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The Birth of Fashion in the 19th Century

Online / On-Site / Art in Context

Wednesdays, September 7 – September 28, 1 – 3pm


Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Leaving the Conservatory (detail), 1876–1877. BF862. Public Domain.

$220; members $198
(4 classes)

About the Class

In 1858, the English fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth—known today as the “father of haute couture”—established his firm in Paris. From that moment, clothing became the primary vehicle by which people could best craft their identity and personality. In this course, we will explore paintings made during the height of the impressionist period (1860s–80s) to better understand the importance of fashion in the public life of modern Paris. Through primary and secondary source readings, and deep analyses of artworks from the period, we will discover the cafés, concert halls, and street life of Paris during the years when fashion was born.

This course takes place at the Barnes, in the Comcast NBCUniversal Auditorium, but is also available for online enrollment. All students, whether on-site or remote, will have the opportunity to participate in class discussions. More about online classes.

On-site capacity: 80

Note: Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to attend this class; please check Safety Guidelines for current masking information.


Caterina Y. Pierre

Caterina Y. Pierre is professor of art history at the City University of New York at Kingsborough Community College and visiting associate professor at the Pratt Institute, New York. She has taught about art and crime at CUNY Kingsborough, Pratt, and Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York. She is currently preparing a book on cemetery sculpture as political art in the late 19th century, as well as a book on Ernest Durig, a forger of the sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Art in Context

Art in Context courses connect works of art to history: What was happening politically, socially, and culturally at the time a piece was made? How did these circumstances shape the artist’s formal choices?