Collaborator Biographies

Collaborator’s Statement — Jane and Deanne

Collectively we have been studying these women for over half a century. We have enjoyed learning about them not only for art historical reasons, but also to see how they handled tough choices involving the dilemma of balancing one’s personal life and career.

Some of these women artists chose to marry; others did not. Some continued their careers after marriage, while others ended theirs. Indeed, several women chose to work in their husband’s or brother’s studios anonymously allowing them to continue doing what they loved. Some women had children (14 in one case!), while others remained childless by choice or circumstance. Some women were the primary financial support for their families, while many relinquished their careers to become primary caregivers for children or ill and failing relatives.

It is clear to us that 21st century women and men have the same complex issues to sort. The study of Our Foremothers demonstrates that all choices reflect the circumstances and priorities of each individual, and concludes that all choices are valid.

The artists who are Our Foremothers are bound together by determination, choosing not to accept the status quo. Most of them felt driven to pursue careers as artists; few sought fame. To look into the eyes of these women is to contemplate the ground they have covered before us.

This project is a loving tribute to these women. We encourage you to further investigate these artists and others like them, read their biographies, look at their work, and regularly visit the art museums that exhibit their work. Perhaps then, when you picture an artist in your mind, it will be a woman rather than a middle-aged male art star.