Monday , May 20 2024
Danger! Women Artists at Work is a delightful walk through history offering an overdue education and appreciation of women artists, just in time for gift-giving.

Book Review: Danger! Women Artists at Work by Debra Mancoff

Danger! Women Artists at Work features more than 60 artists from the early Renaissance to the present day, among them Judith Leyster, Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo and Louise Bourgeois.

The art world of centuries past was run by men, yet women have had a role, sometimes working behind the scenes, in resistance to prevailing attitudes and practices. Yet, women artists have created groundbreaking works, still celebrated today.

Danger! Women Artists at Work celebrates the work of female artists in an era when patrons were slow to show full respect for their work. Although the business of art has long been a male-dominated industry, great art needn’t suffer a gender divide. There are fabulous woman artists, and this full-color, hardcover book shows them at their finest, with the art and artist portrayed side-by-side. This is the perfect holiday gift for any casual or serious art lover.

While 20th century artist’s names may come to mind, such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Louise Bourgeois, the book will surprise you with the intensity of the art world for women artists in the 17th and 18th centuries. By the 19th century women were finally encouraged to cultivate artistic skills. Many were tutored by their fathers or, less often, by their mothers. Even Queen Victoria took art lessons in the mid-1800s, although she is said to have requested the works remain private until after her death.

Danger! Women Artists at Work includes a study of over 60 female artists, many of whom will be new discoveries to the reader, thanks to Ms. Mancoff’s research and analysis of the art scene through the centuries. Her book now documents women’s place in the art world throughout history. Styles and subjects vary and include figures, scenes depict society and commerce, religious works, and nude self-portraits.

Mancoff conveys the effort and hardships endured as women worked to surmount obstacles of getting an art education, finding studios, holding art exhibitions, and taking risks when the “power in the art world rested in the hands of men.”

Danger! Women Artists at Work is a delightful walk through history, and offers an overdue education and appreciation of women artists.

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