A Survey of Women Artists Working in California, 1860-1960

Maine Antique Digest Review

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“Emerging” reviewed in the July 2016 edition of the Maine Antique Digest

“This series should have a lasting impact on the recognition and understanding of the contributions of women artists everywhere.”

Here is the text from their review:

Emerging from the Shadows: A Survey of Women Artists Working in California, 1860-1960 by Maurine St. Gaudens (Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2015, 1341 pp. in four volumes, hardbound, $59.99 plus S/H for each volume from Schiffer Publishing, [www. schifferbooks.com] or [610] 593-1777).

These four volumes present 320 women artists who lived, worked, or studied for at least 15 years in California between 1860 and 1960. The research undertaken to complete these books was a “journey of discovery” for the editor, an art conservator, and for the researchers and writers who contributed the biographies. Many of the artists are largely unknown, but they are featured side by side with better-known artists. Inaccuracies of names, dates, etc. were corrected through research using original documentation found in libraries, newspaper archives, and art collection and art school websites, as well as by talking with family members who filled in gaps.

These books do much to elevate and celebrate women artists. Why so many of these artists have gone largely unnoticed is discussed in an essay that touches on the social status and societal views of women. Sometimes women moved, changed their names, or went missing from the art world.

Photographs of some of the artists are included. Full-color examples of each artist’s work were chosen based on how they represented the artist’s oeuvre. Photographs of signatures as they appear on artworks are included.

What you will find are well-traveled and educated women who also taught, studied, and worked diligently at their art; who married, divorced, perhaps remarried, or remained single; and who raised families or lived with family or lived alone. What is extraordinary is not just the breadth of women and their experiences but the depth and breadth of their work, which ranges from the realism of the 19th century to the Modernism of the 20th century and represents many of the “schools” and “isms” that influenced artists across the world. Many worked under the Works Progress Administration.

This publication is to be celebrated, as it celebrates women artists who worked in California and brings them out of the shadows and puts them together in one place for easy discovery and research. It is the editor’s hope that this will bring other artists into the light. Each volume has a complete index for all four volumes, which are divided into four fairly equal sizes alphabetically. This series should have a lasting impact on the recognition and understanding of the contributions of women artists everywhere.

View a PDF here: Maine Antique Digest Book Review of “Emerging from the Shadows”