Women, Art, and an Emotional Story (for me)

I love antique stores and finding neat things, so it makes sense to me that I enjoy the occasional video on the subject. I don’t think there’s a way to write this post that doesn’t include spoilers because it would require watching 6 videos, all of which are at least 40 minutes and longer and then not seeing the one that made me cry and have a lot of feelings.

If you want to try, you’d start here:

Otherwise, this twenty minute video is well worth your time.

Basically, this Canadian man ended up buying a house from the relatives of a woman who they said was a prominent Canadian potter (true). But he had the impression that she had passed away and I watched all the videos believing that this was so. My grandmother was a hoarder, and I was slightly uncomfortable watching the videos, but this was was not an ordinary hoarder house because the inhabitant was an artist with deep connections to her work and the art world. This wasn’t a series of videos uncovering rare collectibles. It’s uncovering important, significant art.

Over the course of the videos, he discovers her art, and it just takes your breath, or at least it did mine. The first time he finds some of her sketches, it was obvious that the woman was gifted. Keep in mind that at the request of family, he was keeping her name private.

When he started to find her pottery, my breath caught again and again and again. He was so respectful of her, and it was clear that understood what he was uncovering.

And then came the video where he interviews her. Because she had not passed away. She is (as of this post) 102 years old, mentally sharp, but in a assisted living facility. I tell you I just cried because it was amazing to actually hear this woman talk about her art. He now hopes to preserve her house and I sincerely hope the Canadian government agrees. She worked into her 90’s, by the way.

Some Thoughts About Women and Art

As I was watching the videos, and before I knew she was still alive, I kept thinking, this is what can happen to women artists who don’t have a wife doing all the housekeeping. I am branching out now from the specifics of this artist and speaking more generally.

There’s so much talk about male artists with ZERO recognition of the women who make their dedication to their art possible. These men do not raise the children, cook, clean, or run interference to protect the art of the women they know. The Art World seems to take this protection of male artists for granted.

There’s almost no recognition of what we lose in art because women artists cannot dedicate themselves to their work in the same way. I can’t help but think that a male artist whose work was in museums in his lifetime would have been protected. Someone would have stepped in to make sure he was not pestered with the details of daily life. Was that true here? I have no idea.


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