A New Movement Towards Feminism In Art - 20th century to the Present
The Late Nineteeth Century and the Early Twentieth Century
|Breakfast with the Birds
|Gabriele Munter (1877-1962)
When we normally think of the history of women in art, we begin to name women who painted or worked in the
arts in some capacity during the late 19th and earliest part of the 20th centuries. This is the period of time when recognizable
names start to appear, and if asked to list the most famous women artists of all time, many of the names will come from this
time in history. As you now realize, there were many women that came before Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, and
Gabriele Munter. For those of you who have not studied art history before taking this course, even those names
may not sound familiar, but these women along with their contemporaries are the ones that normally begin the list of women
|Berthe Morisot (1841-1895)
At the turn of the century a great change occurred in the world of art. Women who previously had studied
only as a result of having relatives who were infact artists themselves, or who had been sent to institutions to study with
women only, now became part of the artistic world and were allowed to be educated as the men of the time were. It was
not unusual to find women studying along with people like Kandinsky or Manet. The impressionists of Europe started to have
an impact on women in art. They were not only accepting of women as colleagues but they were encouraging to the women who
wanted to exhibit and who wanted to develop their draftsmanship.
At the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, women learned to draw with live nude models. This was completely
unheard of up until that time, as women before had to study anatomy by using the muscular and skeletal structure of a
Paris became the place to study for all artists of the time, and women of the era were no exception. Barring
any familial objections women were allowed to enter into the academies of Paris and many from the United States and Canada
did so. Emily Carr, noted Canadian artist of the early 20th century spent a good deal of time training in Paris.
|A Totem Walk at Sitka
|Emily Carr (1871-1945)
Women Changing the Face of Art - Mid 20th century
Once women began to study with the men and travel for the sake of their art, the entire face of the art
world changed. Names that are now familiar to us began to appear on the scene like, Georgia O'Keefe, and Frida Kahlo.
These women dared to be different enough to carve out their own legacy and created a new way of thinking about women as artists.
Nothing that had been done until this time was so innovative and stark in its presentation. Women had never before been called surrealists
nor expressionists. They had also not been considered as painters, but only as women painters. To forget the gender
of the painter and consider the painting for its own merit was unthinkable until the women of this new generation crossed
the barrier and forced the art world to see them as equal to and comparable with the male artists of the time. I don't know
if Lee Krasner or Georgia O'Keefe or Frida would think they had been treated as equals to their contemporaries, but looking
back, from the perspective of the 21st century, there was certainly more equality than there had ever been before.
|Jack in the Pulpit
|Georgia O'Keefe (1887-1986)
Once women made a mark in society as artists of the 20th century, all taboos were challenged. Judy
Chicago created an art installation piece called THE DINNER PARTY, in which a place setting was designed to represent several
women of notoriety. This installation was daring and provocative in that many of the 'plates' had shapes or moldings
which looked quite similar to the female genitilia. Despite the publicity and controversy, it was one of the first feminist
intallations to be shown internationally and to receive positive critical notice.