Color portrait of Anna Dumont from the hips up, wearing a gray top, facing forward, and standing in front of a marble wall with a mosaic over her right shoulder

Anna Dumont

Lily Auchincloss Rome Prize
gennaio 11–agosto 6, 2021
Profession
PhD Candidate, Department of Art History, Northwestern University
Project title
From Design Reform to Fascist Craft: Women and Italian Textile Production, 1870–1945
Project description

My project provides a new history of Italian textiles from 1870 to 1945. It traces the effects of shifts in textile production on women during industrialization starting in the late nineteenth century, when craft revivals centered on training women for economic self-sufficiency through lacemaking and embroidery, to the interwar period, when new, consolidated design firms and the integration of textiles into avant-garde art obscured the role of women makers. Working with the proliferation of photographs, Futurist decorative objects, craft manuals, government documents, exhibition catalogs, Fascist periodicals, and artists’ letters dealing with women’s textile labor during this period, I show how shifts in such visual and textual presentations constructed ideas of artistic authorship that increasingly privileged male designers over female makers. Finally, I ask what the political consequences were for women in a period when political identity increasingly was bound up with work.