Lund Humphries has a longstanding commitment to publishing on women artists, and our list includes a growing number of books on outstanding women practitioners in art, architecture and design, from historical figures to contemporary names. Read on for more about some fantastic women in the arts...
Modern British Art:
Lund Humphries has a long history dating back to 1939 and one of the first monographs published by the press was on a female artist: Barbara Hepworth.
Barbara Hepworth: Carvings and Drawings, published by Lund Humphries in 1952 included Hepworth’s most extensive piece of writing on her life and ideas as a sculptor up to the early 1950s, and was the first major monograph on her work.
Writing to Lund Humphries’ Chairman Anthony Bell in 1964 about the book, Hepworth said: ‘I thought it had great beauty in format. […] A good book should be the inspired result of co-operation between publisher, writer and artist.’ Since 1952, Lund Humphries has published five further books on Hepworth, two of them during her lifetime. READ MORE
We are all living through a critical moment in contemporary culture, and Lund Humphries' publishing is responding to the broader movement underway among scholars, museums, collectors, and the wider world of cultural heritage to recognise, make evident and contextualise the contributions of historical and contemporary women artists.
Reconsidering the art-historical canon:
Our Illuminating Women Artists series, co-published with Getty in North America, extends our publishing on women artists to important but neglected figures from the Renaissance to the 18th century.
Catherine Hall-van den Elsen, author of Luisa Roldán, the first volume in the series, has said, 'I am grateful to the staff of Lund Humphries whose support enabled this volume to communicate the story of an unarguably resilient woman - one of the great sculptors of the Spanish Golden Age.' READ MORE
Other books highlight the work of women in architecture and design.
Greta Magnusson Grossman by Harriet Harriss and Naomi House seeks to reaffirm Grossman's significant, multi-disciplinary contribution to design and architecture, which was largely ignored until recently. Similarly, Into the Light: The Art and Architecture of Lauretta Vinciarelli by Rebecca Siefert is another book which seeks to redress the balance of history. Talking to us in an interview, Rebecca noted:
'Unfortunately, [Lauretta Vinciarelli's] erasure is not surprising at all considering the entrenched sexism of the discipline of architecture (and art, for that matter). But it certainly is surprising considering that Judd and Vinciarelli were together for roughly a decade, not only as a romantic pair but as a professional pair, and even talked about starting an architectural firm together – and this was even published in Architectural Digest – and yet she remained absent from the Judd literature for so long. As I explain in my book, this is due to a number of factors, but I think it’s important to remember that Lauretta, like Denise Scott Brown, like Ray Eames, and like so many others, in many ways suffered from the "Star System in Architecture" that Scott Brown identified decades ago, which privileges a singular figure (usually male) over the beautiful complexity that is collaborative work.'
Indeed, this narrative is combatted by Expanding Field of Architecture by Marcia Feuerstein, Jodi La Coe and Paola Zellner Bassett – a book which documents outstanding projects from forty leading women architects/women-led practices across the globe.
Confronting Contemporary Issues:
We are so heartened by the response to recent titles addressing key contemporary issues facing women artists: in particular, Hettie Judah's volume for the Hot Topics in the Art World series: How Not to Exclude Artist Mothers (and other parents). This book brings the question of women's place in the art world right up to the present, arguing that a paradigm shift is needed within the art world to take account of the needs of artist mothers (and other parents).
Growing Demand for Women Artists:
We are immensely proud that a book on a woman artist – Susan L. Aberth's definitive survey of the life and work of Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) – has been Lund Humphries' consistent bestseller since its publication in 2004. Author Susan L. Aberth reflects for the Lund Humphries blog:
'It was Carrington’s greatest wish to have a book dedicated to her work in English, so when Lund Humphries gave me the opportunity to publish a monograph on her I flew to Mexico City to ask her permission. That it was a British publisher made her very happy, especially when she saw the quality of their art books, but she had to decide about me still. This took many bottles of Tequila drinking and cigarette smoking into the night, countless conversations not about her art but about feminism, meeting special friends for approval, in particular the artist Alan Glass and countless other tests. I understood this to be my initiation into her world and into her trust, so I felt honoured to be put through such a rigorous vetting. Luckily I passed and spent the next two years flying back and forth from New York City to Mexico City and spent many hours listening to the stories of this fascinating and inspiring human being.' READ MORE
We have only highlighted a handful of our books in this blogpost, and there are many more to discover! Visit our Women in the Arts collection to find more books.
Barbara Hepworth, Sculpture with Colour and Strings, 1939/61. Image courtesy of The Ingram Collection. Barbara Hepworth © Bowness. Image © John-Paul Bland.
Artemisia Gentileschi, Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy, c. 1623-25, oil on canvas, private European collection.
Greta Magnusson Grossman, Exterior and garden of the Grossman House, 9376 Claircrest Drive, Beverly Hills, 1956–57. Photograph by John Hartley (courtesy of the Greta Magnusson Grossman design records and papers located at R & Company, New York).
Photograph of Leonora Carrington, Norah Horna (Kati Horna’s daughter) and Susan L. Aberth. Courtesy of Susan L. Aberth.