Central to Their Lives
Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection
In Central to Their Lives, twenty-six noted art historians offer scholarly insight into the achievements of female artists working in and inspired by the American South. Spanning the decades between the late 1890s and early 1960s, this volume examines the complex challenges these artists faced in a traditionally conservative region during a period in which women's social, cultural, and political roles were being redefined and reinterpreted.
The presentation—and its companion exhibition—features artists from all of the Southern states, including Dusti Bongé, Anne Goldthwaite, Anna Hyatt Huntington, Ida Kohlmeyer, Loïs Mailou Jones, Alma Thomas, and Helen Turner. These essays examine how the variables of historical gender norms, educational barriers, race, regionalism, sisterhood, suffrage, and modernism mitigated and motivated these women who were seeking expression on canvas or in clay. Whether working from studio space, in spare rooms at home, or on the world stage, these artists made remarkable contributions to the art world while fostering future generations of artists through instruction, incorporating new aesthetics into the fine arts, and challenging the status quo.
Sylvia Yount, the Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, provides a foreword to the volume.
"Central to Their Lives marks a turning point in the history of Southern art. One of its appendices, the "Directory of Southern Women Artists" alone makes the volume necessary, even indispensable, for anyone studying the region and its place in the nation's visual culture. But this work achieves so much more: no longer will it be possible to ignore, to neglect, or to co-opt the artistry of women or to spurn the region as a cultural wasteland. Hereafter, the South, with its glories and imperfections, is no longer the province of a sole gender."—William Underwood Eiland, director, Georgia Museum of Art
Other Titles by Sylvia Yount
Other Titles from Non Series