Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?
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Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? book
Women artists are more inward-looking, more delicate and nuanced in their treatment of their medium, it may be asserted. The women in the Women's Modeling Class at the Pennsylvania Academy were evidently not allowed even this modest privilege. A photograph by Thomas Eakins of about 1885 reveals these students modeling from a cow, a naked cow to be sure, perhaps a daring liberty when one considers that even piano legs might be concealed beneath pantalettes during this era. It would be interesting to investigate the role of benign, if not outright encouraging, fathers in the formation of women professionals: both Kathe Kollwitz and Barbara Hepworth, for example, recall the influence of unusually sympathetic and supportive fathers on their artistic pursuits. The existence of a tiny band of successful, if not great, women artists throughout history does nothing to gainsay this fact, any more than does the existence of few superstars or token achievers among the members of any minority groups.