This paper will focus on three galleries in the Netherlands that once specialized in decorative arts and crafts. The period of study is between the years 1898 and roughly 1930. In all three galleries women played an important role. The discussion includes how these galleries can be linked to the gendering of art forms, interaction between high' and low' decorative art, and the notion of cross-culturalism. The three galleries explored concentrated on different aspects of the European decorative arts' reform movement: high' Arts and Crafts made by trained artist-designers, non-Western crafts coming from areas in the Far East, and home-made domestic folk arts and crafts from Northern and Central Europe. In addition to considering the actual employment of women as designers and gallery managers-which in itself was an important development-the issue of gender is addressed in a broader context. The discussion extends to rationality and notions of Nature with regard to primitiveness, femininity and masculinity. I hope to show that constructions of gender ideologies can correlate with an actual historical situation. Although the galleries reflect the Dutch case at the time, they can be seen to exemplify a more general trend.
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