A Museum of Their Own: The National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1987-2007

A Museum of Their Own: The National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1987-2007

by Wilhelmina Cole Holladay
     
 

Over the centuries, until quite recently, the work of great women artists had been ignored, forgotten, or denied; they had been largely left out of museums and histories of art. Along came Wilhelmina Cole Holliday, who boldly decided it was time to rectify this oversight by founding a museum in 1987 in a landmark building near the White House. A critic for the

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Overview

Over the centuries, until quite recently, the work of great women artists had been ignored, forgotten, or denied; they had been largely left out of museums and histories of art. Along came Wilhelmina Cole Holliday, who boldly decided it was time to rectify this oversight by founding a museum in 1987 in a landmark building near the White House. A critic for the Washington Post wrote, 'Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, the museum's founding president, has accomplished something radical. No player in the art scene here has a deeper understanding of power and money and of how our system works. Despite her white-glove graciousness, hard-working Billie Holladay is a warrior and a winner....'This thrilling story of the birth and early years of the NMWA is a lively, anecdotal, behind-the-scenes, eyewitness glimpse of the efforts of dedicated individuals who shared Mrs. Holladay's vision and, under her leadership, helped her expand the permanent collection, organize outstanding exhibitions, renovate the Museum, and fund a robust endowment. Moreover, NMWA now boasts a growing membership—among the top ten museums in the world—with active, vocal committees all across the nation and in many countries. Illustrating the text are 130 color pictures, which include works from the collection and from exhibitions, as well as 40 archival photographs of landmark events that led to the Museum's impressive growth.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

In this memoir-slash-art history, the founder of the National Museum of Women in the Arts recounts how her devotion to art collecting led her to champion female artists with their own home in Washington, D.C. Neglected by the art establishment throughout history, the work of women artists at the beginning of the 1980s continued to be marginalized; the idea for the NMWA came from Holladay's casual observation to a well-placed friend about how rare it was to find a museum with even one work by a female artist. Holladay's determination and perseverance paid off in the NMWA's 1987 opening, which received near-universal kudos (save a whopper of a negative review in Time magazine) and currently boasts one of the country's largest museum memberships. Aside from the story of her and the institution's life, Holladay considers hundreds of pieces in all mediums, from beloved painters Georgia O'Keeffe and Mary Cassatt to sculpture by Kathe Kollwitz to Mary Ann Crosewell's charming silver toy, "George III Child's Rattle." Holladay is generous with praise for the large circle of wealthy patrons who've been involved; notable appearances include Bunny Mellon ("a queen in Washington"), Madeline Albright and Sandra Day O'Connor. Readers will find this richly rewarding, whether they're interested in the personal story of this National Medal of Arts winner or the fine art she's collected. 130 color and 40 b&w illus.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal

In this memoir, Holladay displays her vision, stamina, and tireless determination in founding the first museum for women artists in America, which opened in 1987 in Washington, DC. She documents her experiences of finding and renovating a building that could serve as its home, fund-raising and establishing an endowment for the museum, the many generous women and men who helped her shepherd this unique venture-including prominent individuals, socialites, royalty from all over the world, and her brilliant staff choices-and, of course, the dazzling world-class women artists whose works gracefully embellish the spaces. The lavish and plentiful illustrations (170, most in color) reveal many carefully selected paintings, sculptures, prints, and pottery by women around the globe. Holladay provides answers to critics who would argue against segregating art into genders and offers amusing anecdotes and charming details about her travels and discoveries. The museum and this splendid book will serve as a focal point for rescuing the works and reputations of extraordinary women artists who otherwise might be obscured by time. Essential for all art history collections.
—Ellen Bates

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780789210036
Publisher:
Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/09/2008
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
10.30(w) x 11.30(h) x 1.10(d)

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