I. Introduction: Art History and the Woman Artist.
A. Major issues and methodologies of the course.
1. Traditional societal limitations and cultural attitudes re:
2. The power of institutions and discourses to control art
3. Traditional vs. feminist and revisionist art histories.
B. Historical background re: role of women in art in the Middle Ages.
1. Medieval Christian attitudes toward women.
2. Manuscript illumination and embroidery.
3. Participation in family workshops.
4. Role of convents in training and education.
II.The Renaissance in Italy: 15th, 16th, and 17th century.
A. The Early Renaissance in Florence.
1. The absence of significant women artists due to the
secularization and urbanization of society and guild exclusion
2. Portraits of women as indication of status and the Renaissance
ideal, e.g. Ghirlandaio, Giovanna Tornabuoni nee Albizzi, 1448.
B. The High Renaissance.
1. The writing of Castiglione led to increased education and
art training for upper class women and the subsequent
emergence of the first famous Renaissance woman artist, Sofonsiba
2. The role of royal women as patrons, especially Isabella de'Este.
C. The Other Renaissance: Women artists of Bologna and Rome 16th
and 17th century, Elisabetta Sirani, Artemisia Gentileschi.
III. Northern Europe: 15th, 16th and 17th century.
A. Calvinism and the role of women in middle-class Northern society.
B. Representation of women in Northern art, e.g. work of Vermeer.
C. Role of women artists in the development of still life and
domestic genre painting, e.g. Clara Peeters, Judith Leyster,
Maria S. Merian, Maria van Oosterwych, and Rachel Ruysch.
IV. France and England: 18th Century.
A. Role of the "salonieries" in shaping the art of early 18th century
France, and the subsequent backlash against these powerful
aristocratic women, e.g. Marquise du Chatelet and Mde. du Pompadour.
B. Enlightenment philosophy, especially Jean Jacques Rousseau,
and changing attitudes toward women.
C. Change from courtly aristocratic society to middle-class
D. The power of the Royal Academies of Painting and Sculpture to
dictate style and employment, and their restrictions against
E. The phenomenal success of some women artists despite the
restrictions of the Academies, e.g. Rosalba Carriera, Marie Loir,
Angelica Kauffman, and Elizabeth-Louise Vigae-Lebrun.
V. Victorian England: 19th Century.
A. Post-Industrial Revolution society and the rising middle class.
B. Attitudes toward female sexuality.
C. The emancipation of women and the impact on women in art, e.g.
Elizabeth Thompson (aka Lady Butler).
D. Women and the Pre-Raphaelites.
Representation of women, e.g. in the work of Dante G. Rossetti.
E. Art and crafts.
1. Morris and Co. and the role of women, e.g. Jane Morris.
2. Efforts to break down the barriers between the decorative
arts and the "fine" arts.
VI.America and France: 19th Century.
A. Growing rift between "work" and "home" and the "cult of
B. The suffrage movement.
Social reform and women's rights led to educational reform
and greater opportunities for women.
C. Women, needlework, and abolitionism, e.g. Harriet Powers.
D. Philadelphia Exposition 1876 and the Women's Pavilion controversy.
E. French Naturalism, e.g. Rosa Bonheur.
F. Women and Neoclassicism, e.g. Harriet Hosmer and Edmonia Lewis.
G. Women and Realism and Impressionism, e.g. Berthe Morisot and
H. Women and Post-Impressionism, e.g. Kate Greenaway and Camille
VII. Early 20th Century Modernism.
A. The relationship of the decorative arts and the role of women
in the evolution of Abstraction.
B. Role of women in the major art movements:
1. German Expressionism, e.g. Gabriele Munter and Kathe Kollwitz.
2. Cubism, e.g. Sonia Delaunay.
3. Russian Abstraction, e.g. Natalia Goncharova, Luibov Popova,
Alexandra Exeter and Varara Stepanova.
4. American Abstraction, e.g. Georgia O'Keeffe.
5. Dada, e.g. Hannah Hoch.
6. Surrealism, e.g. Frida Kahlo, Meret Oppenheim, Dorothea
Tanning, Remedios Varo, and Kay Sage.
C. Representation of the female form in Early Modern art, e.g.
in the work of Paula Modersohn-Becker, Suzanne Valadon, Pablo Picasso,
Henri Matisse, and the Surrealists.
VIII. Modernism in Post WWII America.
A. 1930s New Deal programs and "gender blind" policies result in an
unusual number of professional women artists and productivity,
e.g Louise Nevelson, Lee Krasner, Isabel Bishop, Alice Neel, and
1. WPA mural commissions awarded on the basis of "anonymous
competitions" giving the women the right to participate and be
judged on the same basis as men.
2. Subsequent backlash against women wage earners.
3. Though faced with additional obstacles, women of color also
benefited from government programs, e.g. Augusta Savage, Pablita
B. Clement Greenberg and Abstract Expressionism.
1. The movement was dominated by male painters, examine why the few
women that were involved were initially overshadowed by the men,
e.g. Lee Krasner
2. Abstract Expressionism dominates traditional art historical
accounts which marginalize artists, male and female, working in
C. Mid 1950s to mid 1960s
1. Overdue recognition for several women artists signals a new level
of acceptance, e.g. Louise Nevelson, Barbara Hepworth, and Louise
2. More women involved in the second generation of Abstrat
Expressionism, e.g. Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, and Elaine
D. Minimalism and women artists, e.g. Afnes Martin and Bridget Riley.
IX. Feminist Art in North American and Great Britain.
A. 1970s: women artists started to band together "to protest their
exclusion from male dominated exhibitions and institutions."
B. Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro created a feminist art program at
the California Institute of Arts, Valencia.
C. 1976 monumental exhibition "Women Artists: 1550-1950" at the LA
County Museum, organized by Linda Nochlin and Ann Sutherland Harris.
D. The development of feminism as an international movement.
1. Reclaiming of past histories.
2. Ideas spread though feminist publications.
3. Pride in female body and spirit.
E. Rebellion against conventional mediums and size standards.
1. Performance and video art, e.g. Ana Mendieta.
2. Celebration of mediums traditionally labeled "crafts", such as
fiber art and ceramics, e.g. Chicago's Dinner Party, Schapiro, Nancy
Spero, Magdalena Abakanowicz.
3. Use of industrial materials, e.g. Eva Hesse.
X. Post-Modernism in North America and Europe the 1980s and 1990s.
A. Backlash against women in the US, Britain, and much of Europe during
the conservative Reagan and Thatcher administrations.
B. Major exhibitions either exclude women or feature a "token" few.
C. Women artists and mass media, e.g. Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman,
and Jenny Holzer.
1. Critiques of images of women in mass media.
2. Drawing attention to the power of media to shape sexual or
3. The role of language in social order and gender issues.
D. Renewed social activism.
1. Guerrilla Girls- active since 1987.
2. Women artists Coalition (WAC)- early 1990s, NY
E. Despite limited access to major institutions and exhibition venues,
women participated in visual culture in a wide range of mediums and
formats, a few achieving widespread acclaim, e.g. Susan Rothenberg and
XI. International Post-Modernism in the 1990s: The Globalization of
Culture (Optional, as time permits).
A. The emergence of several important biennial international
exhibitions, e.g. Venice, Sao Paulo, and Havanna.
1. Dramatic increase in the participation of women.
2. Exposure for western and non-western artists.
3. Widespread concern for environmental and social issues.
4. Recognition of traditional "craft" mediums, e.g. Lucy Lewis,
5. coverage of these exhibitions by an international art press
further disseminates visual culture.
B. Artistic migration and "cultural nomadism".
1. Produced by socio-political factors and the First World demand
for Third World art.
2. Third World artists: Western modernism vs. traditional visual
culture, e.g. Marta Maria Perez Bravo, and Emily Kngwarreye.
C. Post-colonialism: the hybridization of western culture with native
D. International feminism
1. Varying impact of feminism in non-western cultures.
2. Western culture: experiencing a post-feminist era?
E. Contribution of women artists to international visual culture, e.g.
Mariko Mori, Marina Abramovic, and Kiki Smith.