A Revolution on Canvas
The Rise of Women Artists in Britain and France, 1760-1830
- 28th Jun 2022
- Paul Mellon Centre
384pages -269 x 209mm
- 157 color b-w illus.
A Revolution on Canvas
The first collective, critical historical study of women artists in Britain and France during the Revolutionary era
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, hundreds of women in London and Paris became professional artists, exhibiting and selling their work in unprecedented numbers. Many rose to the top of their nations’ artistic spheres and earned substantial incomes from their work, regularly navigating institutional inequalities expressly designed to exclude members of their sex. In the first collective, critical history of women artists in Britain and France during the Revolutionary era, Paris Spies-Gans explores how they engaged with and influenced the mainstream cultural currents of their societies at pivotal moments of revolutionary change.
Through an interdisciplinary analysis of the experiences of these narrative painters, portraitists, sculptors, and draughtswomen, this book challenges longstanding assumptions about women in the history of art. Importantly, it demonstrates that women built profitable artistic careers by creating works in nearly every genre practiced by men, in similar proportions and to aesthetic acclaim. It also reveals that hundreds of women studied with male artists, and even learned to draw from the nude. Where traditional histories have left a void, this generously illustrated book illuminates a lively world of artistic production.
Featuring an extensive range of these artists’ paintings, drawings, sculptures, and writings, alongside contemporary prints, satires, and works by their male peers, A Revolution on Canvas transforms our understanding of the opportunities and identities of women artists of the past.
Distributed for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
About the AuthorParis A. Spies-Gans is a historian and an art historian. She is currently a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows.
“By making its points compellingly and driving the agenda forward, A Revolution on Canvas is an important contribution to the field.”—Tabitha Barber, The Art Newspaper
"A wave of women pursued public recognition and commercial reward for their art at this time. It was a surge of activity, as Spies-Gans thoughtfully charts, hitherto unprecedented in history.”—Royal Academy Magazine, September 2022