Seldom recognized, yet contributing significantly to the structure of early American modernism is a group of women who were once the art students of the popular and perhaps most influential American art teacher of the twentieth century, Robert Henri (1865-1929). Henri encouraged an art that was expressive of personal emotions and experience and that was grounded in life. He preached equality among different media and approaches to art. Giving heed to his teachings, his women students engaged in a wide variety of artistic production. Collectively, the stunning variety and power of their work in painting, sculpture, printmaking, textiles, decorative arts, and furniture broadens our understanding of American modernism and illuminates the role of women artists in shaping it. Yet, these women have remained largely unstudied, and virtually unknown, even among art historians.
The seven new essays included in this volume move beyond the famed Ashcan School-the small group of Henri's male students who worked in a narrow range of urban realist subjects-to recover the lesser known work of his women students. The contributors, who include well-known scholars of art history, American studies, and cultural studies demonstrate how these women participated in the "modernizing" of women's roles during this era; how gender controlled their art, productivity, sales, and reception; how their many styles, media, and subjects enrich our understanding of modern American art; and how the work of modern women artists relates to women's involvement in other areas of modern American society and culture, including labor and social reform, patronage, literature, dance, and music.
Lavishly illustrated and complemented by short biographies of more than 400 of Henri's students, this delightful collection adds a long-ignored but deserving dimension to an expanded story of American modernism and to women's contributions to the arts.
The Marble Faun
Nathaniel Hawthorne Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS1862.A1 2013 | Dewey Decimal 813.3
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun mingles fable with fact in a mysterious tale of American artists liberated from New England mores in Rome. In his introduction, Andrew Delbanco remarks that Hawthorne’s novel is ultimately less about freedom than its costs. It is a book “that invites us to observe people in the grip of guilt, passion, or a naïve faith in God or art, and to watch them seek escape from their fears and doubts as their creed—whatever it is—fails them.” The John Harvard Library edition reproduces the authoritative text of The Marble Faun in The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Since 1959 The John Harvard Library has been instrumental in publishing essential American writings in authoritative editions.
How do students develop a personal style from their instruction in a visual arts program? Women Artists on the Leading Edge explores this question as it describes the emergence of an important group of young women artists from an innovative post-war visual arts program at Douglass College.
The women who studied with avant-garde artists at Douglas were among the first students in the nation to be introduced to performance art, conceptual art, Fluxus, and Pop Art. These young artists were among the first to experience new approaches to artmaking that rejected the predominant style of the 1950s: Abstract Expressionism. The New Art espoused by faculty including Robert Watts, Allan Kaprow, Roy Lichtenstein, Geoffrey Hendricks, and others advocated that art should be based on everyday life. The phrase “anything can be art” was frequently repeated in the creation of Happenings, multi-media installations, and video art. Experimental approaches to methods of creation using a remarkable range of materials were investigated by these young women. Interdisciplinary aspects of the Douglass curriculum became the basis for performances, videos, photography, and constructions. Sculpture was created using new technologies and industrial materials. The Douglass women artists included in this book were among the first to implement the message and direction of their instructors.
Ultimately, the artistic careers of these young women have reflected the successful interaction of students with a cutting-edge faculty. From this BA and MFA program in the Visual Arts emerged women such as Alice Aycock. Rita Myers, Joan Snyder, Mimi Smith, and Jackie Winsor, who went on to become lifelong innovators. Camaraderie was important among the Douglass art students, and many continue to be instructors within a close circle of associates from their college years. Even before the inception of the women’s art movement of the 1970s, these women students were encouraged to pursue professional careers, and to remain independent in their approach to making art. The message of the New Art was to relate one’s art production to life itself and to personal experiences. From these directions emerged a “proto-feminist” art of great originality identified with women’s issues. The legacy of these artists can be found in radical changes in art instruction since the 1950s, the promotion of non-hierarchical approaches to media, and acceptance of conceptual art as a viable art form.