Two Centuries of Long Island Women Artists, 1800-2000 provides a survey of the history of women artists on Long Island, revealing a vital and previously under-examined significant part of this region’s cultural and artistic legacy. The story of Long Island’s art history has often been told from a male-oriented point of view. However, women have always worked at their easels alongside men, in both major and minor roles, across this region. For many women artists, limited access to academies and exhibitions prevented them from achieving the same professional and critical success as their male colleagues. But for others, who overcame the barriers and prejudices against their sex to establish themselves as serious artists, their names have often been excluded from the predominant discourse.
Disparities connect to a continuing gender inequality in the art world which plays out in the present day within our region. By focusing an exhibition entirely on women’s contributions to art history in this region, from Brooklyn to Montauk, over 200 years, this project provides an enormous opportunity to provide a new fuller, richer accounting of women’s prolific and ever-changing impacts.
Drawn from LIM’s own collection, private collections, and the collections of museums that include the Parrish Museum of Art, the Heckscher Museum of Art, and Guild Hall, this exhibition will present over 80 works from close to 70 different artists, both celebrated and relatively unknown and forgotten, from different eras and a diverse set of backgrounds, stylistic approaches, and materials. Artists included feature both well-known names to the art world who worked from Long Island – such as Helen Torr, Edith Mitchill Prellwitz, Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, and Howardena Pindell – and artists who had a lower profile during their lives but are gaining renewed appreciation today.
On Long Island, women made important impacts to each movement of modernist art, from Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism and beyond. This project will take a deep dive into each generation of our region’s art history.