Image: 44.5 x 42.1 cm (17 1/2 x 16 9/16 in.)
Gift of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1937.478
Catalogue raisonné: Mason 22
Fueled by the advertising industry and the increasing popularity of movies, the ideal standard for women’s bodies began to evolve during the early 20th century, fostering a preference for more curvaceous profiles with thinner waists. Bellows’s Reducing Exercises presents a woman dutifully engaged in changing her physique while her male companion sleeps. When he first exhibited the print, the artist provided an accompanying quip: “Gymnastics before retiring are supposed to reduce the flesh. The husband is contented with his figure.”
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