A Day at the Beach
The image of women at the seaside in elegant white gowns was a popular subject for Impressionist painters. This exhibition explores the reality of summer tourism with a selection of actual garments of the style that would have been worn near and at the beach between 1865 and 1915. The practice of vacationing was once the exclusive domain of a wealthy elite and did not become accessible to the middle class until the mid-nineteenth century. At the same time that transportation and leisure time increased, so did the range of activities deemed acceptable. During the late nineteenth century, women’s participation in sports was hampered both by public notions of decency and fashionable clothing styles. Beaches were not yet for frolicking and sunbathing, but rather offered opportunities for strolling and taking in the sights. Although the garments on display in this exhibit might strike the modern eye as cumbersome and constricting, they represent the range of casual clothing options available during the period.
This exhibition is designed to coordinate with the exhibition “Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism” that will be on view at the Akron Art Museum from October 29, 2011-February 5, 2012.