Arts

We’re Artists, Not Muses

How five iconic painters rejected the social codes of their times and changed Modern Art.

By Angela Ledgerwood

Arts

How five iconic painters rejected the social codes of their times and changed Modern Art.

By Angela Ledgerwood

Five painters disrupted the male-dominated world of twentieth-century abstract painting – not as muses but as artists – liberating themselves from the male gaze, traditional society, motherhood, and the role of the good wife. In the riveting new book, Ninth Street Women, art historian Mary Gabriel reexamines the passionate, turbulent and trailblazing lives of Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler; how they changed the trajectory of Modern Art and why they deserve just as much recognition as their macho male peers like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko. Here, Gabriel draws on her extensive research and gives us a taste of just how radical and inspiring these women really were.

Lee Krasner in Jackson Pollock’s studio, ca. 1949

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