What does a woman want?
Sigmund Freud’s famous question was originally put to Princess Marie Bonaparte, patient, friend and analyst, the moving force behind Freud’s flight from Nazi Vienna to his final home in London, now the Freud Museum London.
Inspired by Lisa Appignanesi’s acclaimed book, Mad, Bad and Sad: Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present, the exhibition highlights the experience of women and their relationship to those who confined, cared for and listened to them. It also shows how women today conduct their own explorations of mind and imagination in challenging works of art.
How did the mind doctors of the 1900s view their female patients? What did they make of their variously diagnosed nerves, melancholy, mania, obsession, self-mutilation, tics, possession, hysteria, desire, and rebellion and why in the early 20th century was psychoanalysis liberating for so many female authors and artists? Are some of the questions this exhibition explores.
Through intimate and revealing portraits, shown alongside original historical documents, the exhibition traces key moments in the history of ‘female maladies’ and counterpoints them with women’s boldly inventive art today.
The Women – Mary Lamb, Theroigne de Méricourt, Alice James, Anna O (Bertha Pappenheim), Dora (Ida Bauer); Augustine, Elizabeth Severn, Bryher (Annie Winifred Ellerman), HD (Hilda Doolittle), Princess Marie Bonaparte, Anna Freud, Dorothy Burlingham, Zelda Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, Marilyn Monroe, Sylvia Plath and Anna Kavan.
The Mind Doctors - Philipe Pinel, Jean Etienne Esquirol, Jean Martin Charcot, Alexander Morison, William James, Havelock Ellis, Josef Breuer, Sigmund Freud, Lou Andreas Salome, Sandor Ferenczi, Hanns Sachs, Princess Marie Bonaparte, Anna Freud, Dorothy Burlingham, Melanie Klein, Ruth Beuscher and Marianne Kris.
The Artists - Alice Anderson, Louise Bourgeois, Helen Chadwick, Tracey Emin, Elliott Erwitt, Jane Fradgley, Isa Genzkent, Sarah Lucas, Amie Siegel, Francis Upritchard, plus Richard Dadd and Salvador Dali.
The women’s stories are told through objects, art works, original photographs, papers, books and pictures drawn from the Freud Museum London and other international collections. This includes Salvador Dali’s portrait of Freud, Freud’s iconic ‘modernist’ chair and the couch on which he died; original paintings and photographs of Mary Lamb, Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, London; Philipe Pinel’s death mask on loan from the University of Edinburgh/National Galleries of Scotland; paintings by Richard Dadd and Anna Kavan and restraining garments from the Bethlem Art and History Collections Trust, London.
The Freud Museum would like to thank the Museum Dr Guislain, Ghent, Belgium, for their support in the making of the exhibition.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a season of performances, talks, films and events. Click here to find out more
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