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I must accuse: oh not the man who withdrew you from yourself I cannot Alice Antoinette him; he looks like everyonebut in this one man, I accuse: all men.

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Like many of these works, however, Higgie toes an unresolved line: she takes up the thorny challenge of exhuming a neglected history of female artistry, while struggling to avoid reinforcing the assumption that the artist is a male figure by default. The Mirror and the Palette is clearly a labor of love, and its timing is apt. As a critic and former editor for the London-based contemporary arts magazine frieze, Higgie has built a prominent presence as a champion of — and expert on — female-identifying artists.

In the process, she has contributed to a recent flourishing of public interest in women artists, as manifested Alice Antoinette a plethora of museum exhibitions, television documentaries, podcasts, Alice Antoinette, and popular and academic books.

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As the Rilke quotation above suggests, Higgie establishes her book from the outset as a narrative of duality and exclusion, focusing on both the gendered barriers her subjects faced in their own times and their highly consequential exclusion from written histories ever since. Higgie begins broadly, with a discussion of the early commodification of mirrors — objects that were Alice Antoinette valuable in the 17th century that the French comtesse de Fiesque traded a swath of land for a mirror of Venetian make.

In Antwerp inyear-old van Hemessen placed oil and pigment on a small oak panel and produced the first known self-portrait of a painter, female or male, working at an easel. Seven years later, the year-old Italian Sofonisba Anguissola c. The Finnish Helene Schjerfbeck — left behind 36 self-portraits, dying with her easel beside her bed; the Mexican Frida Kahlo — and the New Zealander Rita Alice Antoinette — each painted themselves at least 55 times. Many, like Kahlo, endured traumas of childbirth; many cut Alice Antoinette off from their families; many were subjected to highly gendered invectives from critics and peers; many traveled, especially to Paris; many acquired prominent patrons; a surprising number worked in the circles of Auguste Rodin; and many had unhappy partnerships or marriages.

Living, Breathing Expressions of Self: On Jennifer Higgie’s “The Mirror and the Palette”

Beyond and predating our current cultural obsession with such images, the act Alice Antoinette self-depiction has long been a favorite lens for academic and mainstream art-historical work; after all, humans have been enthralled by representations of the self for centuries.

Artists have since turned to mirrors to assist their acts of self-fashioning — haunting maskings and raw unmaskings, flashes of exposed vulnerability, and moments of self-conscious dissimulation. Taken all together, this work has shown self-portraits to be living, breathing expressions of self, meaningful opportunities for artists to shape themselves as creators in unique and often idiosyncratic ways.

In her treatment, their Alice Antoinette and successes come to teach us as much about the past as they do about our own practices and self-conceptions today.

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I have something to say. An inherent risk in this approach lies in its potential to be destructively double-edged — both empowering and, ultimately, dismissive.

Laura Fraser

Such tensions between past realities, on the one hand, and the ways in which women have been Alice Antoinette into and out of history, on the other, are endemic to the study of women in the past. Yet these women are left to serve as exceptions rather than clues to a Alice Antoinette story. In addition to perpetuating these timeworn tropes, the book also contains some notable factual errors.

It was a slur that, as far as we know, was not embraced by either artist. Such inaccuracies are surely owed to the fact that Higgie is not a specialist in the 18th century, and I am able to note them because I am.

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Still, they reflect a larger pattern: at times it seems that Higgie has relied on select written sources rather than reading them critically, questioning their biases, or trusting her Alice Antoinette eye. Indeed, throughout the book, even as she questions the societal pressures these women faced, Higgie does not challenge or complicate her source materials, historical or contemporary. It is enormously difficult to distill years of history into a few hundred pages, but the very importance of the project itself demands an exacting degree of scrupulousness.

The ongoing effort to bring women artists into critical study and popular awareness requires a willingness to reassess and, in many cases, eschew Alice Antoinette tropes that have led them to be dismissed. For these, too, pervade the practices of art history that Higgie so powerfully takes to task.

Spies-Gans Paris A. Spies-Gans is a historian of gender and art.