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Clementine-Helene DUFAU

France 1869 – 1937

La Fronde [The sling]

1898 Materials & Technique: prints, posters, colour lithographic poster lithograph, printed in colour
Dimensions: 96.0 h x 132.0 w cm 100.0 h x 140.8 w cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of Orde Poynton Esq. CMG
Accession No: NGA 93.90

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Cutting-edge technology is not just a characteristic of our age

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