Agnes Pelton became famous for her distinctive metaphysical landscape paintings rooted in the imagery of the American Southwest and California. Drawing chiefly on her own inspirations, superstitions, and beliefs, Pelton manifested emotional states in the form of ethereal veils of light, jagged rock forms, shimmering stars, and exaggerated horizons. Through these imaginary tableaus, she constructed a fantastic world that allowed her to make sense of that which is uncontrollable, establishing for herself a new universal order rooted in the natural world. Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist is the first survey of this understudied painter in more than twenty-two years. Examining the artist's work in relation to the movements of abstraction, surrealism, and art of the occult, this vibrant book sheds light on Pelton's remarkable influence on American spiritual modernism.
The formation and career of the first major woman artist of the Renaissance Sofonisba Anguissola (ca. 1535-1625) was the daughter of minor Lombard aristocrats who made the unprecedented decision to have her trained as a painter outside the family house. She went on to serve as an instructor to Isabel of Valois, the young queen of Spain. Sofonisba's Lesson sheds new light on Sofonisba's work, offering a major reassessment of a Renaissance painter who changed the image of women's education in Europe--and who transformed Western attitudes about who could be an artist. In this book, Michael Cole demonstrates how teaching and learning were central themes of Sofonisba's art, which shows women learning to read, play chess, and paint. He looks at how her pictures challenged conventional ideas about the teaching of young girls, and he discusses her place in the history of the amateur, a new Renaissance type. The book examines Sofonisba's relationships with the group of people for whom her practice was important--her father Amilcare, her teacher Bernardino Campi, the men and women who sought to be associated with her, and her sisters and the other young women who followed her path. Sofonisba's Lesson concludes with a complete illustrated catalog of the more than two hundred known paintings and drawings that writers have associated with Sofonisba over the past 450 years, with a full accounting of modern scholarly opinion on each.