“Tea and Morphine”

Yesterday I went to the Hammer Museum in Westwood.
They have a very good exhibit called “Tea and Morphine” women in Paris 1880-1914. Women who had leisure time were depicted relaxing with an afternoon cup of tea, as seen in a Mary Cassatt etching, whereas other artists portrayed the drug addiction common to women facing harsh economic realities.
drug addict
These extremes, and the positions in between, set the parameters for the exhibition of approximately 100 works, which includes prints as well as rare books and ephemera (such as menus, theater programs, and music scores). This array of objects gives the exhibition an intimate quality, revealing much about how women – and men – lived their lives during a time of great social upheaval and artistic innovation.
The collection illustrates some of the most significant developments in French printmaking of the period, such as the expanded use of color and japonisme. By the 1890s Japanese art had conquered Western art, transforming and reconfiguring it. The work of officially sanctioned academic artists began to seem stiff and old-fashioned in comparison to the lively wit, sensuous line, and vivid imagery of Japanese prints.

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