Dear All,

There is absolutely no doubt as to the biological connection and the opportunity for women to become successful artists in the past. All the more amazing are the women who did produce the work that we enjoy today.

In that case, the most amazing woman would have to be Rachel Ruysch. Ten kids!!!!! All of you who have seen her work in person would agree that she was among the top floral painters not only in her time, but ever. Granted, her production was small, but choice. It deserves repeating: 10 children!

Rachel Ruysch in Wikipedia
National Museum of Women in the Arts Article on Rachel Ruysch
Hoogsteder Journal on Rachel Ruysch

Speaking only for myself, about the connection between art and having children, there is no doubt that if I had had children, I would not be the artist I am today (such as I am, but I hope to keep growing). I certainly would not have moved to Paris, where I believe I have had a leap in my work because of the opportunity to see those who went before me on a daily basis (the same could have been said of my moving to any of the cities in the world with great museums that I could have as an annex to my home).

Providence decided for me that I would not have children, though it was not my choice. And wise it was, as I probably would have made a pretty bizarre mother. Instead my paintings and drawings are my children. And since I can't afford them, I ask them to go out into the world and support me so I can make more children. :-) I do pray they continue to support in my old age.

All that aside, we are seeing an explosion of women artists on every level from amateur to professional; from really awful to sublime.

Why? It is for the same reason that we are seeing so many more male artists in all of those same categories.

Think of all the people we know who say they are "artists" or say they know artists, including everyone's aunt, uncle, grandchild, cousin, best friend, etc.

I don't need to go on too much about this, because we all are aware:

Free time!
This was a luxury rarely known in the past among the lower and middle class, but allowed increasingly by the inventions of our modern society that have relieved millions from the time constraints and physical work needed just for daily chores in whatever walk of life.

But our free time is shrinking. Perhaps one of the newest inventions is actually negated some of that free time. How many of you have wasted days, weeks, months, etc. on computer failures and distractions?

Cheers,
Ann

PS. Yes, raising children is still a factor for women, but many women have successful careers in all areas, including art, even with children. Let's don't get into the area of whether the children of career women have suffered or not with the lack of attention...it has nothing to do with the quality of art produced, which is our area of interest.

Though I believe that Madame Vigée-Lebrun had a husband who dedicated his time to helping her career and taking care of the family. It's a bit simplified to say the first house husband as her income certainly allowed for servants..more likely the first husband manager????