Historically, major women artists have been excluded from the mainstream art canon. Aligned with the resurgence of feminism in pop culture, Broad Strokes offers an entertaining corrective to that omission. Art historian Bridget Quinn delves into the lives and careers of 15 female artists from around the globe in text that's smart, feisty, educational, and an enjoyable read. Replete with beautiful reproductions of the artists' works and contemporary portraits of each artist by renowned illustrator Lisa Congdon, this is art history from the Renaissance to Abstract Expressionism for the modern art lover, reader, and feminist.
In her entertaining and accessible debut, Quinn mixes biography, art history, and women's studies to shed light on 16 women artists. As a college student assigned to read H.W. Janson's History of Art, Quinn was disturbed to find no discussion of women artists in the first 500 pages; in total, only 16 women were listed as artists. A professor wryly noted to Quinn, "You've got the new edition! Our version didn't have a single woman in it with her clothes on." Covering the same number of women artists as appeared in Janson's work, Quinn skillfully examines the lives of an eclectic group of artists and the treatment of their work over time, mixing in comments from art historians and her own personal anecdotes. The selection of artists dates back to the early 17th century (Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi), but the book focuses on major figures in contemporary American culture (e.g., Ruth Asawa, Kara Walker, Susan O'Malley). The color reproductions add to this book's appeal, giving readers a chance to appreciate the artists' work as well as Quinn's upbeat writing. Color illus.