The Women Impressionists: A Sourcebook

The Women Impressionists: A Sourcebook

The Women Impressionists: A Sourcebook

The Women Impressionists: A Sourcebook

Synopsis

This reference organizes and describes the primary and secondary literature surrounding Mary Stevenson Cassatt, Berthe Morisot, Eva Gonzales, and Marie Bracquemond, four major women Impressionist artists. The Impressionist group included several women artists of considerable ability whose works and lives were largely ignored until the advent of feminist art criticism in the early 1970s. They studied, worked, and exhibited with their male counterparts including Degas, Manet, Monet, and Pissarro. The entries provide extensive coverage of the careers, critical reception, exhibition history, and growing reputations of these four female artists and discuss women Impressionists in general as they shared the challenges of becoming accepted as professional artists in late 19th-century society.

Excerpt

"I don't think there has ever been a man who treated a woman as an equal, and that's all I would have asked for, for I know I'm worth as much as they.

-- Berthe Morisot

Lending credence to the admonition never to trust an idea that you come across while sitting down, inspiration for this sourcebook on the women Impressionists came from a suggestion by Rebecca Clement while on a hike, appropriately, to the Walker Sisters' homestead in Little Greenbrier, Great Smoky Mountains National Park-a dilapidated testament in adzescored chestnut planks to five resolute sisters. Their rugged pioneer lives parallel the hardships and struggle for acceptance of the four 19th century women artists featured here. Coincidentally, a working outline, division of labor, target completion date, and artists to include (Rosa Bonheur and Suzanne Valadon were reluctantly dropped due to a lack of significant secondary literature) were thrashed out under the shelter of an enormous yellow poplar on the same trail during a later afternoon when, as the French exclaim, it "rained ropes." We were delighted when Christiane Erbolato-Ramsey cheerfully elected to join the project in its initial stage. Ms. Erbolato-Ramsey was responsible for fetching, gathering, organizing, and writing the sections on Cassatt and Gonzalés, much of which was accomplished during a research trip to Paris in 1999.

The poignancy that underscores aspects of these women's lives and the disadvantages they faced as women artists are heightened by the consistent quality of their paintings and their high-reaching artistic aspirations. Cassatt is best known among Americans, in whose major museums she is reasonably well represented. Morisot has never fallen from recognition in France; Bracquemond and Gonzalés are much less known, in part due to their small and erratic output. The accomplishments and originality of the women Impressionists make them, in our minds, worthy equals to the pantheon of artists covered in other Greenwood bio-bibliographies and sourcebooks on late 19th and early 20th century French avant-garde colorists, namely Paul Gauguin (1991), Henri Matisse (1993), George Bracque (1994),Les Fauves (1994), French Symbolists (1996), and Neo-Impressionist Painters (1999).

This sourcebook compiles and organizes the literature on women Impressionists in general as well as sources on four individual French and American artists. Each individual . . .

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