Grace Hartigan. Red Bowl. 1953. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of Herman Jervis, New York, in Memory of Dorothy B. Jervis. © The Baltimore Museum of Art / Estate of Grace Hartigan
Grace Hartigan. Red Bowl. 1953. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of Herman Jervis, New York, in Memory of Dorothy B. Jervis. © The Baltimore Museum of Art / Estate of Grace Hartigan

BALTIMORE, MD (September 5, 2019)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) today announced the first exhibition of its year-long 2020 Vision initiative to celebrate female-identifying artists. By Their Creative Force: American Women Modernists features nearly 20 works by artists such as Elizabeth Catlett, Maria Martinez, and Georgia O’Keeffe to recognize the innovative contributions women artists have made to the development of American modernism. The exhibition is on view October 6, 2019–July 5, 2020.

“This exhibition presents a survey of women artists from a variety of geographic regions and socioeconomic backgrounds to tell a more inclusive story of American modernism,” said Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “It also demonstrates the BMA’s long history of acquiring works by women artists and our commitment to showcasing accomplished artists from this community, both efforts the museum is amplifying in 2020 and beyond.”

Among the exhibition highlights are Pink Tulip (1926) and Waterfall I (1952) by Georgia O’Keeffe, one of the most successful American modernists, best known for her boldly innovative renderings of flowers, landscapes, and cityscapes. Elizabeth Catlett’s print Domestic Worker (1946) shows the artist working to promote social change. Catlett was banned from the U.S. during the McCarthy era and lived and worked in Mexico. Grace Hartigan’s Red Bowl (1953) is a blend of figuration and abstraction that was initially exhibited by the artist under the pseudonym George Hartigan to avoid discrimination she might face as a woman. After 1955, she began exhibiting under her real name and in 1965 she became director of the Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

The accomplishments made by many of the historically less-recognized women artists in By Their Creative Force are also acknowledged here. Marguerite Zorach was one of the few American women artists whose work was included in the groundbreaking 1913 Armory Show. Maria Finkelstein exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1928 and 1930. Gertrude Greene was a founder of American Abstract Artists and helped establish the Unemployed Artists Group (later known as the Artists Union). Simone Brangier Boas was one of the founding members of the Sculptors’ Guild and her work was included in the 1939 World’s Fair American Art exhibition.

By Their Creative Force: American Women Modernists is part of the BMA’s year-long 2020 Vision initiative highlighting women artists and collectors, and includes works by Rebecca Salsbury James, Irene Rice Pereira, Florine Stettheimer, and Eva Zeisel, in addition to the artists previously mentioned. The exhibition is curated by Virginia Anderson, BMA Curator of American Art, and generously supported by the Sigmund M. and Mary B. Hyman Fund for American Art.

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

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