A Century of Women Artists

A Century of Women Artists: 1920 to 2020 - 5 Week Series

Price: $150 Members for 5 classes | $175 General for 5 class series or  $30 Members| $35 General for weekly drop-ins

Whether you are new to art history or an experienced art historian we invite you to register for our art history course. In honor of Women’s History Month, this course will focus on women artists from the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, to the current climate emergency, where women are at the forefront of eco-art activism. 

This course will be taught by Barbara Zabel, Professor Emerita of Art History for Connecticut College. These classes will be held through zoom every Wednesday for five weeks. Each class will be one hour and thirty minutes with time for a short break. Discussion is welcome and art from the Mattatuck Museum and other Connecticut museums will be featured.  

  • Week one, 1910s – 1930s: The Emergence of the New Woman.  A deep dive into the lives and art of women who rejected the constraints of the Gilded Age to become New Women of the post-World War I era, with a focus on Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Florine Stettheimer.
  • Week two, 1930s – 1950s: Women of the New Deal and Abstract Expressionism. A look at the social commentary of Isabel Bishop, Dorothea Lange, Alice Neel, and Harlem Renaissance artist Augusta Savage, all of whom worked on Federal Art Projects in the 1930s, and the post-World War II emergence of Abstract Expressionism of Lee Krasner, Elaine DeKooning, and Miriam Schapiro.
  • Week three, 1960s – 70s: Women of Pop, New Naturalist, Black Power, and Feminist Movements. We will explore the art of major Pop figures Idelle Weber and Marisol and how their art paved the way for the feminism of Eva Hesse, Miriam Schapiro, and Judy Chicago, as well as Betye Saar and other African-American artists.
  • Week four, 1980s – 90s: Pluralism Reigns. The end of the 20th century was an incredibly pluralistic period: We’ll see the resurgence of narrative in paintings by Susan Rothenberg and of body art by Ana Mendieta, and an
  • Week five, 2000 – 2020: Fire and Ice: Art in the AnthropoceneWomen have long been at the forefront of the eco-art movement. For our final session we will focus on Maya Lin as an eco-art pioneer, and the women artists in Fire and Ice, an exhibition to open at Connecticut College in September of 2021, curated by artist Timothy McDowell and art historian Barbara Zabel.

Readings on the topic will be emailed to participants before the first class. 

Barbara Zabel is Professor Emerita at Connecticut College, where she taught courses in modern and contemporary art.  She received her Ph.D. at the University of Virginia and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Smithsonian Institution, and Mellon Foundation. She has written numerous magazine articles and two books, the latest for an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Calder’s Portraits, A New Language. Since her retirement, Professor Zabel has taught courses at local museums and organized exhibitions for the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London.