Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Back views of women in art

It has occurred to me during the process of researching this blog that quite a number of realist painters have portrayed women at one time or another from a rear viewpoint – often in a domestic situation. Danish artists like Anna Ancher, Vilhelm Hammershøi and Carl Holsøe frequently employed this device in their compositions. The female subject may at some small domestic labour, or simply being contemplative, gazing out onto some unseen vista. Here are some examples:

1822 Woman at the Window
oil on canvas 44 x 73 cm

1880 Berthe Morisot 
The Dining Room of the Rouart Family, Avenue d'Eylau 
oil on canvas 92 x 73 cm

c1880 Edgar Degas 
Mary Cassatt at the Louvre 

1882 Christian Krohg 
The Hair is Braided

1883 Anna Ancher 
Girl in Kitchen 
oil on canvas 87.7 x 68.5 cm

1885 Edgar Degas 
A Visit to the Museum

c1885 Edgar Degas 
Three Women at the Races 
pastel 68.6 x 68.6 cm

1886 Berthe Morisot 
The Little Maid Servant 
oil on canvas 71 x 44 cm

1887 Anna Ancher
Young Girl before a Lighted Lamp
oil on canvas

1888 Vilhelm Hammershøi 
Peasant Reading 
oil on canvas 63.5 x 55.5 cm

1890 Vilhelm Hammershøi 
73 x 58 cm

1896 Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 
Woman in a Corset 
chalk on paper

1899 Vilhelm Hammershøi 

c1900 Carl Holsøe

c1900 Carl Holsøe
Girl Reading in a Sunlit Room

1905 Vilhelm Hammershøi 
49.5 x 46.5 cm

c1910 Frederick Carl Frieseke 
The Birdcage 
oil on canvas 78.7 x 78.7 cm

1912-13 Frederick C. Frieseke 
Blue Interior 
oil on canvas 81.3 x 81.3 cm

1920 Henri Lebasque 
The Blue Robe 
oil on canvas 81 x 65 cm
c1885 A Young Girl Arranging Flowers 
oil on canvas 56 x 41 cm

Anna Ancher 
Girl in the Kitchen

Anna Ancher

Carl Holsøe

Carl Holsøe
The Artist's Wife Setting the Table
oil on canvas 73 x 65 cm

Carl Holsøe 
Mother and Child by a Window 
oil on canvas 78.7 x 76.2 cm

Vilhelm Hammershøi 
Lady Reading in an Interior

Anna Ancher 
Young Woman in Front of a Mirror

Carl Holsøe 
Waiting by the Window

Carl Holsøe 
A Lady Playing the Spinet

Carl Holsøe 
A Lady Playing the Piano

Carl Holsøe 

Carl Holsøe
The Artist's Wife in an Interior
oil on board

Carl Holsøe
Clearing Away the Tray
oil on canvas 74.6 x 67.6 cm

Carl Holsøe
Interior with the Artists'a Wife
oil on canvas

Carl Holsøe Afternoon Tea
oil on canvas 40 x 29.2 cm


  1. I have so much enjoyed looking at these beautiful paintings,
    thank you for putting together such a lovely group....the viewing experience somehow intensified by the character of so many rear views...the ladies somehow so much more alive this way.

  2. Thank you for your comments, it's good to know the effort is appreciated.

  3. Definitely appreciated. The Hammershois are magnificent, and in great company. Thank you

  4. A wonderful panorama. Thanks. I shared it.