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In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Linda Nochlin’s foundational essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?,” Rosenberg & Co. is organizing a summer exhibition of modernist women artists working from Cubism to Abstract Expressionism, as the city of cultural fame and capital shifted from Paris to New York. The Swiss painter and interwar American émigré Sonja Sekula said, “I think of all the contemporary American poets and artists who represent their outlook on this strange country and I find myself beginning to realize that I shall be one of them. I shall begin to speak of…a future that we begin to feel underneath the current of war and strife and uncertainty.”
Beginning with the work of Marie Laurencin, and Paul Rosenberg’s historic choice to represent her in 1921, the exhibition will survey the innovations and varying institutional access of artists such Isabel Bishop, Eileen Agar, and Natalia Goncharova, as well as Abstract Expressionist artists such as Charlotte Park, Perle Fine, and Alma Thomas.
Exhibitions of women artists have always been problematic—Georgia O’Keeffe famously refused to participate in Peggy Guggenheim’s Exhibition by 31 Women in 1943. Yet before the Feminist Art Movement, an exhibition showed either no women, a tokenized woman, or only women. All of these are fraught formulations, and as issue-ridden as the all-women show was and is, it has historically given crucial exposure to otherwise undervalued artists. It is with this framing that we pay homage to an imperfect form of great impact. A Future We Begin to Feel will highlight work made before the 1971 publication of Linda Nochlin’s essay, which changed art historical discourses irrevocably.
Nochlin wrote, “using as a vantage point their situation as underdogs in the realm of grandeur, and outsiders in that of ideology, women can reveal institutional and intellectual weaknesses in general, and…take part in the creation of institutions in which clear thought—and true greatness—are challenges open to anyone.”
As artists, galleries, and museums continue to remake aesthetic tradition, Rosenberg & Co. is excited to contribute to a more feminist, nuanced representation of modernist history.
Eileen Agar, Janice Biala, Isabel Bishop, Dorothy Dehner, Perle Fine, Natalia Goncharova, Barbara Hepworth, Marie Laurencin, Blanche Lazzell, Marguerite Louppe, Beatrice Mandelman, Alice Trumbull Mason, Charlotte Park, Alice Rahon, Hilla Rebay, Judith Rothschild, Anne Ryan, Sonja Sekula, Esphyr Slobodkina, Alma Thomas, Yvonne Thomas, and Fahrelnissa Zeid