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C O U R S E 
Sexing the Canvas: Art and Gender
Jeanette Hoorn, The University of Melbourne
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Hazel Lavery and the Politics of Display
Notes taken on July 23, 2017 by Edward Tanguay
the role the museum plays
museums display a story, a cultural narrative
stories of technical, stylistic, and formal development
from religious art, to secular patronage, to the individualism of modern art
codified spaces for ritual comparable to churches or cathedrals
this provides a useful way to think about how we engage with art in such spaces
in hush tones, treading quietly, looking up to admire worshipfully great works of art
art works are presented in a different way we engage with visual material in the outside world
they are isolated and literally held aloft for our admiration and contemplation
what we are admiring is beauty
this is due to the fact that museums as a concept, emerge in late 18th century Europe, and are a testament to the aesthetic ideas of the Enlightenment
grouping artists in a shared space draws out shared qualities
subject matter
positioned above our eye level, these women never quite look back at us directly, instead, they look just past us, allowing us to look at them without reproach
these women are as decorative as the gilded frames in which they are displayed
John Lavery's painting In Morocco (1913)
Hazel Lavery
another face among the multitude
it is fitting that she is dressed in costume
she is performing the role of model for her husband
she looks coyly at the viewer
there is a sense of the stage about this work
the wall in the background enclosing the space
figures deliberately grouped in a triangular shape
the blue parasol that frames Hazel's head draws our attention
echos the blue sky around her daughter's head
creates a connection between the two women which is reaffirmed by the color of their dress
yet there is a difference between the direct stare of Alice and Hazel's rather sideways glance
the difference between girl and woman is spelled out
the lack of sexual awareness vs. seductive femininity
Hazel's face, half hidden in shadow, reveals little
she is a symbol of women of beauty in this work
she's merely a decorative figure
we can pass over her face without much curiosity, as easily as we look at the decorative embellishments on the horse's saddle
Hazel Lavery (1880-1935)
born in America
painter and the second wife of the celebrated portrait artist Sir John Lavery
her likeness appeared on Banknotes of Ireland for much of the 20th century
studied etching in Paris
1904 met John Lavery
1909 married
she was painted differently by John Lavery, with a more direct gaze compared to the gaze in In Morocco
1921 Hazel painted her husband
one of her few surviving paintings
if this hung next to In Morocco, her gaze may be read instead of as a coyful flirtation, an artistic eyeing-up
however, it was John and not Hazel who became the renowned artist
Hazel retired from art-making in favor of the role of society hostess, artistic muse, and studio model
so Hazel's face recurs throughout John's paintings, but always as a sort of distant, seductive beauty
Hazel's career folded for the reason so many womens' careers folded throughout European art history
the difficult of facing a system in which women were outsiders in the world of art to be looked at but not expected to do the looking
it was a structural difficultly women faced in pursuing careers as artists
Hazel ended up playing the far more acceptable role of model to her artist husband
this path from artist to model wife was one that other women took as well
when we know their stories, see their work, and hear their voices, we see them differently than the anonymous beauties that decorate galleries and museums
the reading of artworks can change, depending on the environment we see them in, and the information we are presented with
the way we read gender in spaces is a product of the space