Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art & Art History

First Advisor

Marilyn R. Brown

Second Advisor

Robert Nauman

Third Advisor

J.P. Park


In this thesis I attempt to contextualize the fin-de-siècle printwork of Félix Vallotton (1865-1925) in terms of nineteenth-century ideologies of femininity. As a socially stabilizing factor of the French nation, the role of the feminine was frequently invoked in visual and literary sources. I analyze Vallotton's print depictions of women in the bourgeois interior as well as the commercial spaces of the Third Republic as they reveal conceptual ties to ideas such as the spatial construction of the separate spheres, the femme fatale and frigidity, as well as the use of pathological rhetoric to describe feminine agency in relation to themes of health and degeneration. In addition, I argue that Vallotton's role as an illustrator reveals the relationship between gendered subject matter and media--as his more titillating print depictions found critical praise, while his painted versions of identical scenes were met with censure.