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Heroic Women of the Art World

Tumblehome Learning. Jan. 2020. 272p. Tr $22.95. ISBN 9781943431533.
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Gr 8 Up–Heroism takes many forms; not all acts of bravery involve battlefields or daring rescues. The artists and art professionals featured in this collection displayed courage in various ways. Each woman overcame challenges to beat formidable odds: sexism, racism, poverty, and homophobia. Several attained success and respect by taking bold, innovative creative risks. One painter took the stand to confront her rapist. A curator and an art detective recovered priceless stolen treasures. The former outsmarted Nazis, and the latter went toe-to-toe with wily thieves. For more than two decades, a conservator painstakingly restored a ruined Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece. Frida Kahlo won international acclaim while living with multiple disabilities and battling severe pain. These fascinating notables, representing different eras (from the Renaissance to the present), nations, ethnicities, and disciplines, are described in 17 brief, well-written, fact-filled chapters. Their stories are relayed in an admiring, conversational tone; clipped sentences promote dramatic, fast-paced reading. Excellent color reproductions of artworks and photos (in the case of historical artists, painted portraits) of the subjects heighten the visual appeal. Colored-background pages, interspersed throughout, also enhance the book’s attractiveness.
VERDICT Recommended for public and school libraries; while not essential, it would be useful as supplementary biographical fare for strong, mature readers in women’s studies and art history classes.

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