A Celebration of Women in the Arts: Selections from the Permanent Collection

May 21 - July 24, 2011

Women live in so many roles -- as wife, lover, mother, sister, queen and soldier. In artwork, they have represented beauty, bounty, mayhem, courage and consistency. However, as artists, women have not always received the acclaim awarded to their male counterparts. By the late 19th century, Mary Cassatt entered art school – to the dismay of her parents, who were concerned that she would be influenced by “feminist ideas” or the “bohemian behavior” of male students.  Mary persevered, earning some acclaim with portraits of mother and child, but her work was also devalued as it focused on the female perspective of family, even though the confines of society allowed little else.

The Permanent collection exhibit, Celebrating Women in the Arts, features 55 women artists from the 19th, 20th and 21st century and explores the diversity and evolution of art by women. Mary Nimmo Moran (wife of Thomas Moran) exhibited her etchings as M. Nimmo Moran because of sexual bias. Likewise, at the turn of the century, Claude Raguet Hirst (born Claudine) assumed a male name, to pursue the trompe l’oeil technique which had traditionally reflected a male perspective. The first half of the 20th century also brought about world wars which recruited the men and left the women to carry on…and they did.  Women artists were breaking away from their typical subject matter of children and flowers. Kathe Kollwitz’s work reflected the effects of poverty, hunger and war.  Ethel Magafan, would travel across the country to paint murals for the New Deal Works and abstract landscapes.  By the 1960’s, Alice Neal exhibited striking portraits of political figures, artists, black activists and supporters of the women’s movement. While contemporary artists Carolyn Brady and Janet Fish have selected domestic scenes for their work, their approach is anything but traditional.   


Featured Artists from the Canton Museum of Art Permanent Collection:

Two-Dimensional: Mary Bauermeister, Carolyn Bradley, Carolyn Brady, Fran Bull, Martha Burlingham, Elizabeth Catlett, Betty Woodworth Clark, Diana Coomans, Dorothy Dennison, Wilma Dick, Mabel Dwight, Janet Fish, Georgia Timken Fry, Judi Hertzi, Claude-Raguet Hirst, Hazel Janicki, Linda Kannel, Greta Kempton, Kathe Kollwitz, Barbara Kwasniewska, Ethel Magafan, Marcia Marcus, Maxine Masterfield, Nancy Stewart Matin, Mary Nimmo Moran, Barbara Morrow, Alice Neel, Priscilla Roberts, Kay Sage, Alice Schille, Jeannette Pasin Sloan, Mary Spain, Sharon Sutton, Eugenia Thomas, Pat Vaccaro, Gretchen Wachs, Sue Wall, Beki Williams, Nancy Wissmann-Idrig, and Marguerette Zorach.

Three-Dimensional:  Dorothy Fasig, Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, Majia Grotell, Joan Hang Smith Guthrie, Ann Vaughn Hyatt Huntington, Melinda Ishida-Forster, Ann jeremiah, Karen Karnes, Roberta Laidman, Frances Lehnert, Marilyn Levine, Beverly Maeryi, Jane Goslin Peiser, Tillie Pluto, Joan Rosenberg, Anna Silver, Mary Spain, Susanne Stephenson, Toshiko Takaezu, Gretchen Wachs, and Patti Warashina.


Image Credits:

Claude Raguet Hirst, An Interesting Book, 20x24 ½, Purchased with monies from the Doran Foundation and in Memory of Edward & Rosa Langenbach. 997.1

Janet Fish, Waldoboro, watercolor, 40x51 ½, 2005.8