Plastic Art

Along with the photographs, auditory testimonies of protagonists, books and documents, a selection of artistic works illustrate each part of the exposition. The mix of plastic arts include a number of prints and portraits of the female pioneers at university or in their rooms, which is show in the first section of the exhibition, among them is the portrait of María de Maeztu, provided by her brother Gustavo, among some oil paintings and drawings by Adela Ginés and Joaquín de Sorolla, one of the most closely related artists to the project.

The second section of the exhibition shows a combination of works which all highlight the nature of the Residencia de Señoritas as a meeting space and place where female artists could further their development. In the faculty of the Residencia there were distinguished creators, such as Victoria Durán and Maruja Mallo, and also distinguished students, such as Delhy Tejejo, Joaquina Zamora and Menchu Gal. The works of these authors highlight the changes that occurred in the first third of 20th century. Far from the inherited, constrained aesthetics at the turn of the century, their works display a step ahead towards progressive modernization, which is visible not only in their style of work such as realism and a shy avant-garde, which were advanced at this time, but also in content. Through the aforementioned changes the undergraduate, professional, sporty and intellectual woman was slowly becoming more commonplace, representing herself and claiming her position in a new world, as it is the case in La verbena, by Maruja Mallo, or in La Venus bolchevique, by Delhv Tejero.

Additionally, artists who attended lectures and meetings in the Residencia de Señoritas, found the Lyceum Club Femenino an ideal space for exhibiting their work. There Victoria Durán displayed her works with original batiks and her avant-garde scenographies among others such as Ángeles Santos, María and Helena Sorolla, Marisa Roësset (whose self portrait has not been seen publically since 1927) as well as Pitti Bartolozzi and Juana Francisca Rubio. It seemed that the modern female creators were tearing down the many obstacles that had blocked many women’s paths. However, the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and its consequences shadowed those hopeful planes. Indeed the exile of key members of the Residencia such as Mallo and Durán halted its progress, some of their works can be seen in the final section of the exhibition. Others, like Tejero, Gal, Santos, Roësset and Bartolozzi, stayed in Spain, where they had to find some way to adapt to the antiquated and rigid gender models established by the Spanish dictatorship.