Women And Girls Reading In Art And Illustration

Reading is a girl-coded activity. I haven’t done any deliberate gender curation here — paintings and illustrations of women and girls with books, (love) letters and magazines are simply far more common. However, you will find far more men (fathers) reading newspapers.

Nika Goltz (1925 ~ 2012) 1956 illustration for ‘The Little Witch’ by Otfried Preussler
1884 Godey’s Lady’s Book Fashion Plate
Carlton Alfred Smith – Storytime 1897
Johan Gudmundsen-Holmgreen (1858-1912) A Little Girl Reading, 1900
Jessie Willcox Smith, 1905 Picture Books In Winter
The Artist’s Wife (1933) by Henry Lamb (Australian-British, 1883-1960). Pansy Pakenham (shown here) was a friend of Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford
A Girl Reading Vanessa Bell (1879–1961)
Young woman reading or Lady with Balcony Henri Ottmann (French 1877-1927)
‘Vilma Reading on a Sofa’ by Tavik František Šimon (1887-1942) Polish artist
Interior with Woman Reading in Sunlight. n.d Robert Panitzsch (Danish,1879–1949)
‘The Report Post.’ (1945) Hannah Gluckstein’s painting of author Edith Heald while fire warden at Steyning, Sussex
‘Meditation’ by Ivan Olinsky (1878-1962)
1923 Boys and Girls Of Book Land by Nora Archibald Smith Illustrated by Jesse Wilcox Smith Publisher David McKay Co Little Women
Cover of the September 1931 issue of The American Girl Magazine. For all girls – published by the Girl Scouts
Liberty Magazine July 21 1934 easy recipes
BEDTIME STORIES Little Golden Book #2 illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren
Morgan Weistling, b.1964, California
Henri Lebasque (French painter) 1865-1937 Le Cannet, Madame Lebasque Reading in the Garden, c. 1922
Nina Hamnett’s ‘Portrait of a Woman’ (1917)
Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935) women and girl reading
Alice in Wonderland (c.1879) by George Dunlop Leslie (English, 1835–1921)
‘Girl in Grey,’ (1943) Louis le Brocquy
Harrison Fisher (1877–1934) an illustration from the American Sunday Monthly (1914)
Honor Appleton (1879-1951)
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Jan Catharinus Adriaan Goedhart (Dutch, 1893-1975) A young girl reading, 1929
‘At the Breakfast Table.’ c1890s Carl Holsøe
‘The Letter.’ (c1919) by Leo Whelan
Saudade (Longing), by José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior, oil on carvas, 1899
A Summer Afternoon by Robert Emil Stübner (German, 1874-1931)
Sir Edward John Poynter (1836-1919), peintre britannique. Une soirée à la maison, 1888
Winslow Homer (1836-1910) Boston, Massachusetts, Girl reading on a Stone Porch, 1872
Robert Berény (1887-1953) Eta is reading
William McGregor Paxton. The Front Parlor, 1913
Adrian Paul Allinson (1890-1959) British painter, potter and engraver
Olga Della-Vos-Kardovskaya (1875-1952) Behind The Book 1918
Russian artist Sergei Arsenievich Vinogradov (1869-1938). Woman with a book in the interior, 1915
Zbigniew Pronaszko (Polish,1885-1958)
Istvàn Szönyi (1894-1960, Hungarian painter)
1908 Opvoeding van het kind, Education of the Child, Secessionist Style Dutch poster
Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) Madame Hessel in a red dress reading
Carl Holsoe (1863-1935) The Artist’s Wife Reading
Interior of the Villa Maler (with reading lady on the veranda), ca.1930 by Carl Moll, Austrian
Girl Reading by Harold Knight 1932
Béla Czene (1911-1999) Fashion Magazine (In the Studio), 1969
Nicolaas van der Waay (1855-1936, Dutch) Girl Reading A Book
Walter MacEwen (American painter) 1860-1943 ‘Egmondse School’ of painting The Absent One On All Soul’s Day
Marie Spartali Stillman – Beatrice
Cover of 1904 Opel catalog (1904) art nouveau
Felix Vallotton
‘Reading by Lamplight (Twilight Interior)’, George Clausen, oil on canvas, 1909
Konrad Krzyzanowski (1872 – 1922) By Candlelight, 1914, National Museum, Warsaw
Felix Vallotton
The house maid (1910) by William McGregor Paxton (American, 1869-1941)
Elf Book Twilight Tales 1950 Rand McNally
Walter Beach Humphrey (American artist and illustrator) 1892 – 1966, ‘Memories’
Finnish artist Helene Schjerfbeck, Girl Reading, 1904
Armand POINT (1860-1932) was a French painter, engraver and designer who was associated with the Symbolist movement. This is ‘La Légende Dorée’ from 1897
A Fireside Read by William Mulready c. 1825
Edwin Harris (English, 1855 – 1906) By Firelight
People's Home Journal February 1906
People’s Home Journal February 1906
Peter Vilhelm Ilsted (1861–1933) Girl Reading a Letter in an Interior, 1908
Nikolaï Bogdanov-Belski 1892 Reading The Letter
John Everett Millais (1829-1896, British) The Violet’s Message 1854
Thomas Benjamin Kennington - Reading the Letter
Thomas Benjamin Kennington – Reading the Letter
Night Of The Letter by Dorothy Eden
Night Of The Letter by Dorothy Eden
Edwin Georgi (1896-1964) impressionistic girls with book
Interior With A Woman Seen From The Back 1904 by Vilhelm Hammershoi (Danish 1864-1916)
Carl Vilhelm Holsøe (Danish, 1863-1935) Lady in Black
Carl Vilhelm Holsöe (1863-1935, Danish) Reading By Candlelight
Thomas Cantrell Dugdale (1880 – 1952) The light of the fire. Well, someone was reading but then she fell asleep I guess.
Liberty, January 18, 1930 art by Leslie Thrasher
Frank Bramley RA (English 1857–1915) Delicious Solitude 1909
Peder Severin Krøyer (Danish,1851-1909) Roses or The Artist’s Wife in the Garden at Skagen, 1902
Illustration from a 1953 Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad calendar
Alois Heinrich Priechenfried (1867-1953 Vienna, Austria)
‘Attic Window.’ (1937) Noel Kilgour (Australian living in Pimlico)
Irene Haas, illustration from A little House of Your Own, 1954
Girls reading, 1939 by US photographer Dorothea Lange
Eugeni Forcano. Barcelona, 1957

Very small boys are not considered masculine yet so it’s acceptable for preschoolers to do girly things. So here, finally, is a picture of a boy with a book.

James Chapin (1887 – 1975, American) Child At Window
Leonid Zolotarev – The Snow Queen

Finally, a man with books.

Ilya Yefimovich Repin (Russian painter) 1844-1930
Boy with Comic (1957) Joan Eardley
John Ggnnam from a 1948 ad for Pacific Sheets
Eduard Swoboda 1814-1902
Gauguin’s portrait of his son Clovis, 1885
Reading at Supper (1957) Joan Eardley
Georg Friedrich Kersting
Fairfield Porter The Porch 1960s
‘Picking Poindexter’, Richard Sargent, Saturday Evening Post, 1959