Irene Gammel and Ingrid Mida’s study “How to Dress the Body Artfully: The ‘Art in Dress’ Column in the Art Amateur Magazine, 1881-1883,” has been published by Journal of Modern Periodical Studies (University of Pennsylvania Press). This research advances our understanding of the relationship between gender, art, and fashion through a turn-of-the-century advice column in the periodical The Art Amateur.
Left: Cover of The Art Amateur 1, no. 1 (June 1879); Right: Silk dress, ca. 1880. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Object #18184.108.40.206ab. Gift of Finley J. Shepard, 1939.
From 1881 to 1883, the New York art periodical The Art Amateur featured a remarkable column entitled “Art in Dress,” wherein writer Mary Gay Humphreys sought the opinions of American artists associated with the National Academy of Design on how women should dress. In analyzing this column’s critical approach to modern fashion with its advice on how to dress artfully in an American way, we reflect on the discursive construction of the natural female body in print culture and highlight the relationship between gender, dress, American arts institutions, and popular aesthetic culture of the late nineteenth century.
Gammel, Irene, and Ingrid Mida. “How to Dress the Body Artfully: The ‘Art in Dress’ Column in the Art Amateur Magazine, 1881-1883,”Journal of Modern Periodical Studies 13.2 (2022): 226-246.
Left: “Walking Costume of Today,” The Art Amateur 6 no. 1 (December 1881): 11; Right: William Merritt Chase (American, 1849–1916), Portrait of Harriet Hubbard Ayer, 1879. Oil on canvas (48 1/8 × 32 1/4 inches). Image courtesy of Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, Museum Purchase 1981.1.
The Art Amateur (magazine), gender and the domestic arts, artistic dress, advice columns, National Academy of Design
The authors thank Dr. Jason Wang for helpful feedback, and the MLC Research Centre at Toronto Metropolitan University for its support. The research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
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