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Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => Illustrating => Topic started by: Cynthia Kremsner on December 10, 2008, 06:34 AM

Title: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Cynthia Kremsner on December 10, 2008, 06:34 AM
Another topic brought up a valid point about female artists being someone unrecognized in the industry. I guess for agument's sake we can point out Yuyi Morales who has won many awards, although correct me if I'm wrong, I do think the Caldecott is an honor she has yet to receive. Carol Heyer renders exquisite art, is in high demand for book covers and her own picuture book Humphrey's Christmas is a lovely addition to any Christmas Book Collection.

I agreed when I read an anonymous post about male artists being sought after. After going to a conference and being in a room with 30 - 35 Portfolios, all but two of them were from women. And the one most swooned over by representation was presented by a male. His work was wonderful, however, there was other art on display that, in my opinion, was very noteworthy.

As for Art History, women still seem to be standing in the shadow. I wrote a Picture Book some time ago in which many male artists present their work to a grouch of a character. He is seeking artwork for his grande hall. In the end, a female artist walks in as a little girl,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sofonisba_Anguissola  .  In critique, this story has been well received for the most part. But the one thing that stands out is that most people don't know who Sofonisba Anguissola is. Michelangelo mentored her. I was not taught about her in Art history. As a matter of fact, in the primary curriculum, I'd venture to say that female artists aren't covered at all. Some folks may be a bit disgruntled about me mentioning Barbie Movies, but to their credit, one of them teaches about female artists: Rapunzel. Other features of the film address the topic of Female Artists in History. This is where I had first heard of Sofonisba and did some research on my own.

I guess this may be construed as a rant, but I'd like to think of it as an opening for our non-fiction writers.  :smile
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: jadefrolics on December 10, 2008, 07:59 AM
As a positive note I just wanted to mention that we learned about Sofonisba Anguissola in one of our most basic art history classes, and my professors always made a point to spend a good amount of time on an unknown female artist (who probably would have been incredibly famous if she were a man.) So I do think that some professors are working to change this imbalance, but still kind of pathetic that just talking about one or two female artists is doing more than what most professors do...

I've also always disliked that you have to take a "Women in Art" course to learn about women in art, while the main course is just called "Art History," like women are a sidenote.  :bricks
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: kittypye on December 10, 2008, 12:00 PM
Another small positive note: my daughter learned about Georgia O'Keefe, Frida Kahlo and Mary Cassatt in second and third grade art class. (But your point is well taken.)
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Traci Dee on December 10, 2008, 12:25 PM
I never heard of Sofonisbo (and if I have, I doubt I would have remember such a wild name anyway).  The only female artists I can name off the top of my head are Georgia O'Keefe, Frieda Kahlo, Evelyn de Morgan, that photographer who takes pictures of celebrities...is it Berkowitz?...and that's it. 
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Traci Dee on December 10, 2008, 12:51 PM
Not Berkowitz--Liebowitz (sp?) Annie Liebowitz.  Just remembered.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Barbara Eveleth on December 10, 2008, 01:30 PM
Like every other field except (pornography) motherhood and children's book editors, women have always been behind men career wise. Not because of lack of talent or skill but because it wasn't acceptable for a woman to have the opportunity.

If you look at the art scene today, the ratio of women to men gaining critical acclaim is about the same. Most of my artists friends here in town are women and quite fine artists.

I don't quite understand why women are lagging behind in the Caldecott area. Let's try and change that.

Thanks for starting this thread FS.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Cynthia Kremsner on December 10, 2008, 01:59 PM
Yes, let's try and change the Caldecott, and maybe even go a step further to change curriculum. I do believe that Sofonisba would be a household name like her male mentor if  she were also a male. And like Jade suggested, why is it that women's artwork is put into a different catagory when it comes to art history? Music History is music history and I do think the likes of Cristina Aguilera, Celine Dion or even Madonna for all her marketability will be remembered with their male counterparts. Sofanisba's story is classic in that she grew up in a time when woman's role in society was subdued. Her father made sure his daughters were taught about art and literature. Out of the norm for her time, she followed her desires and forged forward paving the way for other females to follow the same pursuit. That is BIG history.

I am glad however, that some teachers are covering Georgia O'Keefe in elementary education. That's a step. I used to love Bev Doolittle when I was younger and stood in awe of how she could paint another picture hidden within a picture.  There are so many names that could be added to the books.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Artemesia on December 11, 2008, 12:01 AM
The only female other than Frida Khalo I learned about in Art history class was Artemisia Gentileschi, a student of Carravaggio. One of her paintings, 'Judith With the Head of Holofrenes', depicted Judith beheading the man who had raped her and it also graced the cover of our text book. I think she was noted as one of the first feminists. I took my name from her.

Of course, being from Canada, we also learned about Emily Carr.



**sorry, we also learned about Georgia O'Keefe
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Cynthia Kremsner on December 11, 2008, 05:12 AM
Thank You Artemesia,

After you mentioned the inspiration for your board name, I did a search on her and she is very intriguing : http://www.artemisia-gentileschi.com/index.shtml  I especially like the work that depicts one lit candle and the contrast of light and dark on the subjects. Her story is amazing. Now I'm off to look up Canadian Emily Carr's works.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Matt on December 11, 2008, 07:04 AM
I try to avoid these topics so I'll just throw some names at you: Cindy Sherman, Tracy Emin, Jessica Stockholder. Not illustrators but contemporary artists who will stand equally amongst men when discussing contemporary art at the end of the 20th century - no question.

On a side note. I started my tertiary art studies in 1997, went through post-grad studies and still have contact with many institutions. Over the past 10 years I have visibly noticed females starting to outnumber male student participation in fine and graphic arts courses...especially photography and installation based art.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Mike Jung on December 11, 2008, 07:10 AM
When I was an undergrad we learned about some female artists (mostly 20th century), partly because my department had a strong level of feminist activism. The instructors included Cathy Opie and Barbara Krueger, who were very active in both the L.A. and national art scenes. We looked into artists like Kiki Smith, Sally Mann, Eva Hess, Yoko Ono and Karen Finley, and interestingly I remember the photographers best - Carrie Mae Weems, Diane Arbus and my personal favorite, Cindy Sherman. That said, I agree with the sentiment regarding the Caldecott - the winner lists tilt noticeably toward men, especially this decade, and they do seem to reflect the problems with gender bias that we, as a society, have always had.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Juliarts2003@yahoo.com on December 11, 2008, 09:07 AM
great thread!  I just had a mini-art history lesson on two amazing female artists today - thanks!
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Artemesia on December 11, 2008, 10:10 AM
I especially like the work that depicts one lit candle and the contrast of light and dark on the subjects. Her story is amazing.

the one with the candle is also the one i was referring to. you can actually see more detail in the severed head in better quality reproductions. I'm not sure if they go into detail in the site you posted, but the 7 month rape trial made her an outcast. Back then, it was the woman on trial if she claimed rape, her onus to prove it happened, and prove she didn't 'bring it on herself' if it was rape, so to speak. She was treated as a criminal, guilty until proven innocent. I remember being horribly shocked and outraged during that particular art history lesson.

Matt, I can't believe I forgot about Cindy Sherman! thanks for the memory jog!!
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Barbara Eveleth on December 11, 2008, 10:17 AM
I was an art history minor (doesn't that sound weird?) in college and the ratio of male to female artists is staggering. Not really fair, huh?

Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Cynthia Kremsner on December 14, 2008, 06:18 AM
I've noticed the female to male ratio in other areas of creativity too.

Thank you so much Artemesia, Barb, Mike and Matt for the additional names. Some of these women have led or are leading very interesting lives, each one has a story worth a delve into non-fiction or historical fiction.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Z-cat on December 14, 2008, 10:20 AM
I was an art history minor (doesn't that sound weird?) in college and the ratio of male to female artists is staggering. Not really fair, huh?



Do you mean the ones you studied? Or the actual students?
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Barbara Eveleth on December 14, 2008, 10:40 AM
Hee hee hee, Z-Cat!


Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Z-cat on December 14, 2008, 10:45 AM
No, really!  :duh
When I was in college, we usually had a pretty even mix of guys/gals in my studio classes. But more students of art history. And I had whole classes that never covered a SINGLE female artist.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Barbara Eveleth on December 14, 2008, 10:49 AM
Probably more girls but my school at that time was 60/40 female to male.

My classes in NY were more even.





I still come back to the fact that women for most of history have had little to no roles other than those stated in my post above.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Charzi on March 07, 2009, 08:21 AM
Remedios Varo, was an amazing surrealist, far cooler than Frida Kahlo but no one ever covered her in my art history classes, some other female artists not mentioned here we did cover in class was Lyobov Popova, Judith Leister was barely mentioned, Berthe Morisot, Meret Oppenheimer, Mary Cassett, Imogen Cunningham (great photographer).. thats all I remember atm.

hmm  Tamara de Lempicka is a favorite of mine, she was never covered either :(

Oh and Evelyn de Morgan, she's awsome too!

Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: KC Held on March 07, 2009, 11:41 AM
My female Art History professor introduced us to Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun who served as court painter to Marie Antoinette and was accepted as a member of France's Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture.
Here's a link to an interesting article entitled Old Masters: Overlooked Women Artists
http://www.gadflyonline.com/01-14-02/ftr-women.html
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Marissa Doyle on March 08, 2009, 12:32 PM
Angelica Kauffmann and Mary Moser were among the founding members of the Royal Academy in England...but not surprisingly, in a later picture done of the founding members, they were only depicted as portraits on the wall--not as flesh and blood participants, because it was not considered appropriate for women to be professional artists...and certainly not academicians.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/58/13358-004-3C49C73B.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic-art/511208/4079/The-Royal-Academy-of-Arts-mezzotint-by-Richard-Earlom-after&usg=__fVsR25opEyWVgRwD1QNVIHaJQWE=&h=300&w=441&sz=49&hl=en&start=9&tbnid=J0-8jGPKvOpF4M:&tbnh=86&tbnw=127&prev=/images%3Fq%3DRoyal%2BAcademy%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/58/13358-004-3C49C73B.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic-art/511208/4079/The-Royal-Academy-of-Arts-mezzotint-by-Richard-Earlom-after&usg=__fVsR25opEyWVgRwD1QNVIHaJQWE=&h=300&w=441&sz=49&hl=en&start=9&tbnid=J0-8jGPKvOpF4M:&tbnh=86&tbnw=127&prev=/images%3Fq%3DRoyal%2BAcademy%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den)
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: SB on March 08, 2009, 12:42 PM
There were quite a few female Academic artists (like Vigée-Le Brun), but that entire section of art history is pretty much overlooked in art history curricula.  Quel dommage.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: m_stiefvater on March 09, 2009, 06:30 AM
Don't forget Rosa Bonheur!
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: SB on March 09, 2009, 08:25 PM
Don't forget Rosa Bonheur!

(An academic!)  Then there's Marie Guilhelmine Benoist, a very talented pupil of David.  And Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau was the technical equal of her famous French husband.  And the list goes on ...

Another awesome, well-known American artist (in sculpture) is Anna Hyatt Huntington.  Her "Joan of Arc" in NYC is amazing.

Thanks for this thread!
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Cynthia Kremsner on March 20, 2009, 06:32 AM
WOW, such good names here. Many I have not yet considered. Thank you so much for the input.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: JoS on May 12, 2009, 03:08 PM
And there is Mary Cassett too--a well respected impressionist.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Zuzus Petals on May 23, 2009, 07:38 AM
I was an art history major and attended a women's college so I probably got more info on this subject than most:)

It seems the 20th c had the most well known and in terms of photography many women shined:

Dorothea Lange
Diane Arbus
Lee Miller
Berenice Abbot

They are others but these I remember the most.

Louise Nevelson, Helen Frankenthaler and Sonja Delaunay were discussed quite a bit, and good ole Grandma Moses was not forgotten either :smile


Mary
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Barbara Eveleth on May 23, 2009, 07:50 AM
Lee Krasner...Action Jackson's wife

(they kind of trickle in don't they)
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Zuzus Petals on May 23, 2009, 12:42 PM
Lee Krasner...Action Jackson's wife

(they kind of trickle in don't they)

Yes, that is true. I just read about Vanessa Bell the other day and I forgot about Dora Carrington, which was made into a movie awhile ago.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Liz Straw on May 23, 2009, 01:13 PM
 :hijacked
If you think women artist's are under represented.  Look at women architects in history.  In fact in the US, approx. 20% of architects are women, they are shut out at the very beginning of their career by the sexism. 

Very few people are aware that Hearst Castle was design by Julia Morgan, a female architect; she also designed many other building in Western US.  But her male counterparts are the ones that people know. 

There are other important early female architects - I would actually have to hunt down my books, I am no good with names.  Seldom are these names ever heard in any classroom, trust me I studied architectural history.  Not even the woman that taught some of our classes brought up these names. 

If we do teach these things to our children, we tend to lump them under a special heading instead of the general scope of history where these artists belong.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Abracabarbara on October 24, 2009, 08:43 AM
Here's another overlooked female artist: Alice Neel -- expressionist painter whose work is very moving and powerful. She saw a lot of tragedy in her life, and she makes no bones (altho she can construct a face) in her portrayals of her subjects. They are not always very flattering but she seems to bring out real heartfelt emotion in them and you get sucked in and empathize.

(Sorry to keep this thread going but I love talking art history.) My daughter is thinking about majoring in it and I am thrilled because I will may have an art history buddy at my disposal.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Cynthia Kremsner on October 24, 2009, 09:14 AM
 :wow I checked out Alice Neel : http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.peterkurth.com/ALICE%2520NEEL_files/03_files/neel.jpeg&imgrefurl=http://www.peterkurth.com/ALICE%2520NEEL_files/03.html&usg=__FMFeds5cIdS9EbPjK7NFokI9lPI=&h=323&w=265&sz=53&hl=en&start=21&sig2=4N2MZRZkkuimuzW3ZvjIHA&um=1&tbnid=iN4Cy8vmK4FrcM:&tbnh=118&tbnw=97&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dalice%2Bneel%2Bpaintings%26ndsp%3D18%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1T4ADBS_enUS283US285%26sa%3DN%26start%3D18%26um%3D1&ei=DifjSuKdC4rktQOul9DODA   

Some link eh? All of her art evokes her internal feelings . . . mostly on the somber side of things. It's amazing when you look at the  artistic offerings women have made.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: elizabethp on October 24, 2009, 03:29 PM
During the late 1800s, half of all professional artists were women, as I learned during research for my mystery series. Boston especially had an enclave of women artists.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Marissa Doyle on October 29, 2009, 06:21 AM
Well, the beauty of a woman's creative life can be in the children they produce. Men have a different role in the procreation cycle so you might find their internal desire to be creative in other aspects in their life leads to the gender imbalance you have pointed out. In other words,  perhaps their need to be creative isn't as well satisfied by nature as a female's....

Um, no.  I'd like to say more, but I won't.

In reading a biography recently, I learned that Queen Victoria's eldest daughter Vicky, who became Empress of Prussia (and mother of the Kaiser of WWI fame) was an amazingly talented painter and could have made her living as a portraitist if she hadn't been a princess.  And another daughter, Louise, was a talented sculptress who exhibited some of her work anonymously at Academy shows.  I'm going to try to find a link to some of their work.  And Queen Vic herself was no slouch as a watercolorist--art was considered a desirable accomplishment in 19th century upper class women (who had the means and leisure to pursue it)...it's a shame that many probably wonderful women artists never got to pursue their art because it was considered improper for women to do so.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Abracabarbara on October 29, 2009, 08:17 AM
Um no. Sorry, Headwax. Not this woman.


And thanks, Marissa. Yes. We are in a better place now. Not perfect, but we are making great strides. :)

Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: agy wilson on December 07, 2009, 02:05 PM
This is something our critique group discusses and would love to help change to a more equitable, reflective environment. One of the advantages MOST of our male counterparts have, they don't have to balance the children/household/other jobs act. Some do a lot more, especially in these enlightened times, but the lion's share still falls to females. That cuts into the head space, development time as an artist. I believe this works to children's writers' advantage, but as an writer/illustrator, I can say it is "simpler" for me to write, than to illustrate and methink it often shows.

Some other artists of note besides Artemissia: Elizabeth Ney, Kathe Kollwitz, Louise Nevelson, Berthe Morrisot. One of my FAVORITE WORKING illustrators (she's self trained, but then she had some damned good beginnings, as in her parents William and Marie Zorach) is Dahlov Ipcar.

I wonder if there's a way to present portfolios in a gender neutral way? As for the big awards, that's out of our hands, I appreciate what the Committees do, and goodness knows it's ANOTHER conversation, but it's Librarians who nominate and decide the Caldecott. I think the hardest realization about this particular award isn't it's the art with the most merit, but with the meritorous IMPACT on its reader.

Interesting discussion, but I'd love to see more or brainstorming on how to balance this out.

Agy Wilson
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: Cynthia Kremsner on December 07, 2009, 10:25 PM
It's nice to see you here Agy. I used to participate on the write4kids boards some time ago, but with all the new networking sites it's a challenge to keep up with all of the updates. I just got back on the SCBWI site and their boards but I've been perusing more than participating.

For the brainstorming, I really appreciate all the input on this thread and calling attention to the contributions put forth by female artists. What we can do to turn things around is bring it out and speak of it openly. The manuscript I spoke of when I started this thread was an attempt to do just that. I've even considered using it as an introduction to a companion book about female artists (which I have yet to write). It's received some nice personals but I've been told it doesn't have broad commercial appeal. Funny though, there are books written with a humorous twist about male artists that seem to be timeless. One of my faves is Nina Laden's When Pigasso met Mootisse. And Nina is another female artist that has exceptional humor and style.

You hit it straight on when you spoke of women who work on their art are also having to devote more time to their household, and children than their male counterparts. In addition, many like me, have jobs outside the home. It's challenging.

There are so many females out there doing extraordinary work and some with mass market appeal. Judy Shackner, Felicia Bond and Jane Chapman come to mind.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: agy wilson on December 08, 2009, 05:40 PM
Exactly some of it IS education, Funny Stuff. Some of it is vocalizing. I think there's more.... hmmmmmmm, let me ruminate  :sheep for a bit before I start rabble rousing  :mob (could you tell my ten year old and I were having a GREAT time admiring the emoticons? :^P) :tease   :giggle

Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: agy wilson on December 08, 2009, 05:53 PM
P.S. wouldn't it be a nice resource to compile all of these (she) peeps in one place and add to it as people think more?

Someone had spoke of the fulfillment of women beyond their artistic life. Though it's true I love my children and role as mother, I fully and equally see myself as a creator of my products. Having grown up with the attitude that my "gifts" were mostly of the dancing monkey variety ("But what will you DO with your art) from the difficulty of my work being seen as valuable as say my husband's tells me personally there's a lot more to the subject. Beyond that, women have had the social rewriting/stigma of not being seemly bias that negates what they do, whether while they do it or after they do it, as expressed in some of the examples here.

Wouldn't this be a richer world if everyone's gifts were valued, talent was recognized for what it is, and not attached to a gender or some other arbitrary definition? Seriously, these are valid, valuable discussions.

It harkens back to the argument of whether children's literature has similar value to adults (I'd argue it has WAY MORE, no one can love a premise or an idea like a child, and books and ideas have profound impact on children's lives when there's often a jaded dearth in adults). Think of the billions made by Holliwood and then ask how many originated in the children's world, via books, graphic novels or games. Think how many of the classics are now specifically marketed to children, from Dracula to the Bronte's.

Sigh, a girl can dream.
Title: Re: Female Artists in Art History
Post by: D.Diorio on March 02, 2010, 08:12 AM
Thought I'd mention the National Women's Musem in D.C.  I'm sure there's quite a lot on women artists archived there.

Some personal favs: I once saw a retrospective of the French sculptor Camille Claudel there that bowled me over! There's quite a bit of Berthe Morisot's work in the Impressionist collection in Paris that is simpy stunning! Frida Kahlo is a personal heroine of mine with all she overcame through and by her art.