Male Support for Equal Opportunities for Women at the Brussels' Royal Academy of Fine Arts (late 19th Century)

  • Wendy Wiertz (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Feminist art history has predominantly focused on how women surmounted themselves many obstacles to become professional artists. Less attention has gone to the men who were women’s allies in the struggle for equal educational and professional opportunities. In my presentation, I focus on the advocacy by interim president Joseph Stallaert (1825-1903) for an official model painting class for women at the Brussels’ Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1896. Stallaert’s aim would cost money and in order to succeed, Stallaert needed to convince the City Council of Brussels as they subsidised the Academy and thus a model painting class for women. The correspondence between Stallaert and the City Council is preserved in the Archives of the City of Brussels. The letters clearly demonstrate the arguments and tactics of both parties in favour or against women learning to paint the nude and thus preparing for an artistic career. They also reveal opposing views held by men about women’s education and the latter’s place in society at the turn of the century.
Period20 Sep 2019
Event titleFaire oeuvre. La formation et la professionnalisation des artistes femmes aux XIXe et XXe siècles
Event typeConference
LocationFranceShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational