The Confluence

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This paper explores the role of the barmaid in relation to commodity in Édouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies Bergère during the explosion of mass consumption that helped define nineteenth century Paris modernity. Building upon existing scholarship, I explore the figure’s role as a member of the emerging working class female, a possible prostitute and an advertising device, promoting the bar’s goods, along with the experience of the Folies-Bergère to the city’s inhabitants. This paper includes formal and iconographical analysis of the figure in relation to commodity as well as a cultural analysis of how these representations reflect attitudes surrounding the commodification of female roles in newly modernized Paris.





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