Splendours and Miseries: Images of Prostitution in France, 1850-1910

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9782081372740: Splendours and Miseries: Images of Prostitution in France, 1850-1910
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This work traces the artists and photographers who—whether fascinated or repelled by prostitution in all its forms—captured the realities and fantasies of this ambiguous world. From the scandalous Olympia by Manet to Degas’s The Absinthe Drinker, from Toulouse-Lautrec and Munch’s forays into brothels to the bold figures and caricature portraits of Rouault, van Dongen, and Picasso, this book foregrounds how the shadowy domain of prostitution played a central role in the development of modern painting. In nine chapters, these paintings, sculptures, lithographs, sketches, photographs, and press clippings are given context within the moral framework of an era when prostitution was considered an unavoidable—or enticing—evil, powerfully evoking the ambivalent place held by prostitutes in the midst of nascent modernity, from the splendours of the demimondaines to the miseries of the working-girl pierreuses.

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About the Author:

Guy Cogeval, art historian and president of the Musée d’Orsay, is an expert on nineteenth-century art.

Nienke Bakker is the curator of the Van Gogh paintings at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Marie Robert and Isolde Pludermacher are curators at the Musée d’Orsay.

Richard Thomson is Watson Gordon Professor of Fine Art at the University of Edinburgh."

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