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Charles Webster Hawthorne (1872-1930)
The Dressmaker, 1915
Oil on wood panel
Gift of Olga H. Knoepke - 1992.21

The woman intent at her work wears lightweight, comfortable clothing. A pale gold blouse and a green skirt add to the airy feeling of the composition. Hunched over her sewing, one leg is casually extended. After 1915, the silhouette changed from long and narrow, to wide and loose. This freedom from constricting styles was necessary for the large numbers of women who became physically active when they joined the workforce during the World War I. The role of women in society drastically altered during this time as more women replaced men in the economic sphere, taking on jobs that had been previously done by others.