Women on the Side

Rebecca West

"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute." - Rebecca West in "Mr Chesterton in Hysterics: A Study in Prejudice," The Clarion, November 14, 1913

Rebecca West











Mother and Child
"I consider women writers, lawyers and politicians as monsters and nothing but five-legged calves. The woman artist is merely ridiculous, but I am in favor of the female singer and dancer." - Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Women Bathing
Mary Cassatt, Mother and Child, c. 1905.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Bathers, 1887.











Cover of Catalog for Women's Building at the World's Columbian Exposition 1893











Mary Cassatt, Primitive Woman mural, 1893.
Mary Cassatt, Modern Woman mural, 1893.











Modern Woman mural

Mary Cassatt, Modern Woman, Mural for World's Columbian Exposition, 1893.





















In the transition from the old guard to the avant-garde,
women artists played active roles as they challenged the limits of tradition


The Abandoned Doll

Suzanne Valadon, The Abandoned Doll, 1921.











Characteristics of 20th century art are
the characteristics of the century itself:


Rapid change
Several broad tendencies mark modern art:
  • Tendency towards abstraction
  • Tendency to emphasize physical process involved in creation of the work
  • Continual questioning of the nature of art
Gabriele Münter, Boating, 1910.











Vassily Kandinsky, Composition VIII, 1923.











Historical Context

First Miss America

Freud publishes "The Interpretation of Dreams"
Wright brother's first flight
Einstein formulates theory of relativity

Swimmer Annette Kellerman is arrested for indecent exposure while trying to popularize a one-piece swimsuit worn with tights rather than bloomers

Titanic sinks
Henry Ford's Model-T plant opens
Eighteenth Amendment makes sale, manufacture, and transportation of intoxicating liquors illegal
Nineteenth Amendment gives women gain the right to vote in the United States

First Miss America pageant

Norma Smallwood, Miss America 1926, makes $100,000 in appearance fees, an income higher than either Babe Ruth or the president of the United States.
Margaret Gorman,
the First Miss America











The Boat and the Town

Some of the "Isms" of Modern Art
Abstract Expressionism
Alexandra Exter, The Boat and the Town, 1925.










In the Garden

Expressionism =
1. general term for art that emphasizes inner feelings and emotions over objective depiction
2. a modernist art movement that was a manifestation of subjective feeling toward objective reality and the world of imagination. Characterized by bold, vigorous brushwork, emphatic line, and bright color.
Paula Modersohn-Becker, Alte Armenhäuslerin in the Garden, 1906.











Jawlensky and Werefkin

Characteristics of Expressionism:
Desire to express personal attitudes and emotions
  • Vivid imagery
  • Simplified shapes
  • Dramatic use of color
  • Bold, sometimes crude brushwork
  • Sense of liberation and experimentation
impasto = painting technique in which paint is applied thickley and in a manner that draws attention to the gesture
Gabriele Münter, Jawlensky and Werefkin, 1908 - 1909.











Self-Portrait at Spinet

Self Portrait with Amber Necklace
Sofonisba Anguissola, Self-portrait, 1561.
Paula Modersohn-Becker, Self-Portrait with Amber Necklace, 1906.











Expressionist characteristics in Becker's work:
  • Vivid imagery
  • Simplified shapes
  • Dramatic use of color
  • Bold, sometimes crude brushwork
  • Sense of liberation and experimentation
Paula Modersohn-Becker, Mother and Child Lying Nude, 1907.











Neeling Mother and Child

Paula Modersohn-Becker, Kneeling Mother and Child, 1907.