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American Women Artists and the Female Nude Image (1969-1983)

Description: This research surveys ideology and iconology in the presentation of the autobiographical and biographical female nude as envisioned by American women artists in the painting, drawing and printmaking media from 1969 to 1983. Contemporary dialogue by critics, artists and feminists on the definition of feminine content led to the articulation of the undraped nude torso as the central icon of the study. This static icon was pushed through a variety of styles into multi subtleties of iconology. The female nude by women artists is autobiographical even in biography emphasizing self-identification and authenticity. General constraints were placed on the survey the definability or explicit articulation of the female torso as opposed to suggestive imagery, the time frame in which the nude was created, and the chosen media for study. Art historical methodology was employed to descriptively examine image and intent of the nude presentations in references through time as well as visual traditions of symbology. This survey began at the turn of the century for historical background to emphasize the greater proliferation of the nude from 1969 to 1983. There were limitations specifically associated with the earlier time frame (1900-1969)--the lack of art educational opportunities for the female student, the socio-political climate dealing with the acceptability of the nude, and a very general lack of attention from the publishing market towards women artists. Six artists were identified: Lillian Genth, Romaine Brooks, Margarite Zorach, Isobel Bishop, Louise Nevelson and Louise Bourgeois. The coalescence of socio-political circumstances around 1969, allowing for the greater incidence of the female nude occasioned the selection of 1969 as a perimeter of research. Within 19 69-1983 a greater number of artists and a far greater number of works were evident, seventeen in all, including Alice Neel, Marisol, Mary Frank, Nancy Spero, Joan Brown, Sylvia Sleigh, Martha Mayer Erlebacher, ...
Date: August 1986
Creator: McEwin, Florence Rebecca
Partner: UNT Libraries