced over a thousand images over 14 years.
Promenade - Paul Cézanne (1866)
Cézanne, one of the Impressionists, shows us via the arrangement of the figures, the reality of relations between the sexes in the 19th century. The men are standing indicating their greater status and are engaged in discussing important matters of the day while their wives are parked on a bench waiting silently for the men to conclude their conversation.
Minerva and the Graces - Marc-Charles-Gabriel Gleyre (1866)
Apricots - Albert Joseph Moore (1866)
The Hermitage at Pontoise - Camille Pissarro (1867)
Pissarro was one of the pioneers of Impressionism and he painted outdoors in rural France for most of his life. Here he completes a scene of tranquil serenity with a genial meeting on the road of two women, one a young mother.
Blind Man's Bluff - Charles Baugniet (c.1867)
The Confidence - James Tissot (1867)
Six Bathers - Adolphe-Joseph Thomas Monticelli (c.1867)
After the Manner of the Elgin Marbles - Julia Margaret Cameron (1867)
The Drawing Lesson - Charles Baugniet (c.1867)
An Interior with Japanese Objects - Juan Leon Palliere (c.1867)
Collecting Water - Edward John Cobbett (c.1867)
Confidences - Jules Adolphe Goupil (1867)
Spring's New Arrivals - Charles Baugniet (c.1867)
The Visit - Alfred Emile Leopold Stevens (c.1867)
The Love Letter - Gustave Léonard de Jonghe (1867)
A Shared Moment - Cesare Felix Georges Dell'Acqua (1868)
Young Women of Sparta - Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (c.1868)
The musician in the foreground appears bored, perhaps melancholic since her talents aren't appreciated by the women in the background, who are practicing their hand-to-hand combat skills as warriors for militaristic Sparta.
The Weeders - Jules Breton (1868)
Quartet of Musicians - Albert Joseph Moore (1868)
Moore creates visual tension here by his arrangement of the figures. The standing women and sitting men is a flip of what one would expect within a patriarchy and the close embrace of the two women suggests a romantic connection.
Allegory of Lust for Life - Hans Makart (1868)
Spring Scene - Anselm Feuerbach (1868)
The Bath - Marc Charles Gabriel Gleyre (1868)
The Eavesdropper - Carl Heinrich Hoff (1868)
Confidences - Cristiano Banti (1868)
Women's Art Class - Louis Lang (c.1868)
Elegant Ladies at the Baths - Raffaello Sorbi (1868)
The Visit - Alfred Émile Léopold Stevens (c.1869)
A Visit to the Haunted Chamber - William Frederick Yeames (1869)
Ladies Playing Billiards - Charles Edouard Boutibonne (1869)
The Diary - Auguste Toulmouche (c.1869)
Young Ladies Looking at Japanese Objects - James Tissot (1869)
Two Seated Women - Mary Cassatt (1869)
The Impressionists considered themselves socially progressive and deliberately included both men and women among their ranks; Cassatt and another woman Berthe Morisot were prominent members. Despite being accepted as an artist of equal merit she was limited by the range of subjects she could paint as she was not able to move as freely around Paris and rural France as her male colleagues could.
At the Opera - Charles Edouard Boutibonne (1869)
The Hay Field - Thomas Armstrong (1869)
The Daydreams - Auguste Toulmouche (c.1869)
Young Women Looking at Japanese Objects - James Tissot (c.1869-1870)
A Surprising Visit - Otto Wilhelm Eduard Erdmann (1870)
Rural Landscape - Ernesto Rayper (1870)
A Beach Stroll - Frederik Hendrik Kaemmerer (1870)
Bathers - Paul Cézanne (1870)
Cézanne appears to be anticipating future artistic movements with this painting, which is more about shapes and colours than it is about the portrayal of soft, voluptuous bodies of women. These figures look cold, and perhaps uncomfortable, after their swim in the dark of night.
A tintype from 1870. A stand was often used for the subjects to lean against to prevent movement which would result in image blurring.
Glance Exchanged - Frederik Henrdik Kaemmerer (c.1870)
The arrangement of the seated men and women suggests that the exchanged glance is between two women, perhaps a moment of attraction and/or flirtation.
Back From the Dance - Giuseppe de Nittis (1870)
The Washerwomen of the Breton Coast - Jules Breton (1870)
Fannie (née Heriot), Lady Wentworth; possibly Maria Colclough Turner (née Heriot, later Blyth) - W. & D. Downey (1870)
The Visit - Albert Roosenboom (c.1870)
The Love Letter - Petrus van Schendel (1870)
By the Well - Jozsef Molnar (c.1870)
La Toilette - Frédéric Bazille (1870)
This painting belongs to a genre that reflects the Wests' fascination with the Orient/Middle East and depicts a scene within a harem. The intended audience were males, who enjoy the nudity and the subtext of lesbian sexuality. There were a great number of harem related works produced in the 19th century but I've chosen to include only a few of them in this series of blog posts.
The next post will continue with works produced during the 1870s.