The New Woman
The Waltz

Artist, student, studio assistant, model, and lover of sculptor Auguste Rodin, Camille Claudel represents the emerging New Woman and the difficulties she encountered in her demand for equality and feedom from domesticity. 

During her career, Claudel received significant comissions and accolades.   But after a difficult breakup with Rodin, she began to exhibit signs of mental instability.  When her father (who supported her career as an artist) died, her mother and brother immediately had her committed to an insane asylum.  Despite repeated recommendations by Camille's doctors for ther release, the family refused.  Camille remained in the asylum for 30 years until her death in 1943.

Museum Devoted to Camille Claudel Opens
Camille Claudel, The Waltz, 1895.











By 1893 a new female heroine emerged in the popular imagination called "The New Woman"
She rejects convention by:
Reading and pursuing an education
Having a healthy, athletic lifestyle
Dressing in comfortable clothes that allow free movement
Deciding when, whom and if to marry
Deciding how to earn money and how to spend it
James Van der Zee, c. 1920s











Frances Benjamin Johnston

Judge Magazine
Frances Benjamin Johnson, Self-Portrait, c. 1896.
John Held Jr.  Judge Magazine cover, 1925.










Maria Buszek Bluestocking
Bluestocking = a disparaging term, no longer in common use, for an educated, intellectual woman
"A bluestocking is the scourge of her husband, children, friends, servants, and everyone." - Jean Jacques Rousseau
Nicole Cawlfield, Maria Buszek Bluestocking, 2002.











Camille Claudel
Camille Claudel, The Age of Maturity or Destiny, 1902.










Luncheon on the Grass

Edouard Manet, Luncheon on the Grass (Le Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe), 1863.











1863 Academy rejected nearly 3,000 works for the annual Salon, provoking great deal of public protest

Italian Music Hall

  • Emperor Napolean III ordered an exhibition of the refused work that was eventually called the Salon des Refuses (Salon of the Rejected)
  • Artists used the exhibition as a declaration of their independence from the Academy
Eva Gonzales, The Italian Music Hall Box, c. 1874.











Mother and Sister of the Artist

Avant-garde = artists or works that are novel or experimental
Relates to the military term for soldiers who explore the battlefield ahead of the advancing army
Suggests a small group of intellectuals who
push the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm
Berthe Morisot, Mother and Sister of the Artist, 1870.











Impressionism = a movement among late nineteenth-century French painters who sought to present a true representation of light and color. Working primarily outdoors, such artists applied small touches of paint to catch fleeting impressions of the scenes before them. Many American artists adopted the style.

In the Garden

The Impressionists were interested in:
  • Representing immediate visual sensations through color and light
  • Experimenting with short, loose, and choppy brushstrokes
  • Painting outdoors, away from the studio,
    and with pre-made paint
  • "En Plein Air" = in the open air
Berthe Morisot, In the Garden, c. 1884.











"sketch aesthetics"

Summer's Day

Woman at the Toilette

Berthe Morisot, Summer's Day, 1879.
Berthe Morisot, Woman at Her Toilette, 1875.











Mother Washing Sleepy Child

Breakfast in Bed

Mary Cassat, Mother Washing Sleepy Child, 1880.
Mary Cassatt, Breakfast in Bed, 1897.













Mary Cassat, Woman in a Loge, 1880.
Mary Cassatt, Little Girl in a Blue Arm Chair, 1878.












Mary Cassatt, The Boating Party, 1893 - 1894.