History of Modern France

The Third French Republic 1870-1940. Part 7

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Zoom lecture

Pioneers! Three Women Artists of the Paris Avant-Garde: Marie Laurencin, Sophie Taeuber-Arp & Sonia Delaunay

with Anne Catherine Abecassis

Sophie-Taeuber with her Dada Head 1920

If women's artistic practice had always been particularly strong in France, it was always resisted by the official art institutions who reduced them to a subordinate role. In the 19th century, French women were deprived of all civic rights and were expected to confine themselves to the domestic sphere. To work in France, women were dependent on their husband's permission until 1965!


By the early 20th century, however, a new generation of liberated women appeared in the art world of Paris. Whether French, like Marie Laurencin, or foreign like the Swiss Sophie Taeuber Arp or the Russian Sonia Terk Delaunay, they took full advantage of the freedom and Bohemian atmosphere of early modern Paris, as well as the solidarity, for the last two, of their male companions, to engage with experimental and even radical new styles in their art.


In our lecture we will follow the unique destiny and remarkable career of these three pioneers who re-defined the role of women artists in the avant-garde of the early 20th century.

Marie Laurencin, Self Portrait, c. 1905, Nagano-Ken, Japan