Twentieth Century Women
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art presents Twentieth Century Women, an exhibition that focuses exclusively on the artistic achievements of women in the collections of the Bechtler museum and Bechtler family. Featuring over 100 art works by 22 artists, this exhibition explores a century of artistic production and the ways that women fit into, challenge and redefine the narrative of modern art. Alongside paintings, sculptures, drawings, collages, prints, and artists’ books, biographical information and material from the museum’s library and archive are featured. These materials illuminate the incredible lives of the women featured in this exhibition and celebrate their contributions to twentieth-century modernism and its legacies.
Along with painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, collage, prints, textiles and photography, library and archive items are displayed. These items include personal correspondence which emphasize the intimate nature of the Bechtler collection and highlight the personal relationships between the Bechtler family and the artists they championed.
Artists featured in the exhibition include: Anna-Eva Bergman (Swedish, 1909-1987), Lisbeth Bissier (German, 1903-1989), Audrey Flack (American, b. 1931), Cornelia Forster (Swiss, 1906-1990), Maud Gatewood (American, 1934-2004), Maja Godlewska (Polish, b. 1965), Lee Hall (American, 1934-2017), Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975), Vera Isler-Leiner (German, 1931-2015), Gillian Jagger (British, 1930-2019), Warja Lavater (Swiss, 1913-2007), Meret Oppenheim (German, 1913-1985), Betty Parsons (American, 1900-1982), Alicia Penalba (Argentine, 1913-1982), Niki de Saint Phalle (French, 1930-2002), Isabel Quintanilla (Spanish, 1938- 2017), Germaine Richier (French, 1904-1959), Bridget Riley (British, b. 1930), Katherina Sallenbach (Swiss, 1920-2013), Hedda Stern (Romanian, 1910-2011), Elizabeth R. Turk (American, b. 1961), and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva (Portuguese, 1908-1992).
Highlights of the exhibition include the work of Germaine Richier, a French artist best known for her human-animal hybrid bronze sculptures that often-incorporated themes in classical mythology. The exhibition includes her monumental 1946 bronze La Sauterelle (The Grasshopper), and a selection of aquatints made to accompany an edition of Arthur Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell. Other highlights include a selection of folded-accordion artists books by Swiss artist and illustrator Warja Lavater, who created fantastical lyric narratives using pictograms instead of words to retell classic fairy tales. A never-before-exhibited series of painted-wood sculptures by American artist and art dealer Betty Parsons will be included. Parsons is often referred to as “the den mother of Abstract Expressionism” for her early support of the Abstract Expressionist Movement at her art gallery. For the first time, the museum will exih a tapestry by Lisbeth Bissier, a German self-taught weaver who opened her own textile factory in the 1940s and financially supported herself and her husband, Julius Bissier through her work.
Support for Twentieth Century Women is generously provided by:
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is supported, in part, with funding from the Arts and Science Council, and the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.