Mistaken Sentiment: Impressionism and Motherhood 

Motherhood was a major theme for the Impressionist group in late 19th century France. To our contemporary eyes the soft colours and brushstrokes can make the subject matter seem sentimental, almost sickeningly so. However, the choice of the motherhood/ childcare by women artists in this era was neither sentimental nor conventional. Artists like Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot and Eva Gonzalès had other ideas in mind. This talk will explore the complex subject of motherhood by these unconventional female artists to get us to, perhaps, rethink contemporary sentiments associated with ‘motherhood.’ 

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Sarah Jaffray holds a BA and MA in Art History with an emphasis in 19th/20th century France and a minor in the Italian Renaissance. She holds a second MA in Cultural Theory from Goldsmiths, University of London. Sarah was a lecturer for several colleges and universities in the Los Angeles area before relocating to London in 2012. She has worked in curatorial roles at the British Museum and Wellcome Collection. Sarah is currently a lecturer at the University of Arts London and Coordinator for City Lit’s Art History programme. Her art historical practice focuses on experimental narratives, artistic process, art pedagogy, politics and philosophy. Sarah’s current research is focused on translation and empathy.

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