Periods, Groups & Movements: Women Artists
(also see Artemisia, Cassett, Gwen John, Vigée Le Brun, Morisot)
Independent Spirit: Early Canadian Women Artists by A Prakash – Hardcover: 408 pages; Publisher: Firefly Books (October 10, 2008)

Independent Spirit celebrates women artists in Canada from the eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth century...drawing on rarely seen paintings in private collections, as well as exquisite pieces from public galleries.

Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945 by Sandra D'Emilio (Editor), Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Association With the Uni, Patricia Trenton (Editor), Autry Museum of Western Heritage (Corporate Author) – Paperback: 320 pages; Publisher: University of California Press (October 1, 1995)

Note: I discovered that the portrait on the cover is a self-portrait by artist Mabel Alvarez and I had actually saved it from the web about six years ago as a painting I admired.

Independent Spirits brings to vivid life the West as seen through the eyes of women painters from 1890 to the end of World War II. Expert scholars and curators identify long-lost talent and reveal how these women were formidable cultural innovators as well as agitators for the rights of artists and women during a period of extraordinary development. Abundantly illustrated, with over one-hundred color plates, this book is a rich compendium of Western art by women, including those of Native American, African, Mexican, and Asian descent.

The essays examine the many economic, social, and political forces that shaped this art over years of pivotal change. The West's dynamic growth altered the role of women, often allowing new avenues of opportunity within the prevailing Anglo culture. At the same time, boundaries of femininity were pushed earlier and further than in other parts of the country. Women artists in the West painted a wide range of subjects, and their work embraced a variety of styles: Realism, Impressionism, Symbolism, Surrealism. Some women championed modern art as gallery owners, collectors, and critics, while others were educators and curators. All played an important role in gaining the acceptance of women as men's peers in artistic communities, and their independent spirit resonates in studios and galleries throughout the country today.

American Women Modernists: The Legacy of Robert Henri, 1910-1945 by Sarah Burns – Paperback: 274 pages Rutgers University Press (August 25, 2005)

Early American modernist art has been defined for decades by a narrow range of works by almost entirely male New York–based artists in the circles of Alfred Stieglitz and Walter Arensberg. Typically, Georgia O’Keeffe is the solitary acknowledged exception to these male-dominated modernist circles. But, Marian Wardle and the contributors to this long-overdue collection issue a powerful challenge to this narrow view. They reveal that scores of women artists of the period produced works that were significant, influential, and indubitably modern.

All the women considered in this study were once the art students of the popular and perhaps most influential American art teacher of the twentieth century, Robert Henri (1865–1929). Henri encouraged an art that was expressive of personal emotions and experience and that was grounded in life. He preached equality among different media and approaches to art. Giving heed to his teachings, his women students engaged in a wide variety of artistic production. Collectively, the stunning variety and power of their work in painting, sculpture, printmaking, textiles, decorative arts, and furniture broadens our understanding of American modernism and illuminates the role of women artists in shaping it. Yet, these women have remained largely unstudied, and virtually unknown, even among art historians.

The seven new essays included in this volume move beyond the famed Ashcan School—the small group of Henri’s male students who worked in a narrow range of urban realist subjects—to recover the lesser known work of his women students. The contributors, who include well-known scholars of art history, American studies, and cultural studies demonstrate how these women participated in the "modernizing" of women’s roles during this era; how gender controlled their art, productivity, sales, and reception; how their many styles, media, and subjects enrich our understanding of modern American art; and how the work of modern women artists relates to women’s involvement in other areas of modern American society and culture, including labor and social reform, patronage, literature, dance, and music.

Lavishly illustrated and complemented by short biographies of more than 400 of Henri’s students, this delightful collection adds a long-ignored but deserving dimension to an expanded story of American modernism and to women’s contributions to the arts. "Long overdue, this richly documented book restores the female presence in early twentieth-century American art, design, and craft. Brava to all the contributors for their mighty labors in the archives and museum collections."—Wanda M. Corn, Robert and Ruth Halperin professor in art history, Stanford University

Women Artists: An Illustrated History by Nancy Heller – Paperback: 300 pages Publisher: Abbeville Press; 4th edition (February 1, 2004) 220 illustrations, 160 in full color

Firmly established as one of the premier histories of women in the fine arts, Nancy G. Heller's Women Artists returns in an expanded fourth edition. Its lavish illustrations--all the artists' works are reproduced in large-format color--and documentary pictures of many of the artists make this one of the most accessible and useful studies of women in the arts. Dr. Heller's lively text provides an overview of the obstacles that women have encountered, emphasizing the ways that women artists have ingeniously circumvented them, inventing new forms and bringing a distinctive perspective to traditional subjects. With coverage of the 1990s and the beginning of the new millenium, nearly half the volume is now devoted to the remarkable period from 1960 to the present, when women artists emerged as the most dynamic force in contemporary art.

New to this edition are innovative U.S. figures including sculptor and performance artist Janine Antoni and photographer Renee Cox, as well as major international artists including Iran's Shirin Neshat, Shahzia Sikander from Pakistan, British painter Fiona Rae, and the Icelandic sculptor and performance artist Katrin Sigurdardottir.

Women Artists of the American West by Susan R. Ressler (Editor) – Hardcover: 397 pages Publisher: McFarland & Company (April 11, 2003)

This book presents the work of more than 150 women artists who live or once lived west of the Mississippi River. The first half of the book consists of fifteen interpretive essays examining the work and concerns of 19th and 20th century artists working in a broad range of media (including photography, quiltmaking, painting, printmaking, clay art, sculpture, digital art and more). Concepts of community, identity, spirituality, and locality are explored in interdisciplinary contexts. Histories and critical reappraisals of gendered representations of the American West form the backbone of these essays.

The second half of the book is an alphabetical directory of the artists discussed in the essays, with biographical information, notes on exhibitions and collections, and the artists’ own statements about their work and their visions. Together, these artists represent the full spectrum of ethnicities and cultures that comprise the American West. The text is lavishly illustrated with nearly 300 reproductions, including 60 in color.

A World of Our Own by Frances Borzello – Hardcover: 224 pages Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications (October 1, 2000)

This stirring account documents the centuries-long struggle of gifted women who confronted the exclusionary tactics of a male-dominated art establishment but pressed ahead undaunted to gain public acceptance as sought-after professional artists. The author takes readers deep into the restricted world of women artists of the past, showing how diligently they trained themselves, set up studios, and pursued sympathetic patrons. Starting with the flowering of Renaissance painters Sofonisba Anguissola and Properzia de'Rossi, the book reconstructs the changing world of women artists as social attitudes evolved. Seventeenth-century painters Artemisia Gentileschi and Judith Leyster enjoyed success by depicting subjects relevant to women, as did eighteenth-century greats Angelica Kauffmann and Elisabeth Vige-Lebrun with their themes of motherhood. Further breakthroughs came in the nineteenth century as young hopefuls Mary Cassatt and Marie Bashkirtseff strove to be admitted to exhibiting societies and opened art schools to help other women become professionals. Finally, as equality for women advanced through the twentieth century, Georgia O'Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, and Cindy Sherman led the way for today's talented women to secure their rightful place in the annals of art.

Women Artists by Margaret Barlow – Hardcover: 320 pages Publisher: Beaux Arts Editions (May 30, 2001)

The achievements of many women in the arts have, until recently, been downplayed or ignored. Spanning six centuries and hundreds of women, Women Artists presents a wealth of information on the subject, with more than 300 reproductions of works by extraordinary female artists, from pre-Renaissance times to the present.

Margaret Barlow's informative and well-researched text highlights the lives and accomplishments of both famous and lesser-known women who, despite societal pressures and restrictions, pursued successful careers in art through the ages, including Judith Leyster, Elisabeth-Louise Vige-Lebrun, Emily Mary Osborn, Kathe Kollwitz, Angelica Kauffmann, Lilly Martin Spencer, Paula Modershohn-Becker, and scores of others. Also included here are journal entries, letters, and excerpts from autobiographies of several women artists—fascinating for the light they shed on how these women perceived their life and work.

A Studio of Her Own: Women Artists in Boston 1870-1940 by Erica E. Hirshler – Hardcover: 256 pages Publisher: MFA Publications (August 15, 2001)

Note: See some of the artists featured in this exhibition. I can only assume that at least some of these are featured in the book. Some very beautiful portraits.

Complementing a Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibit of the same name, Hirshler's book chronicles the birth and evolution of women artists who trained or were centered in Boston. The John Moors Cabot curator of American painting at the Museum of Fine Arts, Hirshler found her niche rediscovering lesser-known artists with her previous work, Dennis Miller Bunker: American Impressionist. She hits her stride with this new study, providing a standard for regional treatments of women artists. The book not only surveys artists grouped together solely by gender or artistic medium but also establishes the intertwining and harmonious relationships among several Bostonian generations. In addition, the original research generates fresh interest in a largely forgotten or unknown aesthetic stratum of New England. Hirshler delves into challenges specific to female artists, thus marrying art history with social history and appealing to a wider audience. Abundant illustrations, artists' biographies, and extensive footnotes make this essential for academic libraries specializing in art history. —Rebecca Tolley-Stokes, East Tennessee State Univ., Johnson City Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Pioneering Spirits: The Lives and Times of Remarkable Women Artists in Western History by Abby Remer – Hardcover: 168 pages Publisher: Davis Publications (March 1997)

Abby Remer's Pioneering Spirits: The Life And Times Of Remarkable Women Artists In Western History showcases a surprising and fascinating history of women as artists from prehistory to the modern times. Readers will be introduced to Greek and Roman female painters of antiquity, nuns and female lay illuminators of sacred medieval manuscripts, and Renaissance heroines and creators of art with unconventional power, conviction, and talent. Pioneering Spirits reveals their struggles and achievements, and offers much that is applicable contemporary issues facing women arts down through the ages to the present day. Pioneering Spirits will prove informative and invaluable for students of art history, women's studies, and cultural mores as reflected in and by the female artist.

In Her Own Image: Women Working in the Arts by Elaine Hedges, Ingrid Wendt – Paperback: 336 pages Publisher: The Feminist Press at CUNY (March 1980)

The work of western women artists, past and present, is collected here in a stunning array of forms: fiction, poetry, autobiography, essay, journal and letter writing, sculpture, painting, graphics, photography, ceramics, needlework, music, and dance. The unique experience of women artists from diverse national, ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds is explored from their own viewpoints, as are the important relationships between women's social condition and women's art.

Overcoming All Obstacles: The Women of the Academie Julian by Dahesh Museum (Corporate Author), Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (Corporate Author), Dixon Gallery and Gardens (Corporate Author), Jane R. Becker (Editor), Gabriel P. Weisberg (Editor) – Paperback: 146 pages Publisher: Rutgers University Press (October 1999)

This volume introduces with aplomb a recently discovered, otherwise unknown treasure trove of archives and works of 19th-century art to a wider general public. These records, artworks, and caricatures survived in the Acad?mie Julian Del Debbio, the successor to the famous 19th-century Paris Acad?mie Julian. Since women could not study at the official state Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the Académie Julian was virtually the only art educational institution available to them. The catalog of a traveling exhibition organized by the Dahesh Museum in New York, this work contains over 90 small illustrations drawn from the archives. Most are paintings and drawings by unknown or little-known women artists and will be studied today more for historical than aesthetic reasons. Catherine Fehrer writes of her search and recovery of the documents, Weisberg contributes an essay on the women of the Acad?mie Julian, Becker writes of the rivalry between Marie Bashkirtseff and Louise Breslau, and Tamar Garb provides discourse on gendering and art education. It is not overstatement to say this book is invaluable and the exhibition is not to be missed. —Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Towson Univ., MD Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Tate Women Artists by Alicia Foster – Paperback: 272 pages Publisher: Tate (June 15, 2004)

The Tate collection contains works by more than 200 women artists spanning five centuries. In this celebration of the history of women's creative endeavor, Alicia Foster discusses the changes in the position of women artists from the 17th century, when they received little recognition, to the present-day art world, which encompasses a dazzling array of women painters, sculptors, conceptual artists, and video- and filmmakers. The author shows how artists as diverse as Angelica Kauffmann and Cindy Sherman share a concern with feminine identity and representation. Tate Women Artists makes an important contribution to one of the most hotly debated areas of art history.

Dictionary of Women Artists (Two Volume Set) by Delia Gaze – Library Binding: 1600 pages Publisher: Routledge; 1st edition (July 1, 1997)

Incomparably rich, monumental, and up to date, these two volumes present the finest scholarship on women in art "from the Middle Ages to the present day, in countries throughout Europe as well as America and Australia." More than 20 key survey essays preface the main body of the dictionary and contextualize the latest knowledge found in the biographical and bibliographical entries of 600 women artists born before 1945. Twenty-three specialist advisers and 330 contributing scholars have amassed the most unqualifiedly comprehensive work yet completed on women artists (with an admittedly Anglo-American emphasis, owing to the many studies in these areas). This work should be available to all who hope to teach the nuanced history of art as it is known today; others interested in women's studies should at least read the essay "Why a Dictionary of Women Artists at This Time?" One of the finest publications on women artists since Ann Sutherland Harris and Linda Nochlin's Women Artists: 1850-1950 (LJ 5/1/77), the first really substantial publication in this area, this indispensable set belongs on all library reference shelves. —Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Towson State Univ., Md. Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Women Artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement 1870–1914 by Marsha Meskimmon – Paperback Publisher: Pantheon Books by Anthea Callen


American Women Painters of the 1930s and 1940s: The Lives and Work of Ten Artists by Robert Henkes – Library Binding: 252 pages Publisher: McFarland & Company (August 1, 1991)


Women Artists: An Illustrated History by Nancy Heller – Paperback: 300 pages Publisher: Abbeville Press; 4th edition (February 1, 2004) 220 illustrations, 160 in full color

Firmly established as one of the premier histories of women in the fine arts, Nancy G. Heller's Women Artists returns in an expanded fourth edition. Its lavish illustrations--all the artists' works are reproduced in large-format color--and documentary pictures of many of the artists make this one of the most accessible and useful studies of women in the arts. Dr. Heller's lively text provides an overview of the obstacles that women have encountered, emphasizing the ways that women artists have ingeniously circumvented them, inventing new forms and bringing a distinctive perspective to traditional subjects. With coverage of the 1990s and the beginning of the new millenium, nearly half the volume is now devoted to the remarkable period from 1960 to the present, when women artists emerged as the most dynamic force in contemporary art.

New to this edition are innovative U.S. figures including sculptor and performance artist Janine Antoni and photographer Renee Cox, as well as major international artists including Iran's Shirin Neshat, Shahzia Sikander from Pakistan, British painter Fiona Rae, and the Icelandic sculptor and performance artist Katrin Sigurdardottir.

Women Artists of the American West by Susan R. Ressler (Editor) – Hardcover: 397 pages Publisher: McFarland & Company (April 11, 2003)

This book presents the work of more than 150 women artists who live or once lived west of the Mississippi River. The first half of the book consists of fifteen interpretive essays examining the work and concerns of 19th and 20th century artists working in a broad range of media (including photography, quiltmaking, painting, printmaking, clay art, sculpture, digital art and more). Concepts of community, identity, spirituality, and locality are explored in interdisciplinary contexts. Histories and critical reappraisals of gendered representations of the American West form the backbone of these essays.

The second half of the book is an alphabetical directory of the artists discussed in the essays, with biographical information, notes on exhibitions and collections, and the artists’ own statements about their work and their visions. Together, these artists represent the full spectrum of ethnicities and cultures that comprise the American West. The text is lavishly illustrated with nearly 300 reproductions, including 60 in color.

A World of Our Own by Frances Borzello – Hardcover: 224 pages Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications (October 1, 2000)

This stirring account documents the centuries-long struggle of gifted women who confronted the exclusionary tactics of a male-dominated art establishment but pressed ahead undaunted to gain public acceptance as sought-after professional artists. The author takes readers deep into the restricted world of women artists of the past, showing how diligently they trained themselves, set up studios, and pursued sympathetic patrons. Starting with the flowering of Renaissance painters Sofonisba Anguissola and Properzia de'Rossi, the book reconstructs the changing world of women artists as social attitudes evolved. Seventeenth-century painters Artemisia Gentileschi and Judith Leyster enjoyed success by depicting subjects relevant to women, as did eighteenth-century greats Angelica Kauffmann and Elisabeth Vige-Lebrun with their themes of motherhood. Further breakthroughs came in the nineteenth century as young hopefuls Mary Cassatt and Marie Bashkirtseff strove to be admitted to exhibiting societies and opened art schools to help other women become professionals. Finally, as equality for women advanced through the twentieth century, Georgia O'Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, and Cindy Sherman led the way for today's talented women to secure their rightful place in the annals of art.

Mirror, Mirror: Self-Portraits by Women Artists by Liz Rideal, Whitney Chadwick, Frances Borzello – Paperback: 120 pages Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications (April 1, 2002)

The self-portrait is an artist's most intriguing vehicle for analysis and self-expression. Serving a dual role as both creator and subject, artists are offered unusual freedom; as a result, self-portraits offer special value and high interest for both artists and art lovers. Mirror Mirror explores the role of the self-portrait in the work of 40 women artists from the mid-17th century to today. Filled with gorgeous, full-color reproductions, this unique guide covers a wide range of media-from oil painting to photography, woodcut to ceramic sculpture. Readers will discover the rare work of major painters including Mary Beale, Gwen John, and Dame Barbara Hepworth, as well as portraits by women known primarily for their work in other media, such as photographer Lee Miller and ceramicist Susie Cooper. Each of these wonderful self-portraits appears chronologically and features fascinating biographical details of each artist, as well as inspiring essays from two leading art historians: Whitney Chadwick, who discusses style, technique, and how the artist explored her own identity; and Frances Borzello, who presents the historical background and artistic context of each portrait. Whether you're interested in history, art appreciation, or general women's issues, Mirror Mirror offers a rare look into the work, intrigue, and genius of some of the most creative women artists throughout the centuries.

Women Artists by Margaret Barlow – Hardcover: 320 pages Publisher: Beaux Arts Editions (May 30, 2001)

The achievements of many women in the arts have, until recently, been downplayed or ignored. Spanning six centuries and hundreds of women, Women Artists presents a wealth of information on the subject, with more than 300 reproductions of works by extraordinary female artists, from pre-Renaissance times to the present.

Margaret Barlow's informative and well-researched text highlights the lives and accomplishments of both famous and lesser-known women who, despite societal pressures and restrictions, pursued successful careers in art through the ages, including Judith Leyster, Elisabeth-Louise Vige-Lebrun, Emily Mary Osborn, Kathe Kollwitz, Angelica Kauffmann, Lilly Martin Spencer, Paula Modershohn-Becker, and scores of others. Also included here are journal entries, letters, and excerpts from autobiographies of several women artists—fascinating for the light they shed on how these women perceived their life and work.

A Studio of Her Own: Women Artists in Boston 1870-1940 by Erica E. Hirshler – Hardcover: 256 pages Publisher: MFA Publications (August 15, 2001)

Note: See some of the artists featured in this exhibition. I can only assume that at least some of these are featured in the book. Some very beautiful portraits.

Complementing a Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibit of the same name, Hirshler's book chronicles the birth and evolution of women artists who trained or were centered in Boston. The John Moors Cabot curator of American painting at the Museum of Fine Arts, Hirshler found her niche rediscovering lesser-known artists with her previous work, Dennis Miller Bunker: American Impressionist. She hits her stride with this new study, providing a standard for regional treatments of women artists. The book not only surveys artists grouped together solely by gender or artistic medium but also establishes the intertwining and harmonious relationships among several Bostonian generations. In addition, the original research generates fresh interest in a largely forgotten or unknown aesthetic stratum of New England. Hirshler delves into challenges specific to female artists, thus marrying art history with social history and appealing to a wider audience. Abundant illustrations, artists' biographies, and extensive footnotes make this essential for academic libraries specializing in art history. —Rebecca Tolley-Stokes, East Tennessee State Univ., Johnson City Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Pioneering Spirits: The Lives and Times of Remarkable Women Artists in Western History by Abby Remer – Hardcover: 168 pages Publisher: Davis Publications (March 1997)

Abby Remer's Pioneering Spirits: The Life And Times Of Remarkable Women Artists In Western History showcases a surprising and fascinating history of women as artists from prehistory to the modern times. Readers will be introduced to Greek and Roman female painters of antiquity, nuns and female lay illuminators of sacred medieval manuscripts, and Renaissance heroines and creators of art with unconventional power, conviction, and talent. Pioneering Spirits reveals their struggles and achievements, and offers much that is applicable contemporary issues facing women arts down through the ages to the present day. Pioneering Spirits will prove informative and invaluable for students of art history, women's studies, and cultural mores as reflected in and by the female artist.

The Life and Work of Sarah Purser by John O'Grady, Intl Specialized Book Service Irish Academic Pr, Sarah Purser – Hardcover: 288 pages Publisher: Four Courts Press (September 1, 1996)

Sarah Purser (March 22, 1848 - August 7, 1943) was an Irish artist. She studied in Paris at the Atelier Julian and worked mostly as a portraitist, through her own talent and energy, and through her friendship with the Gore-Booths she was very successful in obtaining commission, she herself famously commented "I went through the British aristocracy like the measles."

However, Bruce Arnold (1977) notes "some of her finest and most sensitive work was not strictly portraiture, for example, An Irish Idyll in the Ulster Museum, and Le Petit Déjeuner [in the National Gallery of Ireland ]"

Sarah Purser became very wealthy through astute investments, particularily in Guinness. She was very active in the art world in Dublin and was involved in the setting up of the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, she was the one who persuaded the Irish government to give over Charlemont House for that purpose. She was also associated with the stain glass movement founding a stained-glass workshop, An Túr Gloine in 1903. In 1923 she became the first female member of the Royal Hibernian Academy.

In Her Own Image: Women Working in the Arts by Elaine Hedges, Ingrid Wendt – Paperback: 336 pages Publisher: The Feminist Press at CUNY (March 1980)

The work of western women artists, past and present, is collected here in a stunning array of forms: fiction, poetry, autobiography, essay, journal and letter writing, sculpture, painting, graphics, photography, ceramics, needlework, music, and dance. The unique experience of women artists from diverse national, ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds is explored from their own viewpoints, as are the important relationships between women's social condition and women's art.

Overcoming All Obstacles: The Women of the Academie Julian by Dahesh Museum (Corporate Author), Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (Corporate Author), Dixon Gallery and Gardens (Corporate Author), Jane R. Becker (Editor), Gabriel P. Weisberg (Editor) – Paperback: 146 pages Publisher: Rutgers University Press (October 1999)

This volume introduces with aplomb a recently discovered, otherwise unknown treasure trove of archives and works of 19th-century art to a wider general public. These records, artworks, and caricatures survived in the Acad?mie Julian Del Debbio, the successor to the famous 19th-century Paris Acad?mie Julian. Since women could not study at the official state Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the Académie Julian was virtually the only art educational institution available to them. The catalog of a traveling exhibition organized by the Dahesh Museum in New York, this work contains over 90 small illustrations drawn from the archives. Most are paintings and drawings by unknown or little-known women artists and will be studied today more for historical than aesthetic reasons. Catherine Fehrer writes of her search and recovery of the documents, Weisberg contributes an essay on the women of the Acad?mie Julian, Becker writes of the rivalry between Marie Bashkirtseff and Louise Breslau, and Tamar Garb provides discourse on gendering and art education. It is not overstatement to say this book is invaluable and the exhibition is not to be missed. —Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Towson Univ., MD Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Tate Women Artists by Alicia Foster – Paperback: 272 pages Publisher: Tate (June 15, 2004)

The Tate collection contains works by more than 200 women artists spanning five centuries. In this celebration of the history of women's creative endeavor, Alicia Foster discusses the changes in the position of women artists from the 17th century, when they received little recognition, to the present-day art world, which encompasses a dazzling array of women painters, sculptors, conceptual artists, and video- and filmmakers. The author shows how artists as diverse as Angelica Kauffmann and Cindy Sherman share a concern with feminine identity and representation. Tate Women Artists makes an important contribution to one of the most hotly debated areas of art history.

Dictionary of Women Artists (Two Volume Set) by Delia Gaze – Library Binding: 1600 pages Publisher: Routledge; 1st edition (July 1, 1997)

Incomparably rich, monumental, and up to date, these two volumes present the finest scholarship on women in art "from the Middle Ages to the present day, in countries throughout Europe as well as America and Australia." More than 20 key survey essays preface the main body of the dictionary and contextualize the latest knowledge found in the biographical and bibliographical entries of 600 women artists born before 1945. Twenty-three specialist advisers and 330 contributing scholars have amassed the most unqualifiedly comprehensive work yet completed on women artists (with an admittedly Anglo-American emphasis, owing to the many studies in these areas). This work should be available to all who hope to teach the nuanced history of art as it is known today; others interested in women's studies should at least read the essay "Why a Dictionary of Women Artists at This Time?" One of the finest publications on women artists since Ann Sutherland Harris and Linda Nochlin's Women Artists: 1850-1950 (LJ 5/1/77), the first really substantial publication in this area, this indispensable set belongs on all library reference shelves. —Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Towson State Univ., Md. Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Women Artists (Icons) by Elke Linda Buchholz – Hardcover: 128 pages Publisher: Prestel Publishing (November 2003) by Elke Linda Buchholz

Sacramento Bee, November 2003: A useful survey of the work of famous female artists from the 16th century to the present day.

Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists by Jan Marsh, Pamela Gerrish Nunn, Manchester City Art Gallery – Paperback, 160 pages (April 1, 1999) Thames & Hudson

The work of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and their followers is enduringly popular and correspondingly familiar to a wide public. Works by women artists within the Pre-Raphaelite style have, however, largely been forgotten and ignored in the history of the movement. This book, published to accompany an exhibition in Manchester, England, brings together paintings, drawings, photographs, and other works that women contributed to the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Many are reproduced and documented here for the first time. Spanning three generations from the 1840s to the early 1900s, the artists include Barbara Bodichon, Anna Howitt, Rosa Brett, Anna Blunden, Jane Benham Hay, Joanna Boyce, Elizabeth Siddal, Rebecca Solomon, Emma Sandys, Julia Margaret Cameron, Lucy and Catherine Madox Brown, Marie Spartali Stillman, Maria Zambaco, Francesca Alexander, Evelyn De Morgan, Kate Bunce, Marianne Stokes, Christina Herringham, and Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale. Their works demonstrate that Pre-Raphaelitism is a broader historical movement than has previously been recognized and that women were active in all its phases. Their re-inclusion in Pre-Raphaelite history will redefine its scope, concerns, and achievements, as well as restore a wealth of neglected works to public attention.

Women Artists (Minis) by Reegan Finger – Hardcover: 96 pages Publisher: Prestel Publishing (August 30, 2006)


Painting Women: Victorian Women Artists by Deborah Cherry – Paperback: 275 pages Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (July 14, 1993) Language: English


Danger! Women Artists at Work by Debra N. Mancoff – Hardcover: 160 pages; Publisher: Merrell Publishers (October 16, 2012)

The conventional history of art is one of great men making great paintings, and displaying their works to a predominantly male audience in male-run institutions. Women, however, have had a role, often working behind the scenes, out of sight or in resistance to prevailing attitudes and practices. And it is in these exceptions to the rules of the masculine world of art-making that women artists have been perceived as groundbreaking, defiant and even subversive. A compelling selection of more than 60 artists from the early Renaissance to the present day, among them Judith Leyster, Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo and Louise Bourgeois, Danger! Women Artists at Work explores the most intriguing and provocative aspects of art by women who shook up the art world. Through a lively introduction and six thematic chapters dealing with such subjects as the ways in which women have challenged the boundaries of expression and how they have viewed the human body, Debra N. Mancoff presents an absorbing tale of those who have struggled and triumphed in their efforts to transform the visual arts.

Judith Leyster: A Dutch Master and Her World by Pieter Biesboer (Editor), Mr. James A. Welu (Editor) – Hardcover: 256 pages; Publisher: Yale University Press; First printing edition (October 9, 1993)

Judith Leyster (1609-1660), the most famous woman painter of the Dutch golden age, was remarkable for her time. She pursued a profession dominated by men, was the only female member of the painter's guild known to have had a workshop, and is the sole woman artist whose known work attests to an active role in the open market, then a relatively new form of art patronage that was to transform the Dutch art world.

Irish Women Artists from the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day: Exhibition Catalogue by Jenni Rogers (Author), Wanda Ryan-Smolin (Editor), Elizabeth Mayes (Editor) – Paperback Publisher: Douglas Hyde Gallery; First Edition edition (1987)


Professional Women Painters in Nineteenth-Century Scotland e by Janice Helland – Hardcover: 212 pages; Publisher: Ashgate Pub Ltd (July 2000)

Women in the 19th century have long been presented as the angel in the house. Janice Helland re-writes this history by investigating the life and working conditions of a number of middle-class women who sought to establish themselves as professional artists in Scotland

An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West (American Studies Series) by Phil Kovinick, Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick – Hardcover: 405 pages Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1st ed edition (August 1998)

A single-volume "virtual archive" of amazing proportions and precision by two dedicated scholars, this well-illustrated and meticulously documented concise biographical dictionary covers over 1000 women artists, mostly unknown. With few exceptions, these individuals are not covered by the Dictionary of Women Artists (LJ 12/97). The multitude of adventurous, mostly U.S. women painters, graphic artists, and sculptors presented here worked in or created images of the 17 westernmost contiguous American states from 1840 to 1980. Research for this volume, which took 20 years, included extensive interviews and the investigation of original documents, obituaries, and grave markers. The results reveals a commonality of lifestyle patterns, education, exhibition history, and so on. Many of the artists were peripatetic?Helen Chain (1849-92), called "Trot" by family members for her love of travel and mountain climbing, was lost at sea during a typhoon in the China Sea. There is no resource like this. Highly recommended wherever art reference is in demand. —Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Towson Univ., Millersville, MD
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The Women Impressionists: A Sourcebook (Art Reference Collection) by Russell T. Clement, Annick Houze, Christiane Erbolato-Ramsey – Hardcover: 216 pages Publisher: Greenwood Press (February 28, 2000)

This reference organizes and describes the primary and secondary literature surrounding Mary Stevenson Cassatt, Berthe Morisot, Eva Gonzales, and Marie Bracquemond, four major women Impressionist artists. The Impressionist group included several women artists of considerable ability whose works and lives were largely ignored until the advent of feminist art criticism in the early 1970s. They studied, worked, and exhibited with their male counterparts including Degas, Manet, Monet, and Pissarro. The entries provide extensive coverage of the careers, critical reception, exhibition history, and growing reputations of these four female artists and discuss women Impressionists in general as they shared the challenges of becoming accepted as professional artists in late 19th-century society. Containing nearly 900 citations of manuscripts, books, articles, reproductions, films, exhibitions, and reviews, this unique sourcebook will appeal to both art and women's studies scholars. Each artist receives a biographical sketch, chronology, information about individual and group exhibitions and reviews, and a primary and secondary bibliography, which captures details about the artist's life, career, and relationship with other artists. An art works index and names index complete the volume.

Note: I was unfamiliar with the work of Eva Gonzales, but then found I had saved a painting of hers years ago, which I fine very beautiful:


The Philadelphia Ten: A Women's Artist Group 1917-1945 by Page Talbott, Patricia Tanis Sydney – Paperback, 175 pages (November 15, 1998) American Art Review Press

The Philadelphia Ten was a group of women painters and sculptors, who showed their work together between 1917 and 1945 in Philadelphia, as well as in other major East Coast and Midwest cities. All members of the group (a total of 30) studied art in the schools of Philadelphia, primarily the Philadelphia School of Design for Women and the Pennsylvania Academy. Among the best known of the group are Fern Coppedge, M. Elizabeth Price, and Harriet Frishmuth. The book acompanies a travelling exhibition of the same name.

Women Artists (Icons) by Elke Linda Buchholz – Hardcover: 128 pages Publisher: Prestel Publishing (November 2003) by Elke Linda Buchholz

Sacramento Bee, November 2003: A useful survey of the work of famous female artists from the 16th century to the present day.

An Imperial Collection: Women Artists from the State Hermitage Museum by Jordana Pomeroy (Editor), Rosalind P. Blakesley (Editor), Vladimir Yu Matveyev (Editor), Elizaveta P. Renne (Editor)

This collection of 15 women artists opens an appealing portal into the male-dominated Russian art world of the past few centuries. Pomeroy, curator of painting and sculpture at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and Blakesley, a lecturer in art history at Cambridge, avoid the trap of arbitrarily grouping these women for the sake of a solid theme. Instead, they provide running biographical narratives for the painters, the sitters and the society they inhabited, arranged in more or less chronological sections covering 18th- and 19th-century works. The full-color images feature a multitude of women in satin and curls, but the often generic-seeming portraits have a complex iconography that the authors carefully unpack. Published to coincide with St. Petersburg's 300th anniversary, the detailed histories of these women reexamine the cultural life of the city by tracing the paths these works took on their way to the Hermitage.

Readers learn that Christina Robertson ate a cold breakfast and refused a full luncheon while painting, and how much she was paid for her portrait of the Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna (1,572 rubles). Also included is Marie Louise Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun, Marie-Antionette's favorite painter, who later escaped the French Revolution, ending up in St. Petersburg, and Angelica Kauffman, who never actually lived in Russia, but whose work Russian Emperor Paul I collected. As the first book to put these women artists, largely unkown to U.S. aficionados, side by side, it offers a broad picture of a significant group of artists boldly working within (or with an eye toward) Mother Russia. —Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists by Jan Marsh, Pamela Gerrish Nunn, Manchester City Art Gallery – Paperback, 160 pages (April 1, 1999) Thames & Hudson

The work of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and their followers is enduringly popular and correspondingly familiar to a wide public. Works by women artists within the Pre-Raphaelite style have, however, largely been forgotten and ignored in the history of the movement. This book, published to accompany an exhibition in Manchester, England, brings together paintings, drawings, photographs, and other works that women contributed to the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Many are reproduced and documented here for the first time. Spanning three generations from the 1840s to the early 1900s, the artists include Barbara Bodichon, Anna Howitt, Rosa Brett, Anna Blunden, Jane Benham Hay, Joanna Boyce, Elizabeth Siddal, Rebecca Solomon, Emma Sandys, Julia Margaret Cameron, Lucy and Catherine Madox Brown, Marie Spartali Stillman, Maria Zambaco, Francesca Alexander, Evelyn De Morgan, Kate Bunce, Marianne Stokes, Christina Herringham, and Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale. Their works demonstrate that Pre-Raphaelitism is a broader historical movement than has previously been recognized and that women were active in all its phases. Their re-inclusion in Pre-Raphaelite history will redefine its scope, concerns, and achievements, as well as restore a wealth of neglected works to public attention.

Painting Professionals: Women Artists and the Development of Modern American Art, 1870-1930 by Kirsten Swinth – Paperback: 305 pages Publisher: University of North Carolina Press (September 1, 2001)

Thousands of women pursued artistic careers in the United States during the late nineteenth century. According to census figures, the number of women among the ranks of professional artists rose from 10 percent to nearly 50 percent between 1870 and 1890. Examining the effects of this change, Kirsten Swinth explores how women's growing presence in the American art world transformed both its institutions and its ideology.
Swinth traces the careers of women painters in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, opening and closing her book with discussion of the two most famous women artists of the period--Mary Cassatt and Georgia O'Keeffe. Perhaps surprisingly, Swinth shows that in the 1870s and 1880s men and women easily crossed the boundaries separating conventionally masculine and feminine artistic territories to compete with each other as well as to join forces to professionalize art training, manage a fluid and unpredictable art market, and shape the language of art criticism. By the 1890s, however, women artists faced a backlash. Ultimately, Swinth argues, these gender contests spilled beyond the world of art to shape twentieth-century understandings of high culture and the formation of modernism in profound ways.

Defining the Renaissance Virtuosa: Women Artists and the Language of Art History and Criticism by Fredrika H. Jacobs – Paperback: 244 pagesPublisher: Cambridge University Press; New Ed edition (August 13, 1999)

Thanks to the breadth of her textual analyses and the insightful questions she poses throughout, Jacobs offers a richly illuminating reading of the construction of the Renaissance woman artist. In turn, the book provides a welcome context for several worthy but more narrowly focused critical studies on related subjects whose contents she integrates into her own narrative....a considerable achievement in having uncovered and woven together a complex of ideas that expands consequentially our view of artistic activity in Early Modern Italy. —Leslie Korrick, Sixteenth Century Jrnl

Women in the Nineteenth-Century Art World: Schools of Art and Design for Women in London and Philadelphia (Contributions to the Study of Art and Architecture) by F. Graeme Chalmers – Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Greenwood Press (July 30, 1998)

A historical perspective on current issues, such as gender and class, is applied to art education and rendered through the study of two specific institutions, the Female School of Design in London and the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. Sweeping generalizations are avoided as women's history, intertwined with men's, unfolds in two cities on opposite continents. Women's struggles against male domination and prejudice to define for themselves art education for work provides the common theme uniting the social issues explored. Through this unique examination of the relationship between the two schools, women's place in British and American art education is reclaimed. The specific focus on two art and design schools should appeal to social, education and art scholars and historians as well as to students and researchers interested in women's and gender studies. The relationship between the two schools of art and design has never been fully explored. This new study of women's art education, through the lens of these two schools, is particularly engaging and provoking in light of its male authorhip.

Women Artists: The National Museum of Women in the Arts (Tiny Folios Series) by Susan Fisher Sterling – Hardcover: 320 pages Publisher: Abbeville Press (October 1, 1997)


Women Artists (Minis) by Reegan Finger – Hardcover: 96 pages Publisher: Prestel Publishing (August 30, 2006)


Skirting the Issue: Stories of Indiana's Historical Women Artists by Judith Vale Newton, Carol A. Weiss Hardcover: 390 pages Publisher: Indiana Historical Society (October 2004)

According to the ethos of the late 1800s and early 1900s, a woman’s natural destiny was to be a wife, mother, and guardian of the virtues of hearth and home. Some women wanted more, however, and despite cultural expectations chose to explore their creativity and seek training in art. Often at considerable social cost these women exchanged washboards, ovens, and mending baskets for the challenges of a piece of canvas or block of stone.

In Skirting the Issue, authors Judith Vale Newton and Carol Ann Weiss present dozens of women from Indiana who chose this route. The authors include a biographical dictionary detailing the lives of one hundred of the state’s historical women artists, and they single out nearly forty of them for further examination in detailed essays. They describe the challenges the artists faced, the sacrifices they had to make, and the varying degrees of success they met, and they present numerous examples of the artists’ work. While this first-of-a-kind book focuses on Indiana women specifically, its stories offer excellent insights into the culture and values of the greater Midwest—and the nation at large—in the decades before and after the turn of the twentieth century.

Skirting the Issue includes more than two hundred images, including full-color reproductions of artworks and black-and-white photographs of the artists themselves.

Women in Impressionism: From Mythical Feminine to Modern Woman by Susan Strauber, Therese Dolan, John House, Ruth Iskin, Sidsel Maria Søndergaard (Editor) – Hardcover: 288 pages Publisher: Skira (January 16, 2007)

The women in Impressionist painting represent the full spectrum of faces of the 19th-century woman, from elite portraiture to working class scenes. Women and Impressionism examines the avant-garde position of the Impressionists, whose paintings depicted a series of conceptual and historical shifts by depicting traditional, visual schemes with added new meanings, contributing visually to the breakthrough of the modern. The concept of "the new woman" came into existence in this confrontation of conflicting interests.Women and Impressionism begins with an examination of two works by Manet—La Maîtresse de Baudelaire couchée, 1862, and Portrait de Zacharie Astruc, 1866. The volume then traces the representation of women as it manifested in the work of the Impressionists in the 1870s and the early 1880s. The exhibition catalog includes a number of works from the New York Carlsberg Glyptotek collection as well as from prestigious international private and public institutions.

Lilla Cabot Perry: An American Impressionist by Meredith Martindale, Pamela Moffat, Nancy Mowll Mathews – Paperback: 164 pages Publisher: Cross River Press; Reissue edition (March 1, 1995)

Reader review: As highlighted in the this book's essay by Nancy Mowll Mathews, Lilla Cabot Perry's story and work provide an interesting comparison to Mary Cassatt. Whereas Cassatt, Cecilia Beaux and several other 19th century women painters chose never to marry, some, like Berthe Morisot and Lilla Cabot Perry did manage to marry, raise children, and maintain a professional level of focus on their art.

This book contains many color plates of Lilla Cabot Perry's work: her portraits of her husband and three daughters, and her self portraits, as well as her landscapes. Ironically, she (like Sargent and others) were glad to be able to stop painting portraits and concentrate on landscapes. The examples in this book suggest that the portraits were by far the best of Perry's work.

An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West (American Studies Series) by Phil Kovinick, Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick – Hardcover: 405 pages Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1st ed edition (August 1998)

A single-volume "virtual archive" of amazing proportions and precision by two dedicated scholars, this well-illustrated and meticulously documented concise biographical dictionary covers over 1000 women artists, mostly unknown. With few exceptions, these individuals are not covered by the Dictionary of Women Artists (LJ 12/97). The multitude of adventurous, mostly U.S. women painters, graphic artists, and sculptors presented here worked in or created images of the 17 westernmost contiguous American states from 1840 to 1980. Research for this volume, which took 20 years, included extensive interviews and the investigation of original documents, obituaries, and grave markers. The results reveals a commonality of lifestyle patterns, education, exhibition history, and so on. Many of the artists were peripatetic?Helen Chain (1849-92), called "Trot" by family members for her love of travel and mountain climbing, was lost at sea during a typhoon in the China Sea. There is no resource like this. Highly recommended wherever art reference is in demand. —Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Towson Univ., Millersville, MD
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work by Germaine Greer – Paperback: 373 pages Publisher: Tauris Parke Paperbacks; New Ed edition (June 2, 2001)

It is everything we might have wished: passionate yet lucid, clear yet complex, deeply researched yet not pedantic. It is a book that explains, better than any I have ever read, the psychological, economic and even aesthetic reasons for the virtually unchallenged patriarchalism of all our artistic establishments. —Erica Jong

The Women Impressionists: A Sourcebook (Art Reference Collection) by Russell T. Clement, Annick Houze, Christiane Erbolato-Ramsey – Hardcover: 216 pages Publisher: Greenwood Press (February 28, 2000)

This reference organizes and describes the primary and secondary literature surrounding Mary Stevenson Cassatt, Berthe Morisot, Eva Gonzales, and Marie Bracquemond, four major women Impressionist artists. The Impressionist group included several women artists of considerable ability whose works and lives were largely ignored until the advent of feminist art criticism in the early 1970s. They studied, worked, and exhibited with their male counterparts including Degas, Manet, Monet, and Pissarro. The entries provide extensive coverage of the careers, critical reception, exhibition history, and growing reputations of these four female artists and discuss women Impressionists in general as they shared the challenges of becoming accepted as professional artists in late 19th-century society. Containing nearly 900 citations of manuscripts, books, articles, reproductions, films, exhibitions, and reviews, this unique sourcebook will appeal to both art and women's studies scholars. Each artist receives a biographical sketch, chronology, information about individual and group exhibitions and reviews, and a primary and secondary bibliography, which captures details about the artist's life, career, and relationship with other artists. An art works index and names index complete the volume.

Note: I was unfamiliar with the work of Eva Gonzales, but then found I had saved a painting of hers years ago, which I find very beautiful:


The Philadelphia Ten: A Women's Artist Group 1917-1945 by Page Talbott, Patricia Tanis Sydney – Paperback, 175 pages (November 15, 1998) American Art Review Press

The Philadelphia Ten was a group of women painters and sculptors, who showed their work together between 1917 and 1945 in Philadelphia, as well as in other major East Coast and Midwest cities. All members of the group (a total of 30) studied art in the schools of Philadelphia, primarily the Philadelphia School of Design for Women and the Pennsylvania Academy. Among the best known of the group are Fern Coppedge, M. Elizabeth Price, and Harriet Frishmuth. The book acompanies a travelling exhibition of the same name.

Great Women Masters of Art by Jordi Vigue – Paperback: 480 pages Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications (April 1, 2003)

An entertaining, informative, and inspirational look at the greatest women artists of all time! The latest entry in the new Great Masters of Art series, Great Women Masters of Art is an affordable, easy-to-use guide featuring the life and work of the greatest women painters of Western art-from the 15th century to the present day. Legendary women painters of each key historical movement are included, such as Sofonisba Anguissola, Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Leyster, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O'Keeffe, Gwen John, Frida Kahlo, and dozens more. Each artist is represented by several impressive reproductions of her most significant works, alongside a biographical timeline and brief history of her life and career. Every dazzling, full-color reproduction includes cultural and aesthetic discussions about the individual painting. Plus, entertaining anecdotes and stories bring each woman's inspirations, circumstances, and creative genius to life. This one-stop guide is appealing, compact, lavishly illustrated, and conveniently organized for fast and easy use. Great Women Masters of Art is an enjoyable trip for all.

An Imperial Collection: Women Artists from the State Hermitage Museum by Jordana Pomeroy (Editor), Rosalind P. Blakesley (Editor), Vladimir Yu Matveyev (Editor), Elizaveta P. Renne (Editor)

This collection of 15 women artists opens an appealing portal into the male-dominated Russian art world of the past few centuries. Pomeroy, curator of painting and sculpture at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and Blakesley, a lecturer in art history at Cambridge, avoid the trap of arbitrarily grouping these women for the sake of a solid theme. Instead, they provide running biographical narratives for the painters, the sitters and the society they inhabited, arranged in more or less chronological sections covering 18th- and 19th-century works. The full-color images feature a multitude of women in satin and curls, but the often generic-seeming portraits have a complex iconography that the authors carefully unpack. Published to coincide with St. Petersburg's 300th anniversary, the detailed histories of these women reexamine the cultural life of the city by tracing the paths these works took on their way to the Hermitage.

Readers learn that Christina Robertson ate a cold breakfast and refused a full luncheon while painting, and how much she was paid for her portrait of the Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna (1,572 rubles). Also included is Marie Louise Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun, Marie-Antionette's favorite painter, who later escaped the French Revolution, ending up in St. Petersburg, and Angelica Kauffman, who never actually lived in Russia, but whose work Russian Emperor Paul I collected. As the first book to put these women artists, largely unkown to U.S. aficionados, side by side, it offers a broad picture of a significant group of artists boldly working within (or with an eye toward) Mother Russia. —Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Lavinia Fontana: A Painter and Her Patrons in Sixteenth-century Bologna by Caroline P. Murphy – Hardcover: 244 pages Publisher: Yale University Press (March 11, 2003)

When Artemisia Gentileschi, the best-remembered woman Renaissance painter, was born, Lavinia Fontana was already an established and prolific Bologna-based painter celebrated throughout Europe. Art historian Murphy is the first to write an in-depth, English-language treatise on heretofore overlooked Fontana and her world, and the resulting finely illustrated volume is exhilarating. The first female artist "to attain professional success, not in court or convent, but in direct competition with male artists in her own city," Lavinia, like Artemisia, was the daughter of a painter, Prospero. Murphy convincingly argues that Prospero's ambitions exceeded his talents and means, leading to his pragmatic decision to encourage his younger daughter to take up the brush and support their struggling family. The rapid evolution of her technical abilities and the deepening of her sensibility are impressive feats to follow as Murphy recounts Lavinia's unconventional life and marriage, and marvels over her ability to paint nonstop in spite of 11 pregnancies. From her sometimes kitschy, sometimes elegant devotional paintings to her superb portraits of Bolognese scholars and noblewomen to her compassionate portraits of widows and children, Fontana documented and enriched her times, and now Murphy's portrait of this gifted and triumphant sixteenth-century woman painter enhances ours. —Donna Seaman Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Seeing Ourselves: Women's
Self-Portraits
by Frances Borzello – Hardcover, 224 pages (March 1998) Harry N Abrams

Borzello traces women's self-portraits across eight centuries, deftly weaving together art and social history, the biographies of many women artists, and a wide selection of paintings, prints, and photographs by women. While some of the pieces are primarily of historical interest, there are some stunning works here, including period works by such accomplished painters as Artemisia Gentileschi and Rosalba Carriera and modern works by such little known but talented painters as Zinaida Serebryakova and Lotte Laserstein, and paintings by such familiar figures as Frida Kahol and Paula Modersohn-Racker.

Painting Professionals: Women Artists and the Development of Modern American Art, 1870-1930 by Kirsten Swinth – Paperback: 305 pages Publisher: University of North Carolina Press (September 1, 2001)

Thousands of women pursued artistic careers in the United States during the late nineteenth century. According to census figures, the number of women among the ranks of professional artists rose from 10 percent to nearly 50 percent between 1870 and 1890. Examining the effects of this change, Kirsten Swinth explores how women's growing presence in the American art world transformed both its institutions and its ideology.
Swinth traces the careers of women painters in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, opening and closing her book with discussion of the two most famous women artists of the period--Mary Cassatt and Georgia O'Keeffe. Perhaps surprisingly, Swinth shows that in the 1870s and 1880s men and women easily crossed the boundaries separating conventionally masculine and feminine artistic territories to compete with each other as well as to join forces to professionalize art training, manage a fluid and unpredictable art market, and shape the language of art criticism. By the 1890s, however, women artists faced a backlash. Ultimately, Swinth argues, these gender contests spilled beyond the world of art to shape twentieth-century understandings of high culture and the formation of modernism in profound ways.

The Art of Reflection: Women Artists' Self-Portraiture in the Twentieth Century by Marsha Meskimmon – Hardcover: 256 pages Publisher: Scarlet Pr (May 1996)

Self-portraiture has long been a means for the male artist to assert an identity as masterful creator or tortured soul; women have overwhelmingly been presented as objects, and rarely as subjects of self-portraiture. In recent years, however, women artists have used their work to disrupt this tradition.

With 43 illustrations of works by Louise Bourgeois, Frida Kahlo, Alice Neel, Cindy Sherman, and Jo Spence, among others, The Art of Reflection is the first sustained inquiry into the appropriation of self-portraiture by women. In suggestive critical meditations on paintings, photographic work, sculpture, performance art, and body art, Marsha Meskimmon shows how twentieth-century women artists have undermined male-centered definitions of how "the artist" depicts the self.

Drawing upon feminist theory and philosophy from Simone de Beauvoir to Luce Irigaray, The Art of Reflection casts doubt on the idea of self-portrait as a mirror, in which the static self is rendered accurately and naturalistically. Meskimmon evokes a series of myths about what an artist is, how "he" should be represented, and how "his" work is to be read as autobiography. Through close readings of the imaginative self-representations of women artists—as male artist and god, as central player in the studio and in the Christian passion- she shatters these myths.

In an absorbing assessment of the ways women artists have negotiated the complex group of roles ascribed to "woman," Meskimmon considers the partially nude painting by pregnant artist Paula Modersohn-Becker and performance artist Annie Sprinkle's confrontation of the thin line between celebration of female sexuality and objectification of the female body.

As a nuanced appreciation of the interpretations of self-portraiture among women artists, The Art of Reflection will prove an invaluable resource on a subject that has received little attention from art criticism. Meskimmon's work also presents a bold challenge to critical tradition, compelling readers to rethink the meaning of the genre as a whole.

Defining the Renaissance Virtuosa: Women Artists and the Language of Art History and Criticism by Fredrika H. Jacobs – Paperback: 244 pagesPublisher: Cambridge University Press; New Ed edition (August 13, 1999)

Thanks to the breadth of her textual analyses and the insightful questions she poses throughout, Jacobs offers a richly illuminating reading of the construction of the Renaissance woman artist. In turn, the book provides a welcome context for several worthy but more narrowly focused critical studies on related subjects whose contents she integrates into her own narrative....a considerable achievement in having uncovered and woven together a complex of ideas that expands consequentially our view of artistic activity in Early Modern Italy. —Leslie Korrick, Sixteenth Century Jrnl

Women in the Nineteenth-Century Art World: Schools of Art and Design for Women in London and Philadelphia (Contributions to the Study of Art and Architecture) by F. Graeme Chalmers – Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Greenwood Press (July 30, 1998)

A historical perspective on current issues, such as gender and class, is applied to art education and rendered through the study of two specific institutions, the Female School of Design in London and the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. Sweeping generalizations are avoided as women's history, intertwined with men's, unfolds in two cities on opposite continents. Women's struggles against male domination and prejudice to define for themselves art education for work provides the common theme uniting the social issues explored. Through this unique examination of the relationship between the two schools, women's place in British and American art education is reclaimed. The specific focus on two art and design schools should appeal to social, education and art scholars and historians as well as to students and researchers interested in women's and gender studies. The relationship between the two schools of art and design has never been fully explored. This new study of women's art education, through the lens of these two schools, is particularly engaging and provoking in light of its male authorhip.


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