Female friends in history and in contemporary art
In the 18th century, friendship cult developed and women played a significant part in this process. Friendship became a female stage, both in direct and indirect exchange through letters. Literary circles and drawing-rooms served the women as places for further education, motivated them for own writings and represented an accepted step into the semi-public.
The exchange with a confidante friend encouraged women in stepping over traditional roles.
Female friends were partners for single women who didn’t found a family of their own or who were widowed. When, during the 19th century, the first middle-class women entered a profession, they were more likely to realize their plans together with a like-minded friend.
Female friendships and networks became the basis in the 19th century to claim women’s rights. Female friends took up the fight together for overcoming of legal obstacles or the resistance of the family. Luise Otto-Peters and Auguste Schmidt were a friendship couple in the first German women’s movement. They, in 1865, founded the first German women’s association in Leipzig. Others followed them.
The International Association of Women’s Suffrage was organization of women who shared feminist political and private ideas. Without that friend’s network it would not have been possible to realize the International Women’s Peace Congress in Den Haag in 1915 with participants of both sides of the war.
During the exhibition many events take place: Download the full programme here