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How have women in the arts been erased by their husbands and male relatives in history?

Frida Kahlo and many other female artists in history have been overshadowed by men- often men close to them that could easily socially overpower them. During her life, Kahlo was the lesser known artist between her and her husband- Diego Rivera far overshadowed her until after her death, and during her life she only had one solo exhibition of her work in her home country. Who are some of the female figures in the arts, specifically visual arts but also literature and other mediums, who have been made to stand in others’ shadows? Could be an interesting topic to help bring awareness to lesser-known female artists, or show a different perspective for artists that are now well known after their deaths.

  • Insightful topic! That would be interesting - there is an architect called Denise Scott Brown who had a firm with her husband Robert Venturi. Despite her undeniable skill and leadership within their duo, he was awarded a Pritzker Prize for the firm's work (the highest accolade in architecture) and she did not. Scott actually boycotted the award ceremony in protest! Such an unknown story, but I'm sure its not an isolated incident in the creative industry – danielleraffaele 3 years ago
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  • An example that immediately came to mind was the Victorian artist and poet Elizabeth Siddal. She is best known for her involvement in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and as the model for the famous John Everett Millais painting, 'Ophelia'. Her husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painted her frequently and by all accounts, they had a very happy marriage. Siddal was a very talented artist and her work almost always included themes consistent with the rest of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but because she was a woman a lot of it faded into obscurity. – katyharrison 3 years ago
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  • The term "erased" does not quite seem appropriate for this topic, because it denotes that the female artist's work was somehow done away with, and if that is so, we would not have evidence of their work at all. The term "overshadowed" would serve the topic idea better, for their are many female artists subjugated to the backgrounds of their men, husbands, or creative groups. We have to remember the social customs of the times that these women artists lived in and consider that many of these women had reasons that caused them to remain in the shadows for the different time periods, such as when female independence was not socially acceptable and doing so could mean having to sacrifice her security and or survival. It might be a good idea to convey your point by narrowing the time period you cover so that you can add more breadth to the art historical context of the artists you choose to mention. Hope that helps! – mckelly 3 years ago
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  • Hatshepsut is a great example to use, a lot of what she worked towards was defiled after her reign in Ancient Egypt. – Zohal99 3 years ago
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