In the late 19th century posters began to be used to convey political messages to great effect. Clémentine-Hélène Dufau’s La Fronde [The sling], commissioned by socialist activist Marguerite Durand, documents the rise of feminism in France. La Fronde itself was a proto-feminist periodical first published in Paris in 1897.
The poster depicts a number of educated women of wealth and status standing side-by-side with their less fortunate counterparts. The location is clearly Montmartre, which was then a working class suburb of Paris and famous haunt of artists of the time. One of the wealthier women points out the Sorbonne University in the distance to her poorer neighbour – we can see the shape of its cupola in the centre of the image – thus inferring that education offers women a means of self betterment and a chance to rise socially.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra