Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History in That Order

Bridget Quinn, illus. by Lisa Congdon. Chronicle, $29.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-4521-5236-3
In her entertaining and accessible debut, Quinn mixes biography, art history, and women’s studies to shed light on 16 women artists. As a college student assigned to read H.W. Janson’s History of Art, Quinn was disturbed to find no discussion of women artists in the first 500 pages; in total, only 16 women were listed as artists. A professor wryly noted to Quinn, “You’ve got the new edition! Our version didn’t have a single woman in it with her clothes on.” Covering the same number of women artists as appeared in Janson’s work, Quinn skillfully examines the lives of an eclectic group of artists and the treatment of their work over time, mixing in comments from art historians and her own personal anecdotes. The selection of artists dates back to the early 17th century (Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi), but the book focuses on major figures in contemporary American culture (e.g., Ruth Asawa, Kara Walker, Susan O’Malley). The color reproductions add to this book’s appeal, giving readers a chance to appreciate the artists’ work as well as Quinn’s upbeat writing. Color illus. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/06/2017
Release date: 02/28/2017
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