With a few notable exceptions, the fundamental role that women played in the development of abstract art has long been underestimated, and their work has not received the same critical attention as that of their male counterparts. Now, at last, the tide is turning. The latest historiographical advances illustrated by numerous recent publications, monographs and thematic exhibitions make it possible to reassess the importance of the contribution of women artists to the different currents of abstraction, while at the same time questioning the patterns of the past.
Edited by Christine Macel, this catalogue and the exhibition it accompanies highlights the contributions of a hundred or so women artists to abstraction up to the 1980s, with a few unprecedented forays into the 19th century. By focusing on the careers of artists so often unjustly eclipsed, the book questions the established canons and offers an alternative history of abstraction, from the symbolist abstraction of Hilma Af Klint, to the sensual abstraction of Huguette Caland, to the purist non-objective approach of Verena Von Loewensberg. Essays by noted scholars explore the techniques, concerns and legacies of these women, shedding light on their unique experiences and offering keen new reflections on their work and the movement as a whole.