Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College

The Human Comedy: Chronicles of 19th-Century France

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Aux Champs-Élysées

Aux Champs-Élysées

Honoré Daumier (French, 1808–1879) Aux Champs-Élysées (On the Champs-Élysées), 1855 Lithograph Gift of Eugene L. Garbaty, 1954.158

Beginning in the mid-1850s and continuing for almost a decade, giant hoop skirts were all the rage in Paris. Asso-ciated with the court of the Empress Eugénie and with the excesses of the Second Empire more generally, these crinoline contraptions were highly impractical, which was precisely the point. No woman could be expected to per-form any useful or productive activity while wearing one of these concentric hooped cages. It was virtually impossible to sit down in a hoop skirt, and even walking could be chal-lenging, especially if one met another woman on a narrow sidewalk or in a hallway. Daumier developed the comic repercussions of women’s crinolomanie (crinoline-mania), exploring the many hazards of this “widespread” obsession.

—De trois heures à six heures, grande exposition des jupons.

—From three o’clock to six o’clock, grand exhibition of hoop skirts.