While in New York recently, Stan Mabry, a fine arts dealer, did a double take. He saw a painting that he had known of for many years, but only as the centerpiece among many works of art in a black-and-white photo of a Paris studio in the 1890s.
An exhibition in 1876 at Paul Durand-Ruel’s gallery in Paris drew ridicule from art critic Albert Wolff, who warned readers of Le Figaro: “Here five or six lunatics, one of whom is a woman . . . have gotten together to work. These self-styled artists call themselves ‘Impressionists.’ ”
As the cultural tides seem finally to be lifting women artists into prominence on par with their male counterparts, more and more are emerging into public view. Several museums and galleries are presenting women artist- Hawthorne Fine Art focused shows, and one of these is at Hawthorne Fine Art in New York, where you can find the selling exhibition Breaking All Bounds: American Women Artists (1825–1945).
Victorian-era womanhood typically conjures images of ever-decorous ladies in bustles and dainty gloves. Lesser known are the women who pushed boundaries and flouted traditional roles—some through political activism or professional pursuits, others by simply living their lives as they desired.