The Easel

12th March 2024

A Hidden History of Europe’s Pre-Modernist Women Artists

Linda Nochlin’s famous 1971 essay queried the absence of great female artists. Since then, art history has re-discovered many of them and, in some cases, greatly elevated their status. Artemisia Gentileschi is but one example. A survey of female artists reveals plenty of “genteel amateurism”, which only speaks to the many women who, feeling thwarted, pursued various “sub-artistic” crafts. This show also reveals that whether an artist chose painting or craft, talent has a way of showing through.

5th March 2024

Trouble in Paradise

Gauguin arrived in Polynesia in 1891 and mostly lived there until his death in 1903. This period defines his artistic reputation and generates the opprobrium that now attaches to his name.  A new book confirms Gauguin as an ethically flawed individual. Yet it is also true that his interest in Tahitian spirituality was genuine and the young women around him had agency in daily life and in their relationships with him. Careful scholarship shows him to be “more than merely a sexual predator gorging himself in paradise.”