At the close of the eighteenth century, women began to discover a new sense of freedom, adventure, and self-determination, simply by walking in public unaccompanied. Previously, solitary walks by women were considered unseemly. An unaccompanied hike in the country was beyond imagination; to promenade by oneself on city boulevards was unthinkable.
This book features evocative paintings of women doing just that, by a range of artists, from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century, among them British portraitist Thomas Gainsborough, the scandalous Gustave Courbet, Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte, American masters Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent, and Nabi artist Félix Vallotton. With paintings as her guide, Karin Sagner takes us on a visual journey through this vital yet oft-overlooked aspect of women’s emancipation, from the promenades of the nobility to everyday walks in the city, on gentle strolls in the country or hikes up mountain summits.
Quotes by luminaries like the Marquise de Sévigné, Jane Austen, and Simone de Beauvoir gracefully support her points.