La Jeune Veuve

  •   $100
    | 11"x14"
      Edition of 150
  •   $250
    | 16"x20"
      Edition of 50
  •   $500
    | 20"x24"
      Edition of 25
  •   $1,000
    | 30"x40"
      Edition of 5
  •   $1,500
    | 40"x50"
      Edition of 5

The prints you receive are archival, chromogenic prints on a semi-matte paper with a longevity of 100+ years under normal light conditions.

The quoted dimensions refer to the paper size, and not the size of image contained within the paper. Each image is printed with a minimum 1/4" border to allow for framing, and ships with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by the artist.

Geneviève Thauvette
La Jeune Veuve, 2012
from the series Les Filles Du Roi

Les Filles du Roi (the King's Daughters) is the name given to the large group of young women sent from France to Canada in the 17th century as brides of the state. Approximately 800 selected girls, mostly orphans and some widows, were provided with a dowry from King Louis XIV to help populate the fledgling colony. On average, they were wed within four to five months of their arrival and would bear 7 to 8 children. These women, often ill-perceived as prostitutes or "filles de joie", helped double the population over the duration of the ten-year migration program from 1663-1673. Systematically, a nation was founded on their backs.

This project chronicles their journey referencing the visual language found in heraldry, as an early form of political branding. Each scene was constructed using cardboard cutouts and digital manipulation to create a theatrical three-dimensional coat of arms. The images are full of stereotypes and allegorical references that  allude to French-Canadian culture;  the cans of pepsi, the bonnehome, and the official motto of Quebec "je me souviens" (I remember).

The title of this piece refers to a Quebecois film, "Les aventures dʼune jeune veuve". Women would remarry quickly in New France, especially if there were still children at home. A quarter of these women would have about 3 dependants, whereas an eighth of new widows would still have the responsibility of at least 5 children. There was no time to observe the traditional grieving period. Most remarried well within the year. Although not all young, their new husbands were either the same age or younger (which is a far cry from their first unions where the men could be 10 years older or more.) The unbalance in the matrimonial market still made these women viable for another marriage. 86% of women widowed before 40 remarried, which was an extremely uncommon phenomenon during the Ancient Régime. The motto, "la mort dʼun bucheron" (the death of a butcher), is the title of another 1973 québecois film of the same name in which the story of Maria Chapdelaine is sexualized and curiously retold as Maria leaves the woods only to be exploited in the big city.

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