About This Exhibition

Fashion and portraiture have always been intertwined. Particularly in images of women, clothes are used as a shorthand to describe the sitter’s personality–is she respectable and old-fashioned, over-the-top and risqué, or no-nonsense and capable?

What She Wore features nineteenth and twentieth-century portraits of women from the permanent collection, wearing everything from evening gowns to shirtdresses. Each portrait explores different ideals and conceptions of femininity, urging us to–in the words of Coco Chanel–“look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.”

What She Wore is generously supported by Anne K. Coffin. All museum exhibitions receive generous sponsorship from the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum and the City of Wichita.

A young woman is seated on the floor leaning forward to admire one of three yellow tulips that extend from a blue and white Delftware bulb vase.

Frederick Carl Frieseke, The Yellow Tulip, about 1902. Oil on canvas, 31 1/2 x 24 3/4 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Gift of William Connelly and Martha L. Walker