Sills follows her successful Inspirations with another, equally satisfying collection of essays about women artists' lives. Neither stereotypes nor cliches enter into the author's straightforward discussion of her four subjects, whether approaching impressionist Mary Cassatt's struggle to gain acceptance as a woman painter or African American Betye Saar's use of political and ethnic themes in her collages and sculptures. Surrealist Leonora Carrington's tumultuous personal life gets the same even-handed treatment as do her hallucinatory paintings, and Mary Frank's lyrical, fractured sculpture seems to grow organically out of Sills's description of her and the losses she has survived. Photographs of the artists as children and as adults add to the book's intimate atmosphere. The works of art--copiously presented in high-quality reproductions--are uniformly engaging and, thanks to the author's subtle analysis, easy to appreciate. Ages 9-up. (Apr.)
This title from an exceptionally well-produced series on women artists contains first-rate reproductions. The author's simple, conversational style reveals insights that vivify the artists and their works, and the biographies contain first-rate, full-color reproductions, black-and-white illustrations and photographs. Each of Ms. Sill's two volumes, Inspirations and Visions, focus on a quartet of artists: O'Keeffe, Kahlo, Ringgold, and Neel in the first title, Cassatt, Saar, Carrington and Frank, in the second.
Gr 5-8-- Written with clarity, simplicity, and insight, this biographical work gives readers a glimpse into the lives of Mary Cassatt, Betye Saar, Leonora Carrington, and Mary Frank. While they are perhaps not all as well known as the individuals in Sills's Inspirations (Albert Whitman, 1989), they are important artists. Their determination to follow their interests despite constraints imposed upon them by family, living conditions, and society is evident. Full-color reproductions of each artist's work are included. The text is further broken up by black-and-white photos of the subjects. Design and layout are carefully planned, resulting in a beautiful book worth sharing with many readers. --Alexandra Marris, Rochester Public Library, NY
In a companion of sorts to "Inspiration" (1989), Sills once again brings women artists to the fore, smoothly melding information about their personal histories with insight into their art. Her selection of subjects shows that care was taken to include artists that not only come from different backgrounds, but also work in different media and/or styles. Sills includes Mary Cassatt, a nineteenth-century impressionist known for her affecting paintings of mothers and children; surrealist painter and writer Lorena Carrington, whose work is filled with mysterious and fantastical images; Betye Saar, an African American artist who uses objects from various cultures to create "assemblages" and "installations"; and modernist Mary Frank, whose ingenious method of clay sculpturing has allowed her to create works that pulse with energy and movement. Excellent photographs and reproductions in full color grace nearly every page, and Sills weaves into her text information about each work, sometimes explaining its symbolism, sometimes the technique used in its making. A real sense of the art emerges. Unfortunately, the reproductions are not always on the same page as the text that describes them, but this is a small concern in an otherwise outstanding book that introduces women artists in a way that will encourage students to find out more, more, more. A bibliography and picture credits are appended.