Where Are The Women?

Rediscovering the Origins of Connecticut Women Artists

June 10 – Aug. 21, 2021

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The Society of Women Painters and Sculptors of Hartford (now Connecticut Women Artists) held its first, groundbreaking, exhibition in 1929. The Society had been organized to create opportunities for women to professionally display and sell their work at a time when they were routinely shut out of exhibitions by Hartford’s male-dominated arts community. WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? presents highlights from the work of 23 founding members and early exhibitors, rediscovering individual artists’ achievements and highlighting the significant role women artists played in early 20th century Connecticut.

Most works in the exhibition have never been seen by contemporary audiences. The exhibition draws from descendants of the artists as well as from other private and public collections, including that of the Art Museum, whose first donor, the Reverend Andrew J. Kelly, purchased a painting from the 1929 exhibition. Father Kelly’s advisor, artist and art critic James Britton, championed several of the artists, including Maud Monnier and Edith Briscoe Stevens, whose work was collected by Father Kelly. WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? celebrates the 90th anniversary of Connecticut Women Artists and highlights women whose social activism not only focused on professional opportunities for artists, but also contributed to women’s suffrage and other important early 20th century movements.

This exhibition is organized by the Art Museum at University of Saint Joseph with guest curator Nancy Noble, historian of American art and faculty member in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture, UMass, Amherst. An Exhibition Advisory Committee consisting of amateur historian Gary Knoble and members of Connecticut Women Artists (President Linda diStefanis, Susan Hackett, Anne Sheffield, and Nancy Whitcher) contributed historical research and identification of potential lenders.