Les femmes de France [The Women of France]
49.1 cm x 32.2 cm (19 5/16 in. x 12 11/16 in.)
Théophile Alexandre Steinlen
(Lausanne (Switzerland), 1859 - 1923, Paris)
Medium and Support:
Lithograph on chine collé
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Dr. Alexander and Ivria Sackton, 1986
Steinlen shows us two Breton women, identified by their distinctive bonnets, in a domestic interior. Brittany, a province in northwest France, was the closest one could get to the primitive exotic without leaving France. It was a royalist and Catholic stronghold throughout all of the revolutions in France and it was the continental center of the Celtic Revival, a cultural movement that rejected modernity by hearkening back to an early medieval past. It was not the political or religious beliefs of the Breton people that drew neo-Catholic artists such as Paul Gauguin, Armand Séguin, Emile Bernard, and Steinlen to form an artists’ colony there, but their simple and sincere faith unadulterated by the superficiality and materialism of modern urban life.