Photo Exhibit: Les Insoumises, France's rebellious female courtesans
In France today, the women known as Les Insoumises are feisty feminists who will not take any affront to their dignity lying down. During the Second Empire (1852-70), lying down was just what Les Insoumises excelled at, and dignity had nothing to do with it.
They were courtesans whose nickname"insoumises," meaning insubordinate, came from the fact that, unlike common prostitutes, they refused to submit to police licensing or conventional morals. They were glamorous, venal and usually ended up badly but while the going was good they were celebrated, from before the Empire and after its end, by writers from Dumas fils to Maupassant and Zola.
At the 39th-annual Rencontres d'Arles, France's most famous photography festival, the guest curator, the couturier Christian Lacroix, chose Les Insoumises to feature in a special and very entertaining section, explaining that he has long been fascinated by these colorful transgressors. The exhibition was co-curated by Laure Deratte.
The 50 photographs on view at the festival, which closed on Aug. 31, were
collected by Philippe and Marion Jacquier, a husband-and-wife team who
specialize in vintage prints in their Galerie Lumière des Roses in
Montreuil, on the edge of Paris.
comments powered by Disqus
- T. rex fossils arrive at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
- Quote of the Day -- Time Magazine's Top 100 People
- Investigation: The Resegregation of America's Schools
- 5 Explosive Revelations Leaked from Senate Report Exposing CIA Torture
- In Parts of the South, Glorifying Slavery No Longer Pays the Bills
- UC Berkeley professor emeritus Robert Harlan dies at 84
- She Came All the Way from Melbourne to Attend the OAH
- The 7 Most Popular HNN Videos from the 2014 OAH
- Jesse Lemisch’s up-from-below history is still strikingly original
- U.Va. Historian Alan Taylor Wins 2014 Pulitzer for Book on Slaves and War -- His second Pulitzer!