Amy Von Lintel and Bonnie RoosAug 17, 2022
Three Women Artists
Expanding Abstract Expressionism in the American West
Texas A&M University Press 2022
Offering a fresh perspective on the influence of the American southwest—and particularly West Texas—on the New York art world of the 1950s, Three Women Artists: Expanding Abstract Expressionism in the American West (Texas A&M UP, 2022) aims to establish the significance of itinerant teaching and western travel as a strategic choice for women artists associated with traditional centers of artistic authority and population in the eastern United States.
The book is focused on three artists: Elaine de Kooning, Jeanne Reynal, and Louise Nevelson. In their travels to and work in the High Plains, they were inspired to innovate their abstract styles and introduce new critical dialogues through their work. These women traveled west for the same reason artists often travel to new places: they found paid work, markets, patrons, and friends. This Middle American context offers us a “decentered” modernism—demanding that we look beyond our received truths about Abstract Expressionism.
Authors Amy Von Lintel and Bonnie Roos demonstrate that these women’s New York avant-garde, abstract styles were attractive to Panhandle-area ranchers, bankers, and aspiring art students. Perhaps as importantly, they show that these artists’ aesthetics evolved in light of their regional experiences. Offering their work as a supplement and corrective to the frameworks of patriarchal, East Coast ethnocentrism, Von Lintel and Roos make the case for Texas as influential in the national art scene of the latter half of the twentieth century.
Kirstin L. Ellsworth has a Ph.D. in the History of Art from Indiana University and is Associate Professor of Art History at California State University Dominguez Hills.