GAINESVILLE, FL.- The Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida is presenting an exhibition of more than 150 drawings, pastels, paintings and sculptures addressing some of the most important and defining questions of women’s lives in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Becoming a Woman in the Age of Enlightenment: French Art from The Horvitz Collection is on view from Oct. 6 to Dec. 31, 2017. 

Ranging from spirited, improvisational sketches and figural studies to highly finished drawings of exquisite beauty, the works included in the exhibition are by many of the most prominent artists of the time. They include Antoine Watteau, Nicolas Lancret, François Boucher, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, as well as lesser-known artists both male and female, such as Anne Vallayer-Coster, Gabrielle Capet, François-André Vincent and Philibert-Louis Debucourt. 

Becoming a Woman in the Age of Enlightenment has been organized into sections that address cultural attitudes and conditions that shaped how women were defined in the 18th and early 19th centuries. These sections include “The Fair Sex: Conceptions and Paradigms of Woman;” “Women in Training;” “What’s Love Got To Do With It?;” “Married with Children;” “Dressing the Part;” “Aging Gracefully;” “Pleasurable Pursuits;” “Private Pleasures” and “Work: Leaving it to the Professionals.” 

“Becoming a Woman will offer opportunities to consider how its themes compare to some of the most pressing social issues of our own time and how things may or may not have changed,” said Melissa Hyde, guest curator of the exhibition. “Although the circumstances and the specifics have changed, pay equity, reproductive rights, violence against women and work-family balance are but a few of the many women’s issues covered in the exhibition that still remain today.” 

Becoming a Woman is curated by Melissa Hyde, Professor of Art History and Research Foundation Professor, University of Florida, and the late Mary D. Sheriff, W.R. Kenan J. Distinguished Professor of Art History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is organized by Alvin L. Clark, Jr, Curator, The Horvitz Collection and The J.E. Horvitz Research Curator, Harvard Art Museums/Fogg. An illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition and be available for purchase in the Museum Store.


Antoine Vestier, Allegory of the Arts, 1788,  Oil on canvas. The Horvitz Collection.


Marie-Anne Fragonard, Bust-length Portrait of a Young Girl. n.d. Gouache on off-white paper, 2 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. The Horvitz Collection.


Pierre-Hubert Subleyras, Anne-Marie Zina Durand de Lironcourt; oil on canvas. 72 x 60.5 cm. The Horvitz Collection.



Charles-Joseph Natoire, Erato Serenading Thalia, Euterpe, and Melpomene, 1738. Oil on canvas. The Horvitz Collection.


Louis-Léopold Boilly, Conversation in a Park, 1800-1810. Oil on canvas. The Horvitz Collection.

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Jacques-Antoine-Marie Lemoine, Woman Standing in a Garden, 1783, Black chalk and brush with gray wash on off-white laid paper. The Horvitz Collection.

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François Boucher, Young Travelers, black chalk on cream antique laid paper, framing line in black ink, laid down on a decorated mount, 295 x 188 mm.The Horvitz Collection.

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Jacques-Louis David, Andromache Mourning the Death of Hector, pen with black ink and brush with gray wash over traces of black chalk on cream antique laid paper, 293 x 248 mm.The Horvitz Collection.

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Jean-Baptiste Greuze, The Chestnut Vendor, brush with gray and brown wash on cream antique laid paper, 385 x 460 mm. The Horvitz Collection.