During the 1890s, there were many prints, posters, and photographs of the female cyclist, but paintings of this subject were relatively rare. In this work of 1892 entitled The New Woman, Edward Lamson Henry depicts how two women and a farmer react to the sight of a female cyclist. They are bewildered by this odd woman in outlandish clothing, who has just gotten off her bicycle to take a drink. Riding a bicycle marks this New Woman as especially modern because she has exchanged her traditional role in the home for exercising freely outdoors. Although these figures play into stereotypes, this painting nevertheless reveals the social tensions surrounding the issue of women’s rights.


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