Impressionism a Feminist Reading

Norma Broude, Author Rizzoli International Publications $40 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8478-1397-1
In its own day, impressionism was described as a ``feminine'' style of painting, admired or disliked for its fluid brushwork, its emotional, subjective engagement with nature. But male 20th-century critics, according to Broude, ``regendered'' impressionism as ``masculine'' by interpreting it as a cool, detached art of optical realism largely devoid of feeling or content. Broude, art historian at the American University in Washington, D.C., views the impressionists as the direct heirs to the romantics in their desire to communicate their emotional experience and in their rebellion against a scientific establishment that assumed a ``masculine'' mantle of objectivity and reason. A weakness in her argument is that she omits extended discussion of recent scholarship that puts impressionism in a social and political context. Nevertheless, this meticulously argued, resplendently illustrated study gives us a new way of looking at the impressionist enterprise. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-06-430232-6
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