Discover Her Art: Women Artists and Their Masterpieces

Chicago Review. Mar. 2022. 208p. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781641606141.
Gr 5-9–An accessible primer on women artists and their best known works. This collective biography sheds a light on 24 female painters who lived from the 16th to the 20th centuries; the text is divided into Classical and Modern sections. The extensive introduction to the text includes definitions of art vocabulary, such as composition, value, and positive and negative shapes. At the start of each chapter, the artists’ techniques with color, light, and perspective are explained, using her master work as an example. Students are invited to analyze the reproduction with guided questions on design, the use of color, and more. It’s only then that readers are given a short biography of the painter, with some details on her education, personal life, and major accomplishments. The usual suspects are featured, including Artemisia Gentileschi and Mary Cassatt, but others not as widely celebrated, such as Harlem Renaissance painter Laura Waring Wheeler and Native American artist Angel De Cora are also highlighted. Figures from Japan, India, Cuba, and Brazil are represented and several of the women selected were LGBTQIA+. The conversational tone will make readers feel as if they’re in a women-only, more diverse “Intro to Art History” class. Some of the paintings included are self-portraits, but otherwise, the artists’ own visages are, unfortunately, not featured. These brief insights into these phenomenal groundbreaking women are bound to inspire browsers into researchers. Back matter includes activities for kids who want to hone their own painting techniques.
VERDICT A must for art history curriculum and to diversify biography shelves.

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