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Celebrating women artists and forgetting feminist art histories

by Gabriella Nugent
Articles / Article • 23.03.2023

This seems to be an age of discovery. Many people are surprised to find out that ‘women artists’ or ‘artist-women’ exist. Apparently, they were long forgotten by art history until recently; only they were not. What has been forgotten in public discourse, or perhaps never even acknowledged, is the feminist art histories that started to rehabilitate the work of women artists over fifty years ago.

This year London alone offers much in the way of ‘discovery’: Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940–70 at Whitechapel Gallery (9th February­–7th May 2023) FIG.1 celebrates the practices of the numerous international women artists working with gestural abstraction in the aftermath of the Second World War; Women in Revolt! Art, Activism and the Women’s Movement in the UK 1970–1990 at Tate Britain (8th November 2023–7th April 2024) FIG.2 will offer a major survey of work by over one hundred women artists across a variety of media; and the recent exhibition Making Modernism at the Royal Academy of Arts (12th November 2022–12th February 2023) was dedicated to a selection of women artists working in Germany in the early 1900s, namely Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876–1907), Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945), Gabriele Münter (1877–1962) and Marianne von Werefkin (1860–1938).1 Mainstream publications have followed this trend, with Katy Hessel’s The Story of Art Without Men (2022), a take on Ernst Gombrich’s The Story of Art (1950) told only through women artists, and Phaidon’s second survey book on women artists, Great Women Painters (2022), a follow-up to Great Women Artists (2019).

The contemporary celebration of women artists is not new, but it has picked up speed over the past couple of years as the art world – that is, museums, galleries and the art market – has attempted to become more inclusive. Yet although this world has a current fascination with women artists, it has little time for the complexities of feminist art histories, when it could learn much from them. The alleged celebration of women artists still abides by a masculinist norm that treats them as curios commodified for a mass market. By contrast, this article returns to the emergence of feminist art histories, foregrounding the contemporary erasure of them and the ways that their demands are not being met by mainstream publications and exhibitions.

Feminist art histories

Women artists were first celebrated in an exhibition format in 1976 when Linda Nochlin and Ann Sutherland Harris curated the survey show Women Artists: 1550–1950 at Los Angeles County Museum of Art FIG.3 FIG.4.2 This landmark exhibition was staged five years after Nochlin’s groundbreaking essay ‘Why have there been no great women artists?’, which exploded the myth of male protean creativity and foregrounded the institutional and social obstacles encountered by generations of women artists in Europe and the United States. Nochlin’s work emerged from the women’s liberation movement and her essay appeared at critical moment in time, amid a movement against gender discrimination in museums and galleries ignited by Women Artists in Revolution (1969–71), which grew out of the male-dominated Art Workers Coalition and directed itself to feminist and Black liberation expression and representation.3

In 1986, ten years after Women Artists, Nochlin was invited by Tamar Garb (b.1956), then a PhD student at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, to participate in the first feminist panel at the Association of Art Historians conference in Brighton, with Griselda Pollock (b.1949) and Lisa Tickner (b.1944).4 Prior to this, Pollock co-wrote Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology (1981) with Rozsika Parker (1945–2010). In Old Mistresses – a term borrowed from Elizabeth Broun and Ann Gabhart, who coined it in 1972 to expose the gendered lexicon of art history and the lack of a female equivalent for old master – Parker and Pollock challenged Nochlin’s 1971 essay, arguing that if the obstacles discussed by her had been successful, then there would be no women artists at all.5 On the contrary, women artists have always existed. The question, therefore, was how they worked despite these constraints. Alongside their contemporaries and successors, Garb, Pollock, Parker and Tickner would go on to lead the development of British feminist art history.6

In 1972 Parker joined the newly formed feminist magazine Spare Rib FIG.5 FIG.6, where she worked until 1980 before training as a psychotherapist. In 1973 she met Pollock and together they founded the Women’s Art History Collective.7 As evidenced by Spare Rib and the Women’s Art History Collective, the early years of feminist art history in the United Kingdom were largely self-directed and occurred outside the classroom.8 Many of these women were educated in the 1970s when a cultural femicide had been effected so completely that it could be said ‘woman’ served as the signifier of the non-artist.9 However, this was a fairly recent erasure of about seventy years. Writing about women artists and those in the visual arts had existed since Antiquity, albeit defined by a variety of ideologies.10 These included feminists seeking to show that women deserved emancipation through their contribution to culture, as well as zealots who relegated women to a special category distinct from mainstream cultural activity and ascribed notions of femininity to their work. In Old Mistresses, Parker and Pollock track these writings on women, art and artists to the beginning of the twentieth century, when they suddenly disappear.11 Women artists were written out of the newly hegemonic forms of academic and museum art history when the discipline developed its own formal methods, departing from the biographical approach popularised by Giorgio Vasari (1511–74) in the sixteenth century.12 Prior to this erasure, there were many anthologies, extensive dictionaries and archival documents that named women artists and documented their careers.13

Over the course of several decades, feminist art historians on both sides of the Atlantic would engage in this work of rehabilitation and expose the terms of women’s exclusion from modernist writings of art history.14 Together and individually, Parker and Pollock examined the gendered hierarchy that separated art and craft and served to marginalise women artists.15 In 1987 they co-wrote another book, Framing Feminism: Art and the Women’s Movement, 1970–1985, an edited collection of texts by various feminist writers.16 Nochlin, Pollock and Garb additionally unearthed the work of female Impressionists in the late nineteenth century, such as Berthe Morisot (1841–95), Mary Cassatt (1844–1926), Marie Bracquemond (1840–1916) and Eva Gonzalès (1848–83), who were appreciated by their male contemporaries and critics and subsequently erased from histories of the movement.17 Similar studies emerged on modern, Renaissance and Victorian artists, as well as more broad challenges to the gendered nature of the discipline itself.18

Whereas second-wave feminism in the United States was largely led by white liberal middle-class women, the British Women’s Liberation Movement spanned classes, as it had emerged from the British New Left, specifically socialist and Marxist groups in which women’s issues were dismissed.19 Race and racism were not ignored by either movement, but they were treated as subordinate to gender oppression, leading Black feminists to address the interplay between racism and sexism. In the United Kingdom these decades of feminist art-historical research were coterminous with the British Black Arts Movement. In London the British artist and curator Lubaina Himid (b.1954) organised several groundbreaking exhibitions, including Five Black Women at the Africa Centre (1983), Black Woman Time Now at Battersea Arts Centre (1983) and The Thin Black Line at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (1985) FIG.7, which presented the work of Black and Asian women artists.20 Together with the writer and photographer Maud Sulter (1960–2008), Himid set up Urban Fox Press, and published Passion: Discourses on Blackwomen’s Creativity (1990), which is dedicated to the work of Black women artists and makers.21 In 1993 the painter and art historian Freida High Wasikhongo Tesfagiorgis (b.1946) challenged the white Euro-American frame of early feminist art historiography, calling for a ‘Black feminist art history discourse’ that would ‘prioritise the lives and concerns of Black women artists’.22 Her contemporaries included Tritobia Hayes Benjamin (1944–2014), Sharon F. Patton (b.1944) and Judith Wilson-Pates (b.1952), who, like Tesfagiorgis, worked to reclaim the significance of African American women’s artistic contributions.23

Many of the university departments that these feminist art historians joined had slide collections that featured only the work of white male artists. In vogue was a masculinist, Marxist style of analysis and, although feminist art histories were indebted to Marxism, there was an omission of considerations of gender, among other concerns, from even the most progressive discourses of the time.24 In 1974 T.J. Clark famously called for a social history of art that would dismiss feminism as a ‘cheerful diversification’, the methodology of which he categorised as ‘hot-foot in the pursuit of the new’.25 Today it is impossible to study art history at a tertiary level in the United Kingdom and not engage with the work of women artists. Certainly, the public agendas pushed by museums and galleries have come from somewhere. 

Forgotten women

Returning to Nochlin and Sutherland Harris’s exhibition in 1976, Women Artists offered the model of exhibition-as-corrective, which spurred endless shows produced in its image. It set up the following structure: women artists are forgotten and then, by virtue of being exhibited, are saved from obscurity. Following in its wake, survey shows on women artists continued the same premise, expanding, rather than breaking with, its proposition.26 A much-cited example is the exhibition Global Feminisms at the Brooklyn Museum (2007), which sought to redress the blind spots of Nochlin’s original enquiry in terms of queerness and race, and update it through the expansion of artistic production beyond the West.27

There have been almost fifty years of feminist research and teaching since Women Artists was staged, and yet its model endures today. Action, Gesture, Paint at Whitechapel Gallery is said to exhibit ‘an overlooked generation of 81 international women artists’, but many of these artists were shown and written about during their lifetime or recovered by feminist art histories.28 The American modernists Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) and Lee Krasner (1908–84) have both been the subject of major exhibitions in recent years, and Krasner had a retrospective at Whitechapel in 1965.29 Moreover, these artists were already being taught and studied by the 1980s.30 The Lebanese-American artist Etel Adnan (1925–2021) FIG.8 has attracted widespread attention since being included in the thirteenth edition of documenta (2012), including a recent travelling retrospective at Lenbachhaus, Munich FIG.9, and Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf.31 The Mozambican artist Bertina Lopes (1924–2012) was also the subject of two major exhibitions in Portugal in 1973 and 1979.32 Even the auction industry suggests that these women are not ‘unknown’, with works by Frankenthaler and Krasner selling for millions of pounds in 2020 and those by Adnan for almost half a million in 2022.33 Meanwhile, Making Modernism at the Royal Academy offered visitors the chance to ‘discover the trailblazing women hidden from the history of 20th-century Modernism’, but Kollwitz has long been admired by critics and the public in both Germany and abroad.34 A new monograph on her work was published just last year.35 Finally, Tate Britain’s Women in Revolt! will ‘celebrate the work of women who, frequently working outside mainstream art institutions, were largely left out of artistic narratives of the time’.36 The latter is an extraordinary claim given that the timeframe of the exhibition, 1970–90, is coterminous with second-wave feminism and the establishment of feminist art histories, which themselves emerged outside institutional frameworks.

There is a crisis in the way women artists are presented to the public. Why must they always be sold to audiences as forgotten, erased and rediscovered, even if that is not the case? In 1981 Parker and Pollock challenged Nochlin’s term ‘great women artists’, asking by whom this ‘true greatness’ is defined and with what criteria – the implication being that it abides by a white masculinist norm.37 The very same questions can be asked regarding the trope of the forgotten woman artist. For this narrative conceives of women artists solely in relation to men and always as their disadvantaged Other. In reality, there are more interesting stories to be told.

As this article has sought to suggest, the current celebration of women artists has a problem with forgetting – or, more specifically, with forgetting the work of feminist art histories that have already salvaged many of these artists. In the introduction to The Story of Art Without Men, Hessel states that there is a ‘lack of historians […] (bar some excellent feminist scholars, including Griselda Pollock and Whitney Chadwick)’ championing the work of women artists.38 This alleged absence is simply not true. The author’s notes and bibliography are indebted to much feminist art-historical research, and yet she continues to claim its absence. There is even a chapter on ‘The Era of Feminism’ that makes no mention of feminist art histories.39 Moreover, Hessel’s note of exception plays down the significance of such histories in terms of their complete transformation of the wider discipline of art history. In 1990 Pollock asked, ‘Can art history survive feminism?’, suggesting that the discipline’s classed, raced, gendered and heteronormative representation of art had been fundamentally challenged by the movement.40 In the book’s conclusion, Hessel writes that as the world resets in the wake of COVID-19 and global protest movements, ‘so must art history’ – yet it has done so since the 1970s.41 This is not to say that the work of feminist art histories is complete, but rather that they have been under way and influential for some time.

If feminist art historians in the 1970s could look back to the late nineteenth century and find other feminists writing on women artists, then why is the current era so dogged by forgetfulness? There is today an increasingly financialised and market-led idea of feminism premised on the neoliberal individual. Although second-wave feminism emerged as a critique of capitalism and its dependence on the unwaged work of women, neoliberal feminism has abandoned these collective demands for equal rights and liberation in favour of the pursuit of capital accumulation.42 The Marxist philosopher Rosa Luxemburg (1871–1919) conceived of capital accumulation as being based on the discovery of ‘virgin lands’; that is, non-capitalist societies into which capitalism could expand. Luxemburg argued that capitalism would collapse once all ‘virgin lands’ were conquered and assimilated into the same system. Capitalism has already reached its global dimension, but instead of collapsing apropos Luxemburg, it has now started to produce its own ‘virgin lands’ whereby everything can be commodified. Neoliberal feminism and its celebration of women artists is similarly premised on that which is allegedly novel, and, in order to make these claims of novelty or its pretence, the work of other women must be erased, thus creating its own ‘virgin islands’.43

A feminist methodology

In 1988 Pollock asked: ‘Is adding women to art history the same as producing feminist art history?’.44 In the 1970s a selection of books were published on women artists, including Eleanor Tufts’s Our Hidden Heritage: Five Centuries of Women Artists (1974) and Karen Peterson’s and J.J. Wilson’s Women Artists: Recognition and Reappraisal from the Early Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century (1976).45 These studies were defined by an overemphasis on the individual biographies of women artists at the expense of a serious consideration of their work and an integration of these artists into mainstream styles.46 On the contrary, Parker and Pollock argued that a feminist methodology must situate women artists in history, specifically the gender-defined differences that they navigated, and engage a visual analysis of art by women in relation to their historical period.47 Rather than integrating women artists into art history, a feminist methodology allows art by women to not only transform conceptions of visual art and the methods of the discipline, but also to alter understandings of the past and present.48

As it has been over forty years since the publication of Old Mistresses, it seems necessary to incite this discussion again given the newfound attention on women artists. The calls of feminist art histories have not been heeded. The problem with studies like those by Tufts and Peterson and Wilson is that they left art history intact, with the simple addition of examples of women artists. This phenomenon continues today with Hessel’s The Story of Art Without Men, which adopts the same biographical method as Vasari’s Lives of The Artists (1550).49 Given that feminist art histories had sought to implode the discipline, it seems strange to deploy an emergent and now antiquated form of art history as a way to discuss women artists. Feminism also challenged the idea of a single story told from any one perspective apropos Gombrich’s The Story of Art, and yet Hessel reproduces that exactly, from a Western viewpoint and at a time when calls to decentre art history are being answered.50 On the rare occasion that the author mentions women artists beyond a Eurocentric matrix, their work simply feeds into a Western art history rather than fundamentally altering it as a decolonial approach would demand.

Finally, the issue with the biographical method is that it treats works of art as evidence of the artist and – inadvertently – the contemporary concerns of the author. No case is made for the work itself. Discussing the Japanese artist Katsushika Ōi (c.1800–66), one of the few non-Euro-American artists in the book, Hessel writes that ‘her bold subject matter also reveals a great skill for storytelling and, in particular, women-led narratives shown through a distinctly female lens’.51 Deprived of any context in the Edo period (1603–1867), the latter is an ahistorical claim given that courtesans were a popular subject-matter at this time for Japanese artists in general. Here, the difference between art by women and politically feminist art is collapsed. Beyond the artist’s gender, what exactly about Ōi’s work is so ‘distinctly female’ provided that feminists did not take this construct as a given? Discussing Ōi’s Girl composing a poem under cherry tree blossoms in the night (c.1850), Hessel writes: ‘the work reminds me of the limitations faced by women writers and artists, not just in Japan, but across the globe’.52 This comment does not come from the image itself, which has been silenced, but rather the author’s own twenty-first century projections. Writing about women artists does not a feminist methodology make.

The Whitechapel exhibition offers another opportunity to test out these concerns. Staged in the wake of the Royal Academy’s 2016 exhibition Abstract Expressionism, which conceived of the movement largely through male artists, Action, Gesture, Paint foregrounds the significance of women artists in the making of abstraction. The exhibition’s central claim is emphasised by the sheer quantity of work included in the show – 150 paintings by eighty-one artists – but it does not venture beyond this thesis.53 The works are grouped thematically by formal concerns. History has been completely evacuated. The selected artists were dispersed around the globe, each with their own unique set of considerations. Bearing this in mind, the exhibition does not elaborate on why any of them turned to abstraction. In a show of spectacular work, they are made immemorable by this lack of critical context, keeping ‘forgotten’ women forgotten.

A key example of this mode of forgetting in the exhibition is the artist Bertina Lopes, who left Mozambique in 1964 to study in Lisbon and subsequently Rome, where she lived out the majority of her life. Her work is situated in a corner upstairs FIG.10 between that of the Scottish artist Margaret Mellis (1914–2009), who lived mostly in Cornwall, and the Chinese-American artist Chinyee (b. 1929), who left Nanjing in 1974 to study in New York. Nancy Dantas has written on Lopes’s abstraction in the context of the oppression and violence of Portuguese colonial rule in the 1960s, whereas the juxtapositions set up by the exhibition do not provide any contextualisation.54 The only historical event acknowledged by Action, Gesture, Paint is the Second World War.55 The exhibition opens with a large-scale work by Frankenthaler FIG.11, creating the narrative that the work of these global women stems from American models of abstraction, but, wherever women artists learnt abstraction, they made this language into their own. Art for Lopes, Dantas argues, was part of identity formation, combining both African and European iconography.56 If feminism is an intervention against art history, then why must an exhibition coined in its name perpetuate the Eurocentric norms of the discipline?

Nochlin once wrote, ‘Feminist art history is there to make trouble’.57 If feminist art histories are the condition of possibility for the current upsurge in mainstream publications and exhibitions celebrating women artists, then one must know where they come from in order to know where they are going. Let trouble be made.


About the author

Gabriella Nugent

is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of Art History and World Art Studies at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. She is the author of Colonial Legacies: Contemporary Lens-Based Art and the Democratic Republic of Congo (2021) and Inji Efflatoun and the Mexican Muralists: Imaging Women and Work between Egypt and Mexico (2022). Her current book project explores expectations of difference in a global contemporary art world.


  • See L. Smith, ed.: exh. cat. Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940–70, London (Whitechapel Gallery) 2022; and D. Price: Making Modernism: Paula Modersohn-Becker, Käthe Kollwitz, Gabriele Münter and Marianne Werefkin, London (Royal Academy of Arts) 2022, reviewed by Christian Weikop in THE BURLINGTON MAGAZINE 165 (2023), pp.170–73. footnote 1
  • See A. Sutherland Harris and L. Nochlin: exh. cat. Women Artists 1550–1950, Los Angeles (County Museum of Art), Austin (University Art Museum), Pittsburgh (Carnegie Museum of Art) and New York (Brooklyn Museum) 1976–77. footnote 2
  • See L. Lippard et al.: A Documentary HerStory of Women Artists in Revolution, New York 1971. footnote 3
  • See T. Garb: ‘Remembering Linda Nochlin’, Art Bulletin 99 (2017), pp.8–9, esp. p.8. footnote 4
  • E. Broun and A. Gabhart: Old Mistresses: Women Artists of the Past, Baltimore 1972; R. Parker and G. Pollock: Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology, London 1981. Old Mistresses was co-written from 1975 onwards. It was originally supposed to be published in 1979, but due to the bankruptcy of the original publisher, it did not appear until 1981. See H. Robinson: ‘The early work of Griselda Pollock in the context of developing feminist thinking in art history and criticism’, Journal of Visual and Cultural Studies 7 (2017), pp.19–50. footnote 5
  • In 1977 Tickner presented her paper ‘The body politic: female sexuality and women artists since 1970’ at the AAH conference. It was published in the second issue of the newly formed journal Art History. See L. Tickner: ‘The body politic: female sexuality and women artists since 1970’, Art History 1 (June 1978), pp.236–51. footnote 6
  • On the aims of the collective, see G. Pollock: ‘Opened, closed and opening: reflections on feminist pedagogy in a UK university’, n.paradoxa 26 (2010), pp.20–28, esp. pp.21–22. footnote 7
  • The British context offers a comparison to the United States, where Nochlin’s art-historical writing was first tested in the classroom. footnote 8
  • G. Pollock: ‘Countering memory loss through misinterpretation: what does she think feminist art history is?’, Journal of Art Historiography 8 (2013), pp.1–15, at p.9. footnote 9
  • Ibid., p.14. footnote 10
  • Parker and Pollock, op. cit. (note 5), pp.14–45. footnote 11
  • See G. Vasari: The Lives of the Artists, transl. J.C. Bondanella and P. Bondanella, Oxford 2008; and H. Wöfflin: Principles of Art History: The Problem of the Development of Style in Early Modern Art, transl. J. Blower, Los Angeles 2015. Wölfflin famously envisioned an ‘art history without names’. This approach had more to do with this idea of a collective cultural mindset than an anti-canonical orientation as advocated by Alois Riegl and Walter Benjamin. footnote 12
  • Pollock, op. cit. (note 9), pp.5–6. footnote 13
  • In the 1980s there was a split in feminist art history between two generations, the first being an American-centrist generation active in the academy and the second being a British generation that emerged in the 1970s and advocated a deconstructive approach. See T. Gouma-Peterson and P. Matthews: ‘The feminist critique of art history’, Art Bulletin 69 (September 1987), pp.326–57. By 1990 British feminist art history was revered by its American counterpart. See C. Zemel: ‘Vision and difference: femininity, feminism and the histories of art’, Art Bulletin 72 (June 1990), pp.336­–41, at p.337. footnote 14
  • Parker and Pollock, op. cit. (note 5), pp.50–81; and R. Parker: The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine, London 1984. footnote 15
  • R. Parker and G. Pollock: Framing Feminism: Art and the Women’s Movement 1970–85, London 1987. footnote 16
  • See G. Pollock: Mary Cassatt, New York 1980; G. Pollock: Vision and Difference: Feminism, Femininity and Histories, London 1988; L. Nochlin: Women, Art, and Power and Other Essays, New York 1988; and T. Garb: Sisters of the Brush: Women’s Artistic Culture in Late Nineteenth-Century Paris, New Haven 1994. footnote 17
  • See, for example, W. Chadwick: Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement, New York 1985; L. Tickner: The Spectacle of Women: Imagery of the Suffrage Campaign, 1907–14, London 1987; M.D. Gerrard: Artemisia Gentileschi: The Image of the Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art, Princeton 1989; D. Cherry: Painting Women: Victorian Women Artists, London 1993; W. Chadwick: Women, Art, and Society, New York 1990; and L. Nead: The Female Nude: Art, Obscenity and Sexuality, London 1992. footnote 18
  • See F. Binard: ‘The British Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1970s: redefining the personal and political’, Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique (2017), footnote 19
  • See L. Himid: exh. cat. The Thin Black Line, London (Institute of Contemporary Arts) 1985. footnote 20
  • M. Sulter, ed.: Passion: Discourses on Blackwomen’s Creativity, Hebden Bridge 1990. footnote 21
  • F.H.W. Tesfagiorgis: ‘In search of a discourse and critique/s that center the art of black women artists’, in A.P.A. Busia, J. Cole and S.M. James, eds: Theorizing Black Feminisms: The Visionary Pragmatism of Black Women, New York 1993, pp.228–66, at p.228. footnote 22
  • See J. Wilson: ‘Barbara Chase Riboud: sculpting our history’, Essence (December 1979), pp.12–13; F.H.W. Tesfagiorgis: ‘Afrofemcentrism and its fruition in the art of Elizabeth Catlett and Faith Ringgold (a view of women by women)’, Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women 4 (1987), pp.25–32; J. Wilson: ‘Down the crossroads: the art of Allison Saar’, Callaloo 14 (1991), pp.107–23; J. Wilson: ‘In memory of the news and our selves: the art of Adrian Piper’, Third Text 5 (1991), pp.39–64; T.H. Benjamin: The Life and Art of Loïs Mailou Jones, San Francisco 1994; J. Wilson, ‘Beauty rites: toward an anatomy of culture in African American women’s art’, International Review of African American Art 11 (1994), pp.11–17 and 47–55; S. Patton: ‘Living fearlessly with and within difference(s): Emma Amos, Carol Ann Carter, and Martha Jackson-Jarvis’, in D.C. Driskell, ed.: African American Visual Aesthetics: A Postmodernist View, Washington 1996, pp.45–78; and S. Patton: African-American Art, Oxford 1998. footnote 23
  • Pollock famously critiques Clark’s masculinist Marxism in chapters 2, 3 and 7 of Vision and Difference (1988), Pollock 1988, op. cit. (note 17). footnote 24
  • T.J. Clark: ‘On the conditions of artistic creation’, Times Literary Supplement (24th May 1974), pp.561–62, at p.562. footnote 25
  • Chloe Julius makes a similar argument while discussing the celebration of women artists in 2019. See C. Julius: ‘“Sixty Years”, Tate Britain, London, April 2019 – present; “100% Women”, Richard Saltoun, London, March 2019 – February 2020’, Object 21 (2020), pp.71–73, at p.72. footnote 26
  • M. Reilly: ‘Introduction: towards transnational feminisms’, in idem and L. Nochlin, eds: Global Feminisms: New Directions in Contemporary Art, London and New York 2007, pp.14–45, at p.17. The 1990s had seen the globalisation of the art world with its expansion through biennials beyond a Eurocentric matrix. Some of the artists foregrounded by these biennials, such as Michèle Magema at Senegal’s Dak’Art in 2004, were then included in Global Feminisms. See G. Nugent: Colonial Legacies: Contemporary Lens-Based Art and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Leuven 2021, pp.49–84. footnote 27
  • ‘Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940–70’, Whitechapel Gallery, available at, accessed 14th February 2023. footnote 28
  • See L. Krasner: Lee Krasner: Paintings, Drawings and Collages, London (Whitechapel Gallery) 1965; see also E. Nairne, ed.: exh. cat. Lee Krasner: Living Colour, London (Barbican Art Gallery) 2019; and J. Findlay: Helen Frankenthaler: Radical Beauty, London (Dulwich Picture Gallery) 2023, reviewed by Alison Rowley in Burlington Contemporary (10th November 2021), available at, accessed 23rd March 2023. footnote 29
  • In Vision and Difference (1988), Pollock describes teaching a class on Abstract Expressionism through the case study of Helen Frankenthaler, Pollock 1988, op. cit. (note 17), pp.28–29. See also M. Tucker: Lee Krasner: Large Paintings, New York 1973; and B. Rose, Lee Krasner: A Retrospective, Houston and New York 1983. footnote 30
  • Reviewed by Talia Kwartler in THE BURLINGTON MAGAZINE 165 (2023), pp.199–201. footnote 31
  • N. Dantas: ‘Tribute and the modernist constellations of Bertina Lopes’, post: notes on art in a global context (21st November 2021), available at, accessed 14th February 2023. footnote 32
  • In June 2020, Sotheby’s, New York, sold Lee Kraser’s Re-Echo (1957) for $9 million and Frankenthaler’s Royal Fireworks for $7.9 million. In October 2022, Sotheby’s, London, sold Etel Adnan’s California (1970) for £403,200. footnote 33
  • ‘Making Modernism’, Royal Academy of Arts, available at, accessed 14th February 2023. Kollwitz’s woodcuts found traction among Chinese artists with the onset of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–45), see A. Smedley: ‘Chinese woodcuts 1935–49’, The Massachusetts Review 25 (1984), pp.553–62. footnote 34
  • See H. Fischer, ed.: Käthe Kollwitz: A Survey of Her Work 1867–1945, Munich 2021. footnote 35
  • ‘Women in Revolt!’, Tate Modern, available at, accessed 14th February 2023. footnote 36
  • Parker and Pollock, op. cit. (note 5), p.49. Jo Applin has discussed the persistence of Nochlin’s question around ‘great artists’ and its tiredness after fifty years, see J. Applin: ‘I hope it hurt’, London Review of Books 43 (4th November 2021), available at, accessed 14th February 2023. footnote 37
  • K. Hessel: The Story of Art Without Men, London 2022, p.16–17. footnote 38
  • Ibid., pp.328–54. footnote 39
  • G. Pollock: ‘Can art history survive feminism’ [keynote address], College Art Association conference, New York 1990. footnote 40
  • Hessel, op. cit. (note 38), p.459. footnote 41
  • See S. Federici: Wages Against Housework, Bristol 1975; N. Fraser: ‘Feminism, capitalism and the cunning of history’, New Left Review 56 (2009), pp.97–117; C. Rottenberg, The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism, Oxford 2018. footnote 42
  • R. Luxemburg: The Accumulation of Capital, transl. A. Schwarzschild, London 1951. footnote 43
  • Pollock 1988, op. cit. (note 17), p.1. footnote 44
  • E. Tufts: Our Hidden Heritage: Five Centuries of Women Artists, New York and London 1974; and K. Peterson and J.J. Wilson: Women Artists: Recognition and Reappraisal, from the Early Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century, New York and London 1976. footnote 45
  • Parker and Pollock, op. cit. (note 5), pp.xix and 45–47. footnote 46
  • Ibid., p.48. footnote 47
  • Paraphrased from Pollock 1988, op. cit. (note 17), p.36. footnote 48
  • Pollock has similarly discussed the return of biography in monographic shows on women artists, see G. Pollock: ‘Women artists: the belated craze for blockbuster shows is welcome but not enough’, The Conversation (20th September 2022), available at, accessed 14th February 2023. footnote 49
  • Since 2020 surveys of decolonisation have been published in some of art history’s foremost journals. See C. Grant and D. Price: ‘Decolonizing art history’, Art History 43 (January 2020), pp.8–66; and H. Copeland, H. Foster, D. Joselit and P.M. Lee: ‘A questionnaire on decolonisation’, October 174 (Fall 2020), pp.3–125. footnote 50
  • Hessel, op. cit. (note 38), at. p.82. footnote 51
  • Ibid., p.84. footnote 52
  • Pollock herself may disagree as she contributed to the exhibition’s catalogue. See L. Smith, ed.: Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940–1970, London 2023. footnote 53
  • See N. Dantas: ‘Bertina Lopes: a militant with a brush’, Revista de Comunicação e Linguagens 54 (2021), pp.215–34. footnote 54
  • Hannah Feldman has famously argued against the Second World War as a normative marker, asserting that the expression ‘postwar’ is misleading given that violence and wars continued in Europe’s colonies after 1945. See H. Feldman: From a Nation Torn: Decolonising Art and Representation in France, 1945–1962, Durham 2014. footnote 55
  • Dantas, op. cit. (note 54). footnote 56
  • L. Nochlin: ‘“Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” thirty years after’, in M. Reilly, ed.: Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader, London 2015, pp.311–21, at p.320. footnote 57

See also

Petra Bauer and SCOT-PEP’s ‘Workers!’: renewing the aesthetics and politics of 1970s feminism
Petra Bauer and SCOT-PEP’s ‘Workers!’: renewing the aesthetics and politics of 1970s feminism

Petra Bauer and SCOT-PEP’s ‘Workers!’: renewing the aesthetics and politics of 1970s feminism

by Victoria Horne • Journal article

Feminism, art and revolution
Feminism, art and revolution

Feminism, art and revolution

30.04.2021 • Reviews / Books

A Time of One’s Own
A Time of One’s Own

A Time of One’s Own

17.11.2022 • Reviews / Books

Helen Frankenthaler: Radical Beauty
Helen Frankenthaler: Radical Beauty

Helen Frankenthaler: Radical Beauty

10.11.2021 • Reviews / Exhibition