The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center of Vassar College has two exhibitions on view in the 15th annual Master Drawings New York, the pre-eminent event for the celebration and exhibition of Old Master through contemporary drawings, paintings and sculptures in the United States. The online exhibitions, Women Picturing Women: From Personal Spaces to Public Ventures and Challenging Tradition: Teaching with Drawings by Women in a College Museum, run from January 22 – 30, 2021.
“It is an honor to have this opportunity to showcase a sample of our outstanding collection to art enthusiasts, top dealers, and collectors around the globe,” said T. Barton Thurber, The Loeb’s Anne Hendricks Bass Director and Lecturer in Art.
Women Picturing Women: From Private Spaces to Public Ventures studies the key themes that emerged when selecting only images of women by female artists. In this exhibition from the permanent collection, women artists from the seventeenth century to the 1960s frequently communicated the idea of an intimate or sheltered enclosure, even though they participated in a more public arena to show or even make their work. Other women artists relayed the idea of venturing into a public place, or into the public, intellectual world of a narrative found in religion, mythology, or social critique. The exhibition looks at works through these private and public lenses, with the circumstances of the artist, her training, and the content of the work in focus. The display includes drawings, paintings, samplers, prints, sculptures, and photographs, and is featured here with the drawings in the exhibition.
The 1907 drawing "The Checkered Dress (Portrait of O'Keeffe)," by American illustrator, cartoonist, and painter Hilda Belcher, was shown at the New York Water Color Club to much acclaim, and it won the young artist membership into the club. To compose the work, Belcher used her memory of the pose and dress of a Mrs. Hagan, the face was that of her friend Georgia O’Keeffe, and she imagined the hair and setting. Belcher trained at the New York School of Art with American Impressionist William Merritt Chase and realist Robert Henri.
The collecting of works by women, including drawings, has a long and rich tradition at Vassar College and Challenging Tradition: Teaching with Drawings by Women in a College Museum gives focused attention to The Loeb’s collection. This virtual exhibition highlights some of the dynamic ways faculty and students use drawings by women from the Loeb’s collection in coursework.