"The Hidden Female Face of New York" published in The Inclusive Vision

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Emma Stebbins
Recently I have been delving into what I think of as the "lost and found" in American art, namely the public works created by American female artists.  Some of these works are lost in a metaphorical sense: they are actually in plain view, but oddly, ignored by scholars and critics as well as feminists.  Among these are two beautiful statues in Central Park, created by Emma Stebbins and Bessie Potter Vonoh)  as well as the stunning rondels of Radio City Hall (the last being the work of Art Deco's master, Hildreth Meiere.)  

Other works have a strange history of being applauded, then, in a subsequent generation, taken down and put into storage; this is true not only of paintings (New York's MOMA is a case in point, but there are others) but of important murals and mosaics as well.  It is only recently that these "lost" works are being "found" by a new audience.  For example, Hildreth Meiere's mosaics for the Prudential Building have been restored and can now be viewed (one at The Newark Museum.)  More on this issue, later-- it also affects female authors, whose "lost" works are not digitized, out of print and often unavailable at public libraries.

I discuss three female artists, Emma Stebbins, Bessie Potter-Vonoh, and Hildreth Meiere in "The Hidden Female Face of New York," published in The Inclusivion Vision:  Essays in Honor of Larry Gross.


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