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Fin-de-siecle Jewel Case

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Fin-de-siecle Jewel Case

Artist: Gail Scott White (American, born 1955)

Date: 1992
Medium: Steel and faux pearls
Overall: 41 1/2 x 22 1/4 x 22 1/4in. (105.4 x 56.5 x 56.5cm)
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 93.27
Label Text
Gail Scott White created a series of sculptures based on her study of "hysterical women" whom Sigmund Freud analyzed at the turn of the 20th century in Austria. Scott examined in particular three young women: Dora, Katharina, and Lucy R. She wrote: "I have chosen to use clothing and other 19th-century domestic items (often hand-crafted objects) as a metaphor for the absent being. The Fin-de-siècle Jewel Case is an object which appears in Dora's dreams and is interpreted as being laden with psycho-sexual content."

Freud's treatment of these women leads us to believe that they were fragile, but Scott's interpretation of them and the symbolic objects associated with them undermines such expectations. The Jewel Case and other figures in the series are large, solid, and usually formed from steel.

© Gail Scott White