In contrast to their male counterparts, bourgeois women could either stay home or venture out in select public spaces only if accompanied by a proper chaperone. Because of these restrictions, female artists had fewer experiences to draw from than their male colleagues. Griselda Pollock’s landmark essay “Modernity and the Spaces of Femininity” discusses the way that contemporary gender roles impacted the subject matter depicted by the female versus male Impressionist artists. As Pollock points out, social restrictions prevented female Impressionist artists like Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt from being able to attend the new nighttime entertainment spots that occupied their male colleagues, like the café-concert or the cabaret. In the nineteenth-century mindset, only women with loose morals would converse with men so informally and without a chaperone in these settings. According to Pollock, because of these constrictions on their mobility, female Impressionist artists therefore tended to focus on the lives and experiences of women— most often the experience of childrearing.
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