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Art Museum at USJ Presents ‘Where are the Women? Rediscovering the Origins of Connecticut Women Artists’

Edith Dale Monson (1875-1977). Flowering Tree . Oil on canvas, 15” x 15”. Art Museum, University of Saint Joseph. Gift of Martha Johnson '36, 1995. Courtesy image

The exhibition featuring Connecticut Women Artists opened at The Art Museum at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford on June 10, and runs through Aug. 21.

Maud Nottingham Monnier (1878-1932). Larkspur. Oil on board, 10” x 8”. Art Museum, University of Saint Joseph. Gift of the Reverend Andrew J. Kelly, 1937. Courtesy image

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The Art Museum, University of Saint Joseph features “WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? Rediscovering the Origins of Connecticut Women Artists” which opened on Thursday, June 10, 2021. The exhibition will run through Aug. 21.

WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? is the first historical survey of works by the earliest members of The Society of Women Painters and Sculptors of Hartford (now Connecticut Women Artists). The Society was founded with the encouragement of A. Everett (Chick) Austin, Jr., Director of the Wadsworth Atheneum, who surely noted that women artists were frequently absent from exhibitions in Hartford’s male-dominated arts community. As a result, two accomplished painters, Jessie Goodwin Preston (1879-1973) and Helen Townsend Simpson (1886-1977), established an organization of women artists with the promise of annual exhibitions at the Atheneum.

The Society of Women Painters and Sculptors of Hartford opened its first groundbreaking exhibition in 1929, offering women a new opportunity to display and sell their work professionally.

WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? features highlights from the work of 23 founding members and early exhibitors, rediscovering individual artists’ achievements and revealing the significant role these women and their new Society played in the life of early 20th century Connecticut. It brings together more than 70 works, many of which have descended in the artists’ families and have never been seen by contemporary audiences.

Preston and Simpson had a community of professionally trained artists from which to draw members of their new Society and attract exhibitors to their annual shows. Among them were Evelyn Longman [Batchelder], a sculptor who contributed to the Lincoln Memorial and was the first woman elected to the National Academy of Design; several women who studied in Hartford and New York with famed early 20th century artists and teachers Robert Henri and William Merritt Chase; and several founding members of Hartford’s Town and County Club, formed by women from the city’s most prominent families.

WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? has been organized in collaboration with Connecticut Women Artists, Inc. and is supported in part by the Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, an Anonymous Foundation, and Friends of the Art Museum.

The Art Museum, University of Saint Joseph is located in Bruyette Athenaeum on the University’s main campus at 1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford. It is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; closed Monday, Tuesday, and Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.usj.edu/artmuseum.

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