Discover anew the herstory of art that Publishers Weekly calls "illuminating" and Foreword Reviews calls "spirited" for an enlightening art history read.
How many female artists can you name? Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Marina Abramovic? How about female artists who lived prior to the Modern era? Maybe Artemisia Gentileschi and then… even a regular museum-goer might run out of steam. What about female curators, critics, patrons, collectors, muses, models and art influencers?
This book provides a 360 degree look at the role, influence, and empowerment of women through art—including women artists, but going beyond those who have taken up a brush or a chisel. In 1971, Linda Nochlin published a famous essay, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” This book responds to it by showing that not only have there been scores of great women artists throughout history, but that great women have shaped the story of art. The result is a book that sheds light on the art world in a very new way, finally celebrating the great women artists and influencers who deserve to be much better known. The entire history of art can be told as a herstory of art.
Noah Charney is the internationally best-selling author of more than a dozen books, most recently, The Devil in the Gallery: How Scandal, Shock, and Rivalry Shaped the Art World, and including The Collector of Lives: Giorgio Vasari and the Invention of Art, which was nominated for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Biography. He is a professor of art history specializing in art crime, and has taught for Yale University, Brown University, the American University of Rome, and the University of Ljubljana. He lives in Slovenia.
List of Artworks
Foreword by Ingrid Rowland
Note from the Author
Art Herstory: The Movements Without Men
Art Herstory: Beyond the Creators
Afterword: WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? by Marina Abramović
About the Author
Art historian Noah Charney’s book Brushed Aside is a colorful overview of underrecognized women artists and art influencers throughout history. While an estimated 75 percent of the human handprints found with cave paintings belonged to women, the record of women artists and their works through time is hazy, Charney notes. This survey of women artists and influencers corrects the record with a focus on European and American artists, patrons, and critics, showing that there have always been great women artists and supporters of the arts, even at times when men got credit for their innovations.… Brushed Aside is a spirited art history book covering the unheralded women who shaped art history as artists, patrons, and critics.
In this breezy and illuminating survey, art historian Charney spotlights female artists, patrons, curators, influencers, critics, scholars, models, and muses who shaped the art world.... [T]hose seeking an accessible introduction to women’s art history will be pleased by Charney’s lucid prose and faithful renderings of these often-overlooked figures both as artists and as unique, distinctive personalities. It’s worth checking out.
As he did in The 12-Hour Art Expert, Charney offers an accessible, different, and fascinating look at art history. Here his ‘goal is to provide a broad, multi-angled view of how women have shaped the story of art.’ In addition to recognizing the still-underappreciated legacy of women artists, he also chronicles the equally important and freshly interesting contributions of women as collectors, patrons, critics, curators, scholars, influencers, and more. The first part covers women artists across a wide span of time and art movements, from ‘Renaissance to Realism’ to ‘Salons and Academies’ to ‘Concept and Statement’ to ‘Performance and Feminism.’ The second half, ‘Beyond the Creators,’ portrays women in key supporting roles, ensuring that art is seen, understood, and preserved. Charney's survey goes a long way in filling in the gaps in art history caused by years of male-biased perspectives. Crisp color illustrations, a selected bibliography, and extensive notes enhance this enlightening and enjoyable volume. Art lovers and researchers alike will find much to appreciate in this unusually inclusive and expert celebration of women in art.
Without patronizing, without flattery, without teary penitence, Noah Charney writes about women artists throughout global history, searching for the ‘herstory’ of art. Precise, informative, within context and with perspective, he is a witty and unreserved lover of art and a lover of creative women. This is a precious book, at once passionate and informative.
Feminist art historian Noah Charney broadens the landscape about the roles women have played in art history. Traversing time and location, Charney’s trailblazing globe-trotting narrative challenges the established and now settled tropes surrounding the feminist movement that developed in the late 1960s and 1970s. Inclusive of collectors, commissioners, curators, and critics, alongside the art makers themselves, Charney presents a narrative through a new lens which has formerly been the coveted domain of female art historians. Thus, his book is valuable by presenting a paradigm shift in terms of how art history is understood and delivered.
With characteristic wit and élan, Charney takes us on a romp through centuries of art, focusing his scrutiny on the women who “have shaped the story of art.” This highly readable and engaging “herstory” of art offers a sweeping bird’s eye view, a personal and passionate panorama that introduces the reader to a wide range of artists, periods, and styles. Famous female artists are joined by myriad others, who have been forgotten or never properly acknowledged and yet, whose contributions deserve recognition. Charney also tells us about “influencers”: muses, patrons, collectors, critics, and scholars—women who each in their way have left a lasting mark on art. As we learn about their work and their lives, Charney regales us with a cornucopia of tasty—and memorable—tidbits.
Brushed Aside: The Untold Story of Women in Art is not only a brilliant volume, full of anecdotes straight from the art world, from which you won’t be able to tear yourself away, but it is also a game changer in how we look at the past. As we dive into Charney’s words, we are challenged to ask ourselves to what extent were men the protagonists of the realm of art: was it really Jackson Pollock the one who created the dripping technique? Or rather a female figure overshadowed by Pollock and almost entirely forgotten? Isn’t Artemisia Gentileschi at least as good as other celebrated baroque painters?
"One wonders what wonders she would have wrought," writes Noah Charney in his story of the herstory of art. At last we have a proper herstory! This book is an admirable, fully-fledged overview of great women in the story of art.
This is highlighted in PW’s big indie books for fall feature.
11/9/23, Literary Hub: An excerpt from the book is featured.
10/25/23, Ashland, MA Public Library: Noah Charney gave a virtual talk about the book.
1/14/24, WRVO Public Media (Central New York)/Campbell Conversations: Host Grant Reeher interviews Noah Charney about the book.