Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Woman's Touch: The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA)

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington D.C. offers the single most important collection of art by women artists. The NMWA is solely dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. NMWA was incorporated in 1981 by Wallace and Wilhelmina Cole Holladay. Since the museum's opening in 1987, NMWA has acquired a collection of more than 3,500 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and decorative art.

The museum's collection of about 1,000 women artists represent every major artistic period from 16th-century Dutch and Flemish still lifes to 20th-century abstract expressionism to postmodern art.

Left image: Artist: Alice Bailly (1872-1938), "Self-Portrait," 1917, oil on canvas, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

Right image: Artist: Lilla Cabot Perry (1848-1933), "Lady With a Bowl of Violets," c.1910, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

The following GREAT MUSEUMS video reflects on a range of topics--how women artists have been overshadowed in art history to feminism and the French Revolution to the memorable feminine artistic expressions of the late 19th century.

The video gives a good sampling of what's inside the National Museum of Women in the Arts. You'll hear from the founder and chair of the Board of the NMWA, Wilhelmina Cole Holladay. Since her discovery that female artists have historically been omitted from art history books, Wilhelmina Cole Holladay has made it her mission to shine the light on and celebrate the accomplishments of women artists from the past to the present. The museum's ongoing programs integrate themes of history and diversity with art being the great common denominator.

Video titled: A Woman's Touch: The National Museum of Women in the Arts from GreatMuseums

Choose the FULL SCREEN VIEW setting (click on "4 arrows" icon) to get the best view of the paintings and sculpture on the video.

The women artists, brief histories, and titled artwork discussed in the video are the listed:

  • Clara Peeters (1594-1657), Flemish painter. "Still Life of Fish and Cat"
  • Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614), Italian painter. "Portrait of a Noblewoman" (c.1580)
  • Sofonisba Anguissola (also spelled Anguisciola) (c. 1535-1625), Italian painter of the Renaissance. "Portrait of a Lady and Her Daughter"
  • Elisabetta Sirani (1638-1665), Italian Baroque painter, whose father was Giovanni Andrea Sirani of the School of Bologna. "Virgin and Child" (1663)
  • Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), naturalist, scientific illustrator and painter; born in Frankfurt, Germany into the family of notable Swiss engraver Matthäus Merian. Paintings include "Pineapple" and "Spiders, Ants and Hummingbird"
  • Marianne Loir (1715-1769). "Portrait of Madame Geoffrin"
  • Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842), French, recognized as most famous woman painter of 18th Century. Shown artwork include: "Madame Thérèse Vestris" (1803). "Studies from her Sketchbook" (c.1801). "Portrait of Princess Belozersky" (1798). "Portrait of a Young Boy" (1817).
  • Adélaide Labille-Guiard (1749-1803), French portrait painter. "Portrait of the Marquise de Lafayette"
  • Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807), Swiss-Austrian Neoclassical painter. "Cumaean Sibyl" (c. 1763). "Family of the Earl of Gower" (1772).
  • Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938), French painter, born Marie-Clémentine Valadon; first woman painter admitted to Société Nationale des Beaux Arts; mother of painter Maurice Utrillo. "The Abandoned Doll" (1921). "Bouquet of Flowers" (1920).
  • Camille Claudel (1864-1943), French sculptor and graphic artist. "Young Girl With a Sheaf" (c. 1890).
  • Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), American painter and printmaker who lived most of her adult life in France and exhibited with the Impressionists. "The Bath" (1891).
  • Lilla Cabot Perry (1848-1933), American painter who worked in the Impressionistic style. "Lady With a Bowl of Violets" (c. 1910).
  • Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986), major American artist. "Alligator Pears in a Basket" (1921).
  • Joan Mitchell (1925-1992), American abstract expressionist painter. "Salle Neige" (1980).
  • Grace Hartigan (1922-2008), American abstract expressionist painter. "December Second" (1959). "Lady of Milan" (1985).
  • Alice Neel (1900-1984), American artist. "T.B. Harlem" (1940).
  • Audrey Flack (b. 1931), American photo-realist painter, printmaker, sculptor. "Hannah: Who She Is" (1982).
  • Lorrie Goulet, American sculptor.
  • Alice Bailly (1872-1938), Swiss painter, known for her interpretation of Cubism and multimedia "wool" paintings. "Self-Portrait" (1917).
  • Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), Mexican painter; married to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. "Self-Portrait, Dedicated to Leon Trotsky" (1937).

More information: current exhibits and programs at National Museum of Women in the Arts official site.

Q & A (January 23, 2009) with Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, the author of A Museum of Their Own, National Museum of Women in the Arts, a lively account of how she founded the museum, which opened in 1987 in Washington, D.C. on Smart Woman Online

To see all my video posts about other artists on Art Bytes

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