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Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Manchester Art / Prestel (2009)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005MK0CC4
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,966,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Anyone wanting to learn about the fine women artists associated with the Surrealist movement of the 1920s through 1950s should buy both this book and Whitney Chadwick's Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement. The two perfectly complement each other, making up for each other's weaknesses. Chadwick's text is extensive and well written, describing the women's lives and relationships to the primarily male, and often misogynist, movement and its members in detail, but only 20 of its numerous illustrations are in color, and many of the rest are small. The text of Allmer's book, by contrast, consists only of seven critical essays on various aspects of some of the women's art, plus one-paragraph biographies of the artists at the end--but it contains 141 beautiful, full-page color plates of the artists' work, plus 50 smaller illustrations, many of which are also in color. Therefore, the best plan is to read Chadwick to learn who the women are but turn to Allmer to see their art.

Allmer's book is based on an exhibit at England's Manchester Art Gallery in 2009 and 2010 that claims to be the first major international group exhibition in the UK and Europe of twentieth-century women Surrealist artists. It covers not only well-known Surrealist artists, such as Frida Kahlo and Leonora Carrington, but less famous ones, including Emmy Bridgwater and Valentine Penrose. It also includes some more recent women artists whose work is similar to that of the earlier women Surrealists, such as Francesca Woodman.

The essays examine selected women Surrealists' use of classic artistic themes such as homes and other interiors, still lifes, and animals. With the pleasant exception of the one by Mary Ann Caws, I found them so full of Crit-speak as to border on unreadable.
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