The Feminine Mystique: Portraits of and by Women

April 1, 2006—October 8, 2006

This installation featured the faces of 16 engaging subjects including works from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period that revolutionized the place of women in society.

Named in tribute to the late author and feminist activist, Betty Friedan, this installation explored the late 19th century, and how the ideal of the feminine was elevated, while the lives of actual women remained largely constricted and the early 20th century and the widening gap between society’s desire to maintain traditional roles for women and women’s desire to freely determine their own course in life.

Select works by Bouguereau, Berthon, Redon, Matisse, Picasso, Kollwitz, Laurencin and others were included in the installation. Most images had not been exhibited for many years, because works in paper are particularly prone to deterioration from exposure to light.

Odilon Redon, French (1840-1916). “Salomé with the Head of Saint John the Baptist,” ca. 1880-1885. Charcoal and black chalk on tan paper, 8 5/8 x 7 13/16 inches. Bequest of Milton McGreevy, 81-30/67.

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