The gallery is set to present an exhibition examining the enigmatic motif of the ‘woman in the window’ in Spring 2022.

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn,
Girl at a Window. Dulwich Picture Gallery

The Dulwich Picture Gallery has confirmed details of Reframed: The Woman in the Window, which will go on display from the 4th May 2022.

Featuring artworks from ancient civilisations to present day, the exhibition will bring together over 40 works by artists including Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, David Hockney, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, Wolfgang Tillmans and Rachel Whiteread to examine how artists have long used the motif ‘woman in the window’ to elicit a particular kind of response ranging from empathy to voyeurism.

This new exhibition will feature a range of media including culpture, painting, print, photography, film and installation art to highlight the key geographic locations, cultures and time periods for which the ‘woman in the window’ had a particular meaning and what the motif reveals about issues of gender and visibility.

Key pieces of the exhibition will include Louise Bourgeois’ My Blue Sky (1989-2003), David Hockney’s The Tower Had One Window (1969) and the Gallery’s own Girl at a Window (1645) by Rembrandt.

Meanwhile, other objects to be displayed include a carved ivory panel from the 10th century BCE and a Roman tomb, will reveal the early history of the motif and its use in representations of power, seduction, spirituality and the afterlife. Elsewhere, the display will also explore the motif in Medieval depictions of saints, Renaissance poetry and portraiture, and art of the Dutch Golden Age.

The exhibition will also focus on women artists who have adopted the concept of the window as a site of communication, connection and inspiration. While confined to her house, Louise Bourgeois salvaged a window frame to create My Blue Sky, representing a lifeline to the outside world. This display will conclude with a poignant epilogue, a selection of works created during national lockdowns to recognise the new meaning the notion of a ‘woman in the window’ has acquired in the context of the global pandemic.

Reframed: The Woman in the Window will be curated by Dr Jennifer Sliwka (King’s College London), previously celebrated for her major exhibition Monochrome: Painting in Black and White (National Gallery London, Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, 2017-18) who said: “This show will allow visitors to explore a powerful motif across geographic boundaries and time periods to discover why the ‘woman in the window’ has been so important to different cultures at different times. It will provide insight into the ways artists have taken up the device of the window as a kind of ‘portal’ between two realms: the real and the imagined, the sacred and the profane, between this life and the afterlife or between the public and the private.”

Reframed: The Woman in the Window will be on display from the 4th May until the 4th September 2022.