So this is the strong Sex. Women in Psychoanalysis

Special Exhibition, 16 October 2015 - 1 October 2016

Corsage 1850 - 1900. By FLO Vintage. Photo: Ottenschlaeger

The Sigmund Freud Museum is dedicating the special exhibition “So this is the strong Sex.” Women in Psychoanalysis to women from the early history of psychoanalysis. Marie Marie Bonaparte, Helene Deutsch, Emma Eckstein, Anna Freud, Lou Andreas-Salomé and Sabina Spielrein had a major influence on the work of Sigmund Freud and on the development of psychoanalysis.

“So this is the strong sex” – Emma Eckstein is said to have once greeted Sigmund Freud with this ironic allusion. Succinctly, this quotation conveys the possible new interpretations of predominant gender roles. As patients, these women provided Sigmund Freud with the basis for his discovery of the unconscious; the “father of psychoanalysis” himself confirms how he developed his treatment method known as the “talking cure” together with them.

In addition to their practical work as analysts, these protagonists made substantial contributions to the development of psychoanalytical theory, inspiring Freud’s works or even anticipating them, as in the case of Sabina Spielrein. Their involvement in the international dissemination and global institutionalisation of psychoanalysis is equally undisputed: Sabina Spielrein in Switzerland and Russia, Lou Andreas-Salomé in Germany, Marie Bonaparte in France, Helene Deutsch in the USA, and Anna Freud in England.

The biographies and works of these different figures, all impressive, are focused on in the exhibition along with Freud’s theoretical work from the perspective of feminism, gender and queer studies criticism.


‚So this is the strong Sex.‘ Women in Psychoanalysis

Special exhibition at the Sigmund Freud Museum

16 October 2015 – 1 October 2016, daily 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Opening: 15 October 2015, 7 p.m.

Conceived and curated by Monika Pessler, Daniela Finzi and Johanna Frei

Exhibition team: Simone Faxa, Alexandra Dancasiu




Arkadi Blatow, FLO VINTAGE – www.flovintage.com, Freud Museum London, Josephinum, Sammlungen und Geschichte der Medizin, MedUni Wien, Lena Korn, Österreichisches Pharma- und Drogistenmuseum, The Anna Freud Centre, London, Universitätsbibliothek Wien, Urban Zerfaß, Verein für Geschichte der ArbeiterInnenbewegung, Wien, Wienbibliothek im Rathaus

Scans and reproductions

Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute Archives, Dorothee Pfeiffer, Göttingen, Library of Congress, Washington, Musée des Avelines, Musée d'art et d'histoire de Saint-Cloud, Österreichische Mediathek, Audiovisuelles Archiv – Technisches Museum Wien, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Wiener Psychoanalytische Vereinigung, Zentralbibliothek Zürich, Graphische Sammlung und Fotoarchiv


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