Pearls from artists* # 377November 6, 2019
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Life for an artist, any artist, was difficult. There were few rewards other than the most important, which was satisfying one’s need to create. But in the art world of galleries, collections, and museums that the avant-garde artists in New York would inherit in the late 1940s, the difficulties experienced by the men who painted and sculpted would be nothing compared to those of the women. Society might mock the men’s work and disparage them for being “bums,” but at least they were awarded the dignity of ridicule. Women had to fight with every fiber of their being not to be completely ignored. In a treatise on men and women in America published at the start of the war, author Pearl S. Buck wrote,
The talented woman… must have, besides their talent, an unusual energy which drives them… to exercise their own powers. Like talented men, they are single-minded creatures, and they can’t sink into idleness nor fritter away life and time, nor endure discontent. They possess that rarest gift, integrity of purpose… Such women sacrifice, without knowing they do, what many other women hold dear – amusement, society, play of one kind or another – to choose solitude and profound thinking and feeling, and at last final expression.
“To what end?” another woman might ask. To the end, perhaps… of art – art which has lifted us out of mental and spiritual savagery.”
Mary Gabriel in Ninth Street Women
Comments are welcome!