In common parlance, the word modern means contemporary. Modern art, which had its beginnings in France in the 1860s and became one of the most prominent idioms in America and Europe in the early twentieth century, was exactly that: art that focused on its own time, rather than history or mythology.
In this exhibition we examine how women were perceived and represented from the early 1900s to the mid-1930s in the work of Berenice Abbott, Eugene Atget, Edward Fisk, Marie Laurencin, Jaques Villon, and others.
The transformation of women’s roles in society underscores the work. Abbott portrays her fellow artist Laurencin as a woman of confidence and self-awareness. In Fisk’s painting of Mary Daniel, the housekeeper projects great strength—and a clear sense that she would rather be somewhere else. A pair of showgirls in Robert Philipps’s painting exhibit their own sense of agency within the world they negotiate. Traditions such as the female nude persisted, but in ways that acknowledged cultural changes. These works from the museum’s collection offer a range of Modernist vision and interpretation.
Image: EDWARD FRANKLIN FISK, Mary Daniel, 1938, oil on canvas. UK Art Museum collection. Gift of Allie Hendricks and Milton Fisk
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