Journal Article

Designing the Reader's Interior

Francesca Berry

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 18, issue 1, pages 61-79
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epi006
Designing the Reader's Interior

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This article considers the relationship between two sites for the staging of feminine subjectivity in early twentieth-century France: the woman's magazine and the domestic interior. At a time when furniture and interior decoration were said to represent, in some way, a person's individuality, this article asks how the readers of women's magazines were addressed as subjects in a debate about the subjectivity of the interior, from which they had previously been excluded. The luxury magazine Fémina (1901–38) forged a psychological approach to the issue. It developed a range of significant representational strategies to appeal directly, if synthetically, to the reader's sense of self. Moreover, Fémina constructed the interior, like the magazine itself, as a metaphor for the imaginative negotiation and performance of a range of ideal feminine subject positions. These representational mechanisms and models of femininity are analysed as the means to unpack the notions of feminine subjectivity being defined in relation to the interior.

Keywords: feminine modernity—France—interior decoration—magazines—representation—subjectivity

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

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