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I, too, am an artist

Linda Nochlin: Dora Maar, 4 January 2001

Dora Maar with and without Picasso: A Biography 
by Mary Ann Caws.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £24.95, October 2000, 0 500 51009 1
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... Most people, if they think of Dora Maar at all, remember her as the subject of one of Picasso’s most persistent and variegated portrait series. There is Dora Maar the elegant woman of the world in Femme à la résille (Woman with a Snood) of 1938, one of a group of brightly coloured portraits of the sitter done in that year in which she is wearing bizarre headgear ...

Don’t you cut your lunch up when you’re ready to eat it?

Linda Nochlin: Louise Bourgeois, 4 April 2002

Louise Bourgeois’s ‘Spider’: The Architecture of Art-Writing 
by Mieke Bal.
Chicago, 134 pp., £19, November 2001, 0 226 03575 1
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... Louise Bourgeois is one of the two pre-eminent sculptors working today; the other is Richard Serra, whose sculpture – single-minded, monolithic, public – offers the most striking contrast to hers in both form and content. Serra is Isaiah Berlin’s hedgehog exemplified in heavy metal: Louise Bourgeois is the fox, an artist of many devices, to borrow a Homeric epithet which suits her perfectly ...

Big Daddy

Linda Nochlin, 30 October 1997

American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 635 pp., £35, October 1997, 9781860463723
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... There often seems to be a connection between the style of an art historian or critic and that of his or her favourite artist. Reading Tim Clark on Courbet, it is easy to see the reasons why the writer chose his subject: iconoclasm, a bold and aggressive rejection of stylistic precedence and traditional modes of expression are common to both. In the case of Robert Hughes, author of the monumental American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America, the artist of choice would be John Singer Sargent, brilliant pictorial chronicler of the beau monde of the 19th century ...

The Vanishing Brothel

Linda Nochlin, 6 March 1997

A Life of Picasso. Vol. II: 1907-1917 
by John Richardson and Marilyn McCully.
Cape, 500 pp., £30, November 1996, 0 224 03120 1
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Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man 
by Norman Mailer.
Little, Brown, 398 pp., £25, November 1996, 0 316 88173 2
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Picasso and the Spanish Tradition 
edited by Jonathan Brown.
Yale, 208 pp., £30, November 1996, 0 300 06475 6
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... I must have been quite young the first time I saw Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon at the Museum of Modern Art, barely into my teens. I knew little about Cubism, less about Iberian sculpture, and nothing at all about the title’s supposed reference to a brothel in Barcelona; I am not sure I even knew what a brothel was. All I knew was that this was a great masterpiece by the greatest artist of our time, and I responded with appropriate awe and admiration ...

Plucking the Fruits of Knowledge

Linda Nochlin: The Surprising Boldness of Mary Cassatt, 15 April 1999

Mary Cassatt: Modern Woman 
edited by Judith Barter.
Abrams, 376 pp., £40, November 1998, 0 8109 4089 2
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Mary Cassatt: Painter of Modern Women 
by Griselda Pollock.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £7.95, September 1998, 0 500 20317 2
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... Mary Cassatt’s Lady at the Tea Table (1883-85) establishes her as one of the outstanding American painters of the 19th century. Indeed, it is one of the most remarkable portraits, American or not, of its time. A subtle combination of strength and fragility, the painting shows Mrs Riddle, Cassatt’s first cousin once removed. The sitter rejected it, apparently feeling that it did not do justice to her reputation as a great beauty ...

The misogynists got it right

Christine Stansell: The representation of women in art, 1 July 1999

Representing Women 
by Linda Nochlin.
Thames and Hudson, 272 pp., £14.99, May 1999, 0 500 28098 3
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... and the power that men have held over women, even as they painted compelling pictures of them. Linda Nochlin has long been a critical presence on both sides of the Atlantic, known for formulating big, bold ways of understanding images of women. Her forte has been the blunt insight, brilliant in its very plainness of address, that throws into question ...

Redheads

Gabriele Annan, 25 March 1993

Alias Olympia: A Woman’s Search for Manet’s Notorious Model and Her Own Desire 
by Eunice Lipton.
Thames and Hudson, 192 pp., £14.95, March 1993, 0 500 23651 8
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... but a simper. Lipton starts with a meeting at Hunter College between herself and the art historian Linda Nochlin, whose works are also advertised on the dust-jacket. ‘Nochlin was taller than I expected and more girlish. Also less pretty. I assumed that if she was a woman and well-known, she couldn’t be ...

Sans Sunflowers

David Solkin, 7 July 1994

Nineteenth-Century Art: A Critical History 
by Stephen Eisenman, Thomas Crow, Brian Lukacher, Linda Nochlin and Frances Pohl.
Thames and Hudson, 376 pp., £35, March 1994, 0 500 23675 5
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... as well as class, in response above all to a series of interventions by feminist scholars such as Linda Nochlin and Griselda Pollock. In their ambitious new survey of 19th-century European and American art, Stephen Eisenman and his collaborators have sought to build on this legacy and to consolidate the gains they feel have been achieved. Apart from ...

How terribly kind

Edmund White: Gilbert and George, 1 July 1999

Gilbert & George: A Portrait 
by Daniel Farson.
HarperCollins, 240 pp., £19.99, March 1999, 0 00 255857 2
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... of the few disturbing subjects of the modern age. As George, who’d obviously been reading his Linda Nochlin, told Farson, ‘The male nude is still shocking ... Nudes have always been women because men have the money, look at advertising. If a woman artist painted women, her work would not be described as lesbian.’ Men who paint men have long been ...

A Most Consistent Man

Barry Schwabsky: Renoir, 13 September 2018

Renoir: An Intimate Biography 
by Barbara Ehrlich White.
Thames and Hudson, 432 pp., £24.95, October 2017, 978 0 500 23957 5
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... in music what you are in painting.’ Renoir is seen as having lost his nerve. According to Linda Nochlin, ‘after the bold attempt of Impressionism to eradicate the past and create an art modern in both its formal strategies and its subject matter’, Renoir and others, ‘dissatisfied with the openness, instability and vivid ...

Twenty Kicks in the Backside

Tom Stammers: Rosa Bonheur’s Flock, 5 November 2020

Art Is a Tyrant: The Unconventional Life of Rosa Bonheur 
by Catherine Hewitt.
Icon, 483 pp., £20, February, 978 1 78578 621 1
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... of Victorian Britain, Bonheur’s subjects don’t easily lend themselves to gendered analysis. Linda Nochlin deplored Bonheur’s indecision in both asserting and shunning her femininity (Nochlin called it ‘frilly blouse syndrome’). Bonheur exemplifies the problem of the ‘exceptional’ woman painter, whose ...

Balls and Strikes

Charles Reeve: Clement Greenberg, 5 April 2007

Art Czar: The Rise and Fall of Clement Greenberg 
by Alice Goldfarb Marquis.
Lund Humphries, 321 pp., £25, April 2006, 0 85331 940 5
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... help from various agencies in the US government as part of a Cold War propaganda offensive. Linda Nochlin, Mary Kelly, Griselda Pollock and others mounted feminist critiques of such received notions as disinterested taste. The dismantling of Greenberg’s authority reached its height during his debate with T.J. Clark at the ‘Modernism and ...

Virtuosa

Caroline Campbell: Sofonisba Anguissola, 10 September 2020

A Tale of Two Women Painters: Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana 
edited by Leticia Ruiz Gómez.
Museo Nacional del Prado, 255 pp., £25, January, 978 84 8480 537 3
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Sofonisba’s Lesson: A Renaissance Artist and Her Work 
by Michael Cole.
Princeton, 312 pp., £50, February, 978 0 691 19832 3
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... a slightly elevated version of what critics have for centuries viewed as the ‘lady copyist’.Linda Nochlin’s​ essay ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ (1971) was written partly out of a desire to deal with this issue of women artists as dilettantes. She concluded that no manipulation of the evidence or discovery of more ‘modest ...

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