Art, Fashion and La Parisienne

Exhibition poster designed by Ingrid Mida 2012
I've been quiet on the blog front of late, because I've been deep into my research for my thesis, which I hope might one day become a book. I created these two posters to illustrate my project which is entitled Art, Fashion and La Parisienne

My work was inspired by a painting called La Demoiselle de Magasin (The Shopgirl) by James Tissot which is in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario. I soon discovered that this painting was one of fifteen large scale works in a series called La Femme à Paris painted by Tissot in 1883-85. Tissot made plans to issue series of etchings of the paintings, which were to be accompanied by short stories by leading authors of the period, including Émile Zola, Paul Bourget, Charles Gounod, and Alphonse Daudet. Despite Tissot’s earlier success as a painter, this series of highly polished paintings was not well received in either Paris or London. Tissot abandoned his plans to create prints of the paintings and the accompanying short stories.

La Femme à Paris  is a provocative series of narrative works showcasing the modern Parisian woman during a period of rapid change in the nineteenth century.  The series illustrates women from a range of income levels and occupations, rendered in precise detail using high key colours.

During the latter part of the nineteenth century, fashion and art were closely linked in Parisian society. Fashion was a subject of study and inspiration for artists, playwrights and poets. Descriptions of outfits worn by society women to the theatre, the opera and other social gatherings were routinely reported in the press. Many artists in France were influenced by the writings of Charles Baudelaire on fashion and modernity, especially his essay “The Painter of Modern Life” which was published in instalments in 1863 in the newspaper Le Figaro. In this essay, Baudelaire identified fashion as a way that artists could capture the processes of modernity in their work.

Using James Tissot’s series La Femme à Paris from 1883-85 as inspiration, my research will encompass an analysis of a selection of artworks, fashion plates and gowns from 1874-1886 to illuminate the intersection of art, fashion and modernity in the theme of la Parisienne.

I'm heavily immersed into my research, and I find the work utterly captivating. I now understand the origins of the modern icon of la chic Parisienne, images of which regularly grace the pages of blogs like French Essence, Fashion, Art and Other Fancies, Style in the City and of course, The Sartorialist.  

Although my blog posts might be a little less frequent, you can also find me on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.

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