as i've mentioned, one of the things that exposure to japanese work afforded western artists was the 'permission' to paint subjects not considered right for art before this.
we've already seen some of the lovely and profound effects utamaro's prints of mothers and infants had on mary cassatt and many others.
two other professions now open for interpretation were theater people and courtesans. one only need think of toulouse-lautrec to remember both.
but another job pictured with interesting frequency are the washerwomen of the world, the laundresses, les laveuses.
i begin to ask myself about all of this.
is it a matter of class, primarily, the distance of the lower class makes them safer to interpret?
not that many of the painters were of many higher of a class, but they had a certain status, particularly among themselves.
perhaps it's a matter of decorative appeal. there is something quite lovely of a white-bonnetted or apronned woman hanging the white wash on the hillside.
more scenic surely than a woman at a typewriter.
not to say that the upper-class was not painted, but what percentage of that was portraiture, bought and paid for?
so i love to look at these too, as well as the dancers and actresses and whores.
but is it, i ask myself, because i too easily see women in subservient positions; it's natural, known.
after all, isn't this what we're best at?
Labels: degas, gauguin, gertrude kasebier, guillaumin armand, harunobu suzuki, henri riviere, hiroaki takahashi, hiroshige ando, theophile steinlen, toshimine tsutsui, Utamaro Kitagawa, william merritt chase