Women Artists in Paris, 1850–1900 (2017-2018)

This groundbreaking exhibition showcases the extraordinary and diverse artistic production of women artists in Paris during a period of great cultural change.

Paris was the epicenter of art during the latter half of the nineteenth century, luring artists from around the world with its academies, museums, salons, and galleries. Despite the city’s cosmopolitanism and its cultural stature, Parisian society remained strikingly conservative, particularly with respect to gender. Nonetheless, many women artists chose to work and study in Paris at this time, overcoming immense obstacles to access the city’s resources.

Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900 showcases the remarkable artistic production of women during this period of great cultural change, revealing the breadth and strength of their creative achievements. Guest curator Laurence Madeline has selected over 80 compelling paintings by women of varied nationalities, ranging from well-known artists such as Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, and Rosa Bonheur, to lesser-known figures such as Kitty Kielland, Louise Breslau, and Anna Ancher.

Drawn from prominent collections in Europe and the United States, this rich and beautiful survey is organized in loose thematic groupings to highlight common subjects to which women artists were drawn, or which they embraced due to the gender-based constraints they encountered.



Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
October 22, 2017–January 14, 2018
Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY
February 17–May 13, 2018
Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA
June 9–September 3, 2018


Women Artists in Paris, 1850–1900 (2017-2018)

Authors: Laurence Madeline With Bridget Alsdorf, Richard Kendall, Jane R. Becker, Vibeke Waallann Hansen, Joëlle Bolloch Publishers: American Federation of Arts & Yale University Press (2017) Dimensions: 9 ½ x 11 in. Format: Softcover, 288 pp ISBN: 978-1-885-444-45-5

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Laurence Madeline is Chief Curator for French National Heritage. Previously, she served as Chief Curator of the Fine Arts division of the Musées d’art et d’histoire (MAH), Geneva; Director of the Musée Léon Dierx, Saint-Denis de La Réunion; Curator at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; and, from 2000 to 2006, Curator at the Musée Picasso, Paris. Her exhibitions include Courbet: les années suisses (2014, MAH); James Ensor (2009–10, Musée d’Orsay and Museum of Modern Art, New York); Picasso-Manet (2008–9, Musée d’Orsay); and Picasso-Ingres (2004, Musée Picasso and Musée Ingres), among others.


Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900 is organized by the American Federation of Arts. Guest curator Laurence Madeline, Chief Curator for French National Heritage, was aided by Suzanne Ramljak, AFA Curator, and Jeremiah William McCarthy, AFA Associate Curator.

The exhibition is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Additional funding is provided by the JFM Foundation, Elizabeth K. Belfer, the Florence Gould Foundation, Monique Schoen Warshaw, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, Clare McKeon, Steph and Jody La Nasa, Victoria Ershova Triplett, the American-Scandinavian Foundation, and the Finlandia Foundation. Support for the accompanying publication provided by Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

In the News

“Other French Artists”
Art & Antiques, October 2017

“Women Artists in Paris”
France-Amerique, October 2017

“In cultural histories of late 19th-century Paris, artists from Van Gogh to Munch to Whistler converge on its academies, salons, galleries and cafes, joining with their French confreres to make it the undisputed art capital of the world. But as ‘Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism’ illustrates, many women—though largely unaccounted for—were also part of that extraordinary mix.”
The Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2017