Monday, December 13, 2010

The Unrecognized Artists...

Last week's blog was about the modern day influences of the Hudson River School - a pastoral art movement of the mid-19th century.

The movement included names such as Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church and Albert Bierstadt. What you don't hear about - even in Wikipedia - are the names of the women artists in the movement. The question is: why not?

The answer is reminiscent of the same circumstances that surrounded the women Impressionists artists. (Archives: Morisot - Jan. 2010).Women were excluded from the academies and did not have access to wealthy patrons. Some were actually forbidden to make art and came to art later in their lives. Some were the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of their highly recognized male artists and were not able to compete. (Portrait of Eliza Greatorex above.)

Now, recognition of these gifted artists is beginning to happen. There have been recent museum exhibits and an article in the Smithsonian magazine on these talented women.

These were women who hiked in long skirts and corsets through the mountains and cliffs to paint, etch, photograph and embroider images of the landscapes. Many of these women traveled throughout the east and went even south all the way to Florida for the opportunity to paint the countryside and waterways in the Hudson River School style.

Here are some of the women whose names are finally being recognized:

Laura Woodward (1834-1926)

Harriet Cany Peale (1800-1869)

Elizabeth Gilbert Jerome (1824-1910)

Susie Barstow (1857-1934)

Julia Hart Beers (1835-1913)

Eliza Greatorex (1819-1897)


  1. Thanks for this info. It's hard to believe that these artist could be overlooked. Their work is so good. Linda

  2. Some of the paintings have an Arcadian look to them. A view could have been done today. I especially like the work of Peale and Barstow. They seem the most contemporary. Thanks again for exposing me to so many artists Ive never heard of. Len

  3. These are wonderful examples; I love the works, especially Peale and Barstow (I agree with Len on that). We can only be grateful that women don't have to stand in the background these days. sz

  4. Thanks for sharing this info about these wonderful women artists. I see the comments above chose the intimate scenes rather than the vast landscape as their favorites. That would be my choice also, it is my choice when I paint. All of these examples of work appear to be from the same school of art, they are similar in color, value, style and subject matter. They are as accomplished as the men artists of their time.

  5. Gladys, I agree. They were very accomplished. I'm happy that finally they are being recognized as such. RA

  6. Really enjoyed the art blog, I write on contemporary art, you might be interested in taking a look?