Throughout the 1800s, playing the piano was considered obligatory for the educated and upper class, and many artists depicted girls and women at the piano. Although little is known about the relationship between Berthe Morisot and her subject, Lucie León spent the majority of her childhood training to be a concert pianist. Yet rather than depicting León from behind or in profile — as so many of her male peers do in their portrayals of female pianists — Morisot renders the young artist mid-recital without any visible sheet music, a virtuoso in command of both her instrument and our gaze.
Lucie León at the Piano (1892) was Photographed as Part of The Exhibit Women Artists In Paris at The Clark Institute, Located in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
With confident handling of a limited palette, Eva Gonzalez (1849 – 1883) elevates a pair of evening slippers into a mysterious and enigmatic portrait of modernity for The Pink Slippers (1880). A crucial element of a woman’s wardrobe, footwear was often fetishized because shoes and slippers were not meant to be seen, hidden as they war under voluminous dresses. Gonzalez emphasizes the intimate nature of these accessories by isolating them within dramatic play of light and shadow. An ethereal reflection is visible on the polished surface upon which the shoes rest.
Photographed as Part of The Exhibit Women Artists In Paris, on View Through September 3rd, 2018 at The Clark Institute, Located in Williamstown, Massachusetts.