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A very good documentary of women and Western art produced by BBC.

Part One:



Part Two:


Queer Feminist Artist

Check out K8 Hardy talk about her project for the Tate Modern, FashionFashion; really interesting after Tues. discussion…

She talks about “performance panties,” the body, and her connection to feminism, and basically says “this is not feminism 101, this is my life, my world”



Discussion Outline for 1960s and 1970s: Art, Civil Rights, and the Women’s Movement
Ann McHale and Melody Ain

I. Introduction: Feminism and Art in the Twentieth Century
a. Summary: Attitudes of women throughout history have come from some of the most celebrated male minds of Western culture. This attitude towards women has continued to shape history and the understanding of gender. The establishment of the female place in art has been a continuous battle. Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard introduce the rediscovery of Feminist art history to a new generation of women in this crucial book.

b. Discussion Questions:
What is feminist art?
Is all art created by women feminist art?
Are the unconscious themes of women artists “feminist? Is it possible for a woman to create art, and it not to be feminist? Example: LK

II. Feminism Unbound by Nancy Princental
a. Summary: Nancy Princenthal reviews the exhibition “ WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution”. Since the 1960s when the feminist art movement began to emerge, women have been particularly interested in what makes them different. In this exhibition women go to extreme levels to set themselves apart, all in the name of art. From self mutilation to performance art, women artists take their craft to a new level of self expression. Women artists in this exhibition express the importance of self identity.
b. Discussion Questions:
i. How has the human body become a focus in art? Self mutilation, violence, sexuality….
ii. When does this type of art become to radical? Where is the line drawn?
Is this type art of effective? Who is the audience?
b. List of Images:
i. Caroline Schneemann
1. Interior Scroll
2. 1975
3. New York City ( first performance)
ii. Judy Chicago
1. Red Flag
2. 1971
iii. Judy Chicago
1. The Dinner Party
2. 1979
3. Brooklyn Museum
iv. Anna Gaskell
1. Untitled #35 ( Hide)
2. 1998
Collection of Heather and Tony Podesta, Falls Church, VA
v. Marji Geerlinks
1. Mothers
2. 2000
3. Torch Gallery Amsterdam

vi. Catherine Opie
1. Self Portrait/Nursing
2. 2004
3. Los Angeles
vii. Jenny Sarille
1. Untitled ( Study)
2. 2004
3. New York
Worldwide Women by Eleanor Heartney
Summary: The women’s movement of liberation has explored all areas of the human experience. However, the change in the field of art has lagged far behind in the movement for female liberation. In Eleanor Heartney’s review of “Global Feminism: New Directions in Contemporary Art” she highlights the work of women artists who have made many significant contributions throughout the history of art in this exhibition. She also discusses the problems with the exhibition, and the barriers within the realm of feminism.
Discussion Questions:
i. The experience of women around the world are drastically different. How does this effect their view of feminism?

ii. Why do some feminist artists take on such a aggressive approach to their sexuality?

iii. How do women identify within their culture and race but also as women in their art?

Interpretation of what is Feminism
Violence and Self mutilation in art

Abstract Expressionism: The Making of a Heroic Art


  1. Class Participation!!
    1. Word Association – write down what gender you typically think of with the following words
      1. i.      “L.K.”
      2. ii.      “Nude”
      3. iii.      “Heroic”
    2. Discuss what everyone wrote and why they wrote it
    3. L.K. – genderless purposefully (to be discussed later)
    4. Nude – female
    5. Heroic – male
      1. i.      The calling of Abstract Expressionism as a “heroic” art leaves little room for a woman’s place.

  1. Clement Greenberg’s “American-Type Painting”
    1. Greenberg says that Abstract Expressionism is progressive – but for art’s sake, not for society (women have no place there)
    2. Language
      1. i.      Look at the language he uses to describe Pollock’s art
        1. We will compare this language to how Krasner’s art is described later in the discussion
      2. ii.      Does Greenberg leave any room for women to have a role in Abstract Expressionism?
      3. iii.      Are women able to have a role in art, specifically the Abs-Exp?
      4. iv.      How would Greenberg have reacted if a woman painted in the Abstract Expressionist style?
  1. Harold Rosenberg’s “The American Action Painters”
    1. Rosenberg gives his own interpretation of what Abstract Expressionism is, specifically that it focuses on the action of painting as opposed to the previous focus on the sketch and product of a work.
    2. Language: Does it allow for female art?
  1. Anne M. Wagner’s “Lee Krasner as L.K.”
    1. Initials and Names: Are they gendered?
      1. i.      L.K. is purposefully androgynous
      2. ii.      She refused to sign many of her works – in fact, it is mentioned that Pollock signed some of them for her.  Why?
      3. iii.      She chose to go by Lee instead of Leonore, again choosing a more ambiguous name for herself.
        1. Compare to Nochlin’s example of Meret Oppenheim, a distinctly androgynous name
    2. Krasner vs. Pollock
      1. i.      She destroyed many of her works that resembled his style.  Why do you think she did this?
      2. ii.      During their marriage, Krasner’s lack of self-identified art was an effort to establish herself artistically as related to Jackson Pollock in a non-gendered way.
      3. iii.      Her art is typically more masculine, a conscious decision to separate herself from feminists/women artists as well defining herself individually than with Pollock.
        1. Why would she choose a masculine style of painting?
      4. iv.      La donnesco mano: the female hand
        1. Krasner lacks any kind of feminity in her art – and the paintings that contained any delicate style were later destroyed by the artist.
        2. She removed any kind of gender out of her art.
        3. Page 429
      5. v.      Her art is described as “quiet” and “harmonious” – an “understated presence”
        1. Pollock’s art is viewed as aggressive, violent, etc.
          1. How does this separate her from Pollock?
          2. How does this further separate her from women’s art?
          3. How does it simultaneously bring her closer to women’s art?
      6. vi.      Pollock’s art, as described by Greenberg: “allusive and altogether original vocabulary of Baroque shapes with which he twisted Cubist space to make it speak with his own vehemence.”
    3. Krasner as a wife
      1. i.      Why would Krasner give up her art for Pollock?
        1. Was it a decision she made willingly or because she is a woman and therefore subservient?
        2. Judith Leyster’s art took a back seat to her husband’s more prolific art (Jan Miense Molenaer)
      2. ii.      The irony of Krasner as a housewife – seeing herself as “Mrs. Jackson Pollock” instead of “Lee Krasner”
        1. Making jelly on a Saturday morning instead of painting (refer back to article)
    4. Krasner after Pollock’s death
      1. i.      How do you think she reacted to articles describing her art after Pollock’s death?
        1. “found her own voice”
        2. came “out of the shadows”
    5. Krasner as a woman
      1. i.      She refused to associate herself with feminism or any kind of femininity.  Why would she make that choice?
  1. How does gender play into Krasner’s art?
  1. Abstract Expressionism is inherently a man’s style – the aggression flowing through Pollock’s art, as an example.
    1. Can it even be recreated with a feminine hand?
    2. Does gender need to be taken out completely for this style?
  1. Abstract Expressionism is typically the “boys’ club” – there was no room for any female artists.
    1. If Krasner hadn’t put her work on hold for Pollock, had she actually focused on her own style, would she have been accepted into the club?  Or would she have been rejected?
    2. Would she have been accepted because she removed gender from her art?
    3. If there was gender in her art, if the “female hand” was seen, would she still have been accepted?

Ann McHale
October 1, 2009
ARTH 460

Discussion Outline for The Model and The Artist

I. Introduction (Madison)
a. “ Every prominent scholar of nineteenth century art planted himself in front of her, writing paraphernalia at hand. All thought their engagement disinterested, but it wasn’t. They circled her from above, close up, on top. What did they mean to do with all those words? Describe her? Analyze her? Situate her? Or: Posses her? Control her? Silence her?” pg. 15 Alias Olympia
b. Discussion Questions:
i. What were the other authors’ intentions for writing about Victorine Meurent?
ii. What were Lipton’s intentions for researching Victorine Meurent?

II. Alias Olympia (Ann)
a. Summary: In this book Eunice Lipton investigates the life of Vicotrine Meurent. Throughout history Victorine has been portrayed as the bold beautiful model made famous by Manet’s painting Olympia. History remembered Vicotrine as the model who descended into a life alcoholism and prostitution. Lipton sets out on a search to find the truth behind the face that made Edouard Manet famous. Through her research she also incorporates her own narrative about her own personal struggles in life.

b. Discussion Questions:
i. Do you think the images of Victorine Meurent painted by Manet and others were true depictions of her life?
ii. What image did Manet portray of Victorine Meurent versus the image portrayed by Norbert Goeneutte? (Refer to pages 104-108 in Alias Olympia)
iii. What category of model would Victorine Meurent fall into, modèle de profession, modèle à l’occasion, or modèle privilégié?
b. List of Images:
i. Olympia
1. Manet
2. 1863-1865
3. Musée d’Orsay
ii. Madoiselle Victorine in the Costume of an Espada
1. Manet
2. 1862
iii. Dejeuner sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass)
3. Manet
4. 1863
5. Musée d’Orsay

iv. Portrait of Victorine Meurent
1. Manet
2. 1862
3. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

v. Street Singer
1. Manet
2. 1862
3. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

vi. Woman with a Parrot
1. Manet
2. 1866
3. Metropolitan Museum of Art

vii. Palm Sunday
1. Victorine-Louise Meurent
2. 1880s?
3. Municipal Museum of Art and History, Colombes

III. Realist Quandaries Article (Amy)
a. Summary: In this article Susan Waller explains the difference between the three types of models: modèles de profession, modèles à l’occasion, and modèles privilégiés. During the 19th century artist began to move away from the traditional model use of professional models to non-professional models. Artist began to use a diverse range of models in their work to gain a more natural element in their works.

b. Discussion Questions:
i. How did Manet influence the shift from modèles de profession to modèles à l’occasion, and modèles privilégiés?

Define: modèles de profession- was paid, posed, and had no say in the work of the artist.
modèles à l’occasion- was usually associates of the artist, family or friends. They were not paid, yet the artist worked with their image are an artists friends or family.
Propriety models – usually commissioned the work. They paid for the artwork and had a say in the work of the artist.

ii. What issues did female models face?
iii. What were the attitudes towards Victorine Meurent? Did her modeling in Manet’s paintings influence the others’ opinions of her?
Kate Dickens example of Pre Raphaelite in John Evertt Millais
The middle class women posing in the garden was less fraught than posing in an artist studio though too it could create problems

  1. Introduction – Madison
    1. “Every prominent scholar of nineteenth-century art planted himself in front of her, writing paraphernalia at hand.  All thought their engagement disinterested, but it wasn’t. They circled her from above, close up, on top.  What did they mean to do with all those words? Describe her? Analyze her? Situate her? Or: Possess her? Control her? Silence her?” – page 15
      1. i.      What were these other writer’s intentions with their research of Victorine Meurent?
      2. ii.      What was Eunice Lipton intention for researching Victorine Meurent?
  1. Alias Olympia
    1. Summary:  This book was written to find out who Victorine Meurent really was and to prove that she was not the drunkard and failure that many scholars have portrayed her as.  It highlighted the art historian Eunice Lipton’s journey to find Meurent and wove the search around her personal life.
    2. Discussion Questions: – Ann
      1. i.      Do you think the images of Victorine Meurent painted by Manet and others were true depictions of her life?
      2. ii.      What image did Manet portray of Victorine Meurent versus the image portrayed by Norbert Goeneutte?
        1. Refer to page 104-108
        2. Found no images
      3. iii.      What category of model would Victorine Meurent fall into, modèle de profession, modèle à l’occasion, or modèle privilégié?
        1. Both the professional and occasion models
        2. She was made to be someone else so she is not a proprietary model.
    3. List of Images:
      1. i.      Olympia
        1. Manet
        2. 1863-1865
        3. Musée d’Orsay
      2. ii.      Dejeuner sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass)
        1. Manet
        2. 1863
        3. Musée d’Orsay
  1. iii.      Madoiselle Victorine in the Costume of an Espada
    1. Manet
    2. 1862
    3. Metropolitan Museum of Art
    4. Professional Model
    5. iv.      Street Singer
      1. Manet
      2. 1862
      3. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
      4. v.      Woman with a Parrot
        1. Manet
        2. 1866
        3. Metropolitan Museum of Art
      5. vi.      Portrait of Victorine Meurent
        1. Manet
        2. 1862
        3. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
      6. vii.      Palm Sunday
        1. Victorine-Louise Meurent
        2. 1880s ?
        3. Municipal Museum of Art and History, Colombes
        4. Only surviving work by Meurent
  1. Realist Quandaries Article
    1. Summary: This article shows the difference between the three types of models: modèles de profession, modèles à l’occasion, and modèles privilégiés and how artists in the late 19th century transitioned from using professional models to the using non professional models to gain a more dynamic painting.  It states that artists in the 1860s moved away from professional models to make their paintings look less posed and more true to life.
      1. i.      modèles de profession – professional model, the artist stages or poses the model how they want, they are paid for their services.
      2. ii.      modèles à l’occasion – occasional model or irregular model, they knew the artist (friends and family) and were not paid by the hour, they were also posed and generally depicted how the artist wanted
      3. iii.      modèles privilégiés – proprietary model, the model retains their say in how the work will be done,  they are often the people that commissioned the portraits.  They retain their identity.
    2. Discussion Questions: – Amy
      1. i.      Why did the use of models shift from professional models to occasion and proprietary models?
        1. Why did Manet switch?
      2. ii.      What issues did female models face?
        1. Ruin of Reputation
          1. How to prevent it?
          2. Example:
            1. i.      “Dickens agreed, and Kate Dickens, …went to Millais’s studio, accompanied by an elderly friend of the family, pose …” page 241 of article
            2. ii.      Berthe Morisot example
            3. iii.      Young woman example who rejected Manet on the street
            4. Modèle  de femme – clandestine prostitute, display their bodies were essential to their work in the sex trade
              1. Could be portrayed as this
              2. Location of the work being done
                1. for a middle-class woman, posing in a garden was less fraught than posing in an artist’s studio” page 260 of article

my bad…

just realized i didn’t include a link to the article in my post…

Fake Fridas

Thought you guys might find this interesting… a book containing a bunch of Frida Khalo’s personal items is about to be released. Trouble is, looks like most everyone not directly connected to them is calling them out as forgeries.

This is amazing!

My older sister was also an art history major in college and she emailed me this link a couple days ago.  I thought you all might like it as well if you haven’t seen it yet – it’s really amazing!  I always like when artists use innovative mediums for their art – even something as simple as sand can be taken to a new level.  Enjoy!


Discussion Outline

Megan Borders
ARTH 460 – Women in Western Art
Group Members: Sara & Trish

Artemisia Gentileschi
Garrard, “Artemisia and Susanna,” FAH
Wittkower and Wittkower, Born Under Saturn (1963), “Agostino Tassi – The Seducer of Artemisia Gentileschi.”
Biblical Narrative – Daniel Chapter 13
The Rape of Artemisia

Discussion Outline:
 First things first: Take 5-10 minutes to think about, or re-read if necessary, the biblical narrative of Susanna and the Elders. How is Artemisia’s interpretation different than the biblical context? In what ways is it the same?
o A quick review of the biblical narrative to start things off.
o A brief bit of background information about the artist.
*Something to think about during the discussion, which we can bring up again near the end of class: “Do you think Artemisia could have painted this the same, had she not been through this?”
N.B. – Knowing what we know about the date of this painting (1610) and the date of the rape trial (1611), could ongoing harassment prior to the rape have been the artist’s motivating factor of her unique portrayal of Susanna, rather than the rape itself?
 Taking a look at Garrard:
o Susanna and the Elders, Pommersfelden, Schloss Weissenstein, Collection Dr. Karl Graf von Schonborn (Brooklyn Museum) 1610, has been attributed to Artemisia Gentileschi
o Differences between Artemisia’s theme of Susanna and the Elders other artists’ of the same subject; briefly compare each side by side:
 Artemisia vs. Tintoretto (1555-56)
 Artemisia vs. Rubens (1636-40)
 Artemisia vs. Rembrandt (1647)
• Artemisia’s choice to ditch the “Venus pose” in favor of a defensive gesture
• Might her interpretation be different because she’s a woman approaching this subject?
o Artemisia’s Susanna figure is more realistic in terms of female body proportion than other male artists depict in their own work during that time. Is this because only women were allowed to view female models? Does the fact that the artist is a woman herself play a part?
o Differences between Artemisia and Orazio’s treatment of a theme
 The gestures in Orazio’s David and Goliath vs. those in Artemisia’s Susanna
 Artemisia and her father both chose to paint the subject of Judith and her Maidservant, but treat the female figures in their paintings differently. Compare and contrast
• Did experiences in Artemisia’s personal life affect the way she chose to portray her Judith?
*Garrard argues that the date of Artemisia Gentileschi’s Susanna and the Elders is 1610. Given what we know now about the rape trials taking place a year later, what does that tell us? Does it change our opinion about her treatment of the theme?

Wittkower reading:
 Artemisia vs. Tassi: p. 163 – “The Artemisia affair had certainly caused a sensation. But Tassi did not care and his patrons did not mind.”
 For Artemisia the trial brought shame, dishonor, etc. She has to personally write to patrons, practically begging for work
i. She eventually goes on to have an “honorable” career as a “lascivious and precocious girl,” What do you think Wittkower means by this? (p. 164)
 Tassi: “In the years after the scandal he received his greatest commissions,” (p. 164)
i. His reputation does not seem to be damaged at all, as he was described as witty and clever
1. Comparison with Caravaggio as the “bad boy,” which means success for men but not women. Men seemed to get away with everything, including, in this case, rape. Is this still true today?
ii. Tassi eventually even wins back his friendship with Orazio
Further discussion to consider:
 Artemisia vs. Vittoria Colonna: both taking matters into their own hands and writing to patrons to get what they want in a society so clearly dominated by men
 What would Vasari say about Artemisia? In Properzia de’Rossi’s case, he left out certain instances of her bad behavior, in favor of a more ladylike interpretation of the artist. Would Vasari have skimmed over the details of the rape trial, referring to Artemisia as a “poor raped girl,” or would he have left them out completely? Does everything we know about the rape trial add to what we like or dislike about Artemisia (for example, is one drawn to her work emotionally because they feel sorry for the violated artist behind it?)
o Artists bringing their own personal life experiences into their work
o Susanna and the Elders has been a popular theme in art, but in this case is it of greater significance because of Artemisia’s personal life?
What are the attitudes toward rape today?
For Artemisia, the best option (or perhaps her only acceptable option) would have been to marry Tassi after he raped her. That obviously doesn’t happen today, but do the same issues of shame, reputation and dishonor pertain to rape victims in our society?

Slides of Images:
 Artemisia Gentileschi, Susanna and the Elders, 1610, Pommersfelden, Schloss Weissenstein, Collection Dr. Karl Graf von Schonborn (Brooklyn Museum).
 Tintoretto, Susanna and the Elders, 1555-56. Vienna, Kunsthistoriches Museum.
 Peter Paul Rubens, Susanna and the Elders, 1636- 40. Munich, Alte Pinakothek.
 Rembrandt, Susanna and the Elders, 1647. Berlin, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz.
 Roman Sarcophagus, Orestes Slaying Clytemnestra and Aegisthus, detail, Rome, Museo Profano Lateranense.
 Orazio Gentileschi, David and Goliath, ca. 1605- 1610. Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland.
 Orazio Gentileschi, Judith and Her Maidservant, 1610-12, Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum.
 Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith and Her Maidservant, 1625. The Detroit Institute of Arts.

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