I woke up this morning and remembered an idea that came to me in the middle of the night--I should blog about women artists for women's history month-- and so I have decided to highlight some of my favorite art history books --- the ones that are about women artists I admire, or are excellent general feminist women's art history--from my collection. When I attended college in the 1990's (I was a college student later in life), I received a minor in Art History---and found myself studying mostly women in art history. This may have had something to do with my experience in the 1980's with feminist artist Judy Chicago--I collaborated with her on a piece for The Birth Project, and that experience certainly "raised my consciousness" around the issue of women being systematically "written out of history."
A classic history is Women Artists : An Illustrated History by Nancy G. Heller. This (and some of the other books here,) may now be out of print but a quick look at ABEbooks.com showed numerous used copies for sale.
Another thought provoking book discusses (between the two authors, Judy Chicago and Edward Lucie-Smith) some of the contrasting ways women have been portrayed throughout western art history---and addresses the questions : "Why has so much art by women continued to find so little public recognition? Are women's depictions of women different from those by men?" among other subjects. The illustrations are numerous and beautiful, and the book may make you view images of women in art in a new way.
I think the title for this book speaks for itself. This is the classic book on American feminist art of the 1970's, with great Illustrations.
Next--the history of American women artist's 1970-1985. If you are interested in contemporary women's fine art, these are the three books I highly recommend.
Now to highlight a few individual women artists whose work has influenced mine....
This book by Janet Kaplan captivated me when it first was published--then I was lucky to veiw a show of Remedios Varo's art at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. (If you are ever in D. C.--this Museum is a must see!) Varo was an early surrealist artist--originally from Europe, but forced to flee the Nazis, eventually she settled in Mexico City. To see a great website all about Varo---her life and many images of her art--click here.
"For more than 60 years German Artist Kathe Kollwitz expressed through her work the ideas that obsessed her: the plight of the oppressed, the causes of peace and social justice, the joys and sorrows of motherhood, and the mystery of death." Looking through this book, I find it a bit scary how so many of these images are still relevant today.
Lastly, I have this lovely book about the amazing Margaret Mee (1909-1988)--and English artist who traveled to the Amazon--sometimes by canoe and alone-- and kept diaries of her journeys and also created wonderful botanical paintings and drawings of the plant life.
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