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Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order)

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4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,203 ratings  ·  206 reviews
Historically, major women artists have been excluded from the mainstream art canon. Aligned with the resurgence of feminism in pop culture, Broad Strokes offers an entertaining corrective to that omission. Art historian Bridget Quinn delves into the lives and careers of 15 brilliant female artists in text that's smart, feisty, educational, and an enjoyable read. Replete wi ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Chronicle Books
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Rose Joyce I have the hard copy and I loved the book . I tend to like hard copies of art books because the pictures are an important feature of the story ,
Scott There is definitely enough reading material, and the material is very interesting and thought-provoking--this would be a great choice for an art book …moreThere is definitely enough reading material, and the material is very interesting and thought-provoking--this would be a great choice for an art book club or any book club. In fact, my only reservation about the book is that there were too few illustrations. The artists covered in this book are so intriguing that I wanted to see more of their work.(less)

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Vanessa Hua
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Completely engrossing, deeply moving and inspiring. I learned so much and yet it never felt didactic. It's the kind of book where you want to run out and grab your friend and ask, "Did you know....?!?! Can you believe that....?!?" It's the kind of book that makes you want to go to a museum, a gallery to view art, and then to roll up your sleeves and make art yourself. Do yourself a favor and get this intimate, memorable book, post-haste! ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I had just finished Skila Brown's Stone Mirrors: the Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis and was looking for more information on Edmonia Lewis, when I discovered Broad Strokes. I'd only heard of about a third of the artists discussed in its pages, so I learned a lot. I like Quinn's chatty writing style. It felt as I was reading as if I were sitting at a table across from her in a café and she were telling me all about these women. I have to admit, I was far more interested in the older painte ...more
Caterina
I’m glad I did not allow myself to be put off by the slightly cringe-inducing title, because Bridget Quinn is such a great storyteller that I almost feel as if I’ve known and loved these astonishing artists and their works forever — when in reality I had never heard of several, and had only seen-in-real-life the work of 5.


Kara Walker, Ruth Asawa, and Louise Bourgeois
Illustrations by Lisa Congdon.

At its heart this book is a memoir of Quinn’s own journey from Montana ranch girl to New York “baby
...more
Jessica Carew Kraft
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Broad Strokes is a fabulous re-visioning and revival of 15 notable women artists, diverse in their media, their histories, and their motivations. Yet Quinn finds a through line for all of them anchored in her own discovery of their work at different times and places in her life. I’ve never read this kind of wonderful hybrid of memoir, art history and feminist scholarship and it left me wanting more of all of it from the author.

I was especially struck by how Quinn foregrounds the motherhood jour
...more
Yukari
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was privileged to get an early copy, and I devoured it. The book is a gem. It is partly exactly what it says on the cover -- 15 women who made art and history. But the book is also part memoir. These are artists that made a difference to the author in her journey as an art historian, a woman, a writer and a mother. By doing so, she gives us a window into how we too can find our own way to appreciate art. Reading the book made me want to visit an art museum.



Laurie Doyle
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Art historian and author Bridget Quinn illuminates the work of 15 brilliant women artists in this highly enjoyable read. The book is full of inspiring paintings and photographs, along with winsome portraits by illustrator Lisa Congdon. One of my favorite chapters focuses on San Francisco sculptor Ruth Asawa. This book gives long overdue credence to women who broke all kinds of artistic barriers . Highly, highly recommended.
Mattea Gernentz
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Enchanting, witty, and illuminating. I picked up a (signed!) hardback copy of this text from Green Apple Books in San Francisco for only $12 without knowing the blessing it would prove to be. (It had initially caught my eye in the Art Institute of Chicago's gift shop, but I never bought it.) If you want a relatively quick, engaging read that elevates the lives of fifteen women often tragically overlooked in the history of art, please read! It is some of the liveliest non-fiction I've ever read, ...more
Dov Zeller
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, non-fiction
I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it (and I'm hoping to buy it.)

Here are some quotes from other gr reviewers.

"Broad Strokes is a fabulous re-visioning and revival of 15 notable women artists, diverse in their media, their histories, and their motivations. Yet Quinn finds a through line for all of them anchored in her own discovery of their work at different times and places in her life. I’ve never read this kind of wonderful hybrid of memoir, art history and feminist scholarship an
...more
Terri
Apr 21, 2017 added it
My love affair with "Broad Strokes" came to an end last night as I read the concluding chapter. This offering is so good that I admit to having rationed each chapter as a delightful treat. Bridget Quinn's writing is exceptionally on point drawing you in and leaving you to wanting to know more about her subjects. She reveals the stories of these talented artists insightfully becoming their voice. Quinns' ability to intertwine their lives with her own journey is beautifully irreverent, raw, though ...more
Natalia
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I didn't expect this book to be so insightful and informative. I've got to know a number of women artists who I didn't come across. I think, this book is a starting point for more in-depth look at their oeuvre and their impact to the development of art and culture.
I must admit that the book has a strong personal perspective of the author, it gives some certain touch and it may be a bit overdone. But, apart from that, the book is amazing!
...more
Antonia
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
I love my Kindle, but I’m so glad I opted for this gorgeous hardcover book. (Yes, Marie, it sparks joy — even to hold it in my hands, even to look at the cover, knowing now what is within.)

I knew of Artemisia Gentileschi, Vanessa Bell, and Louise Bourgeois (though not their whole stories) and had heard of a couple others, but many of the artists in this book were new to me. I learned so much and in such an enjoyable and moving way. (I kept exclaiming, “Wow” and insisting that my husband listen t
...more
Jamie
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
I initially got this book because it's illustrated by Lisa Congdon and I've liked her other books a lot but the portraits in here are so muted and flat, which doesn't fit the cover or the loud-and-proud artists covered by the excellent text so that's why this gets 4 stars instead of 5. Still, it's an awesome (and not overwhelming) chronological look at important women artists written by in a fresh and personal style by a woman who knows her shit. ...more
Ginger
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If there were more stars to give I would attach them to this book. What an incredible read—with passion, intelligence, humor and for me the introduction to Bridget Quinn... so glad to read your words.
Ethel Rohan
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of BROAD STROKES: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order).

My interest in the book stemmed from a dormant love of history of art carried over from my distant high school days. I am also fierce about all pursuits that revise history to recover the overlooked and forgotten (and women in particular). So I felt eager for the read, and my expectations were exceeded.

It's not only a feast for the eyes. The always stirring, sometimes stunni
...more
Laird
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Until I picked up Bridget Quinn's Broad Stokes, I had forgotten how much I love art history. The history of art is the history of seeing; the story of human beings constructing meaning from lessons of their eyes. But too often it can feel like a parade of cracked paint in faded gilt frames. My art history professor in college was a showman, who made his lectures come alive with wry exclamations. Quinn's knack is to humanize her subjects with poignant, sometimes heart-wrenching details of their a ...more
Jennifer
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow from the library the e-book and audiobook at the same time so I listened to the narration as I followed along and looked at the artwork. I found this very beneficial as I could stare at the artwork while hearing it being described. I enjoyed learning about the 15 (16?) artists in this book and appreciated the chronological order of how the artists were introduced. I also learned a lot, taking the time to look up some of the author's ...more
Tamara Niemi
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this book, but so desperately wish it was longer. Quinn loves writing and loves art and this was such a smart, joyous, and all too short trip through the lives of 15 women, most of whom I'd not heard of before to my great embarassment. The style is smart, crisp and conspiratorial. It's like hanging out at the museum with your really smart friend after a bit of day drinking. While not likely possible, I'd buy a book on every one of these women if Quinn would write it. ...more
Emily Briano
Inspiring and challenging and beautifully written. Highly recommended!
Laura
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is for anyone who has ever sat in the dark watching slides in Art History 101 and had a light go off: Where are the women artists? The big tome for that class, History of Art, by H.W. Janson, discussed only 16 female artists--and that was in a late edition. What about all the others? What kinds of lives did they lead? How did being a woman affect their art? Is there something particular about "feminine" art. These are all questions that Bridget Quinn explores as she takes us on a retro ...more
Jonathan
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it
The subject matter was eye-opening and fascinating, especially for someone with my limited background in art history. But the authorial voice is self-referential to the point of being distracting. If I hadn't been reading it with someone else, I would have given up halfway through. ...more
Karyn
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, fine-arts
A lively and entertaining introduction to fifteen artists, all women, that history has overlooked or never knew to begin with.
Kathy Davie
Fifteen mini biographies of women artists through history representing different periods in art.

My Take
Consistently throughout these fifteen biographies, we learn that Quinn had to hunt and search and struggle to find information on these women, of the obstacles, denigration, and deprivation that each woman struggled through.

The "introduction" to Broad Strokes explained how Quinn came to find a need for it. Fascinated by these incredible painters in her art history classes, Quinn began to questi
...more
Yaaresse
After finishing Danielle Krysa's A Big Important Art Book, I remembered that I had loaded this book on my Kindle app a while back...and promptly forgot about it under an avalanche of suddenly available library books and Great Course streaming. I found it while decluttering my tablet, and wondered if I really wanted to read two such similar books almost back-to-back.

Why, yes, yes I did. Because it turns out this book was what I'd hope for from the other book, a collection of well-written mini-bi
...more
Brandon McGuire
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It may have taken me a while to finish, but I really loved this book. I will be the first to say that I don’t know much about art. There are certain artists whose works I enjoy (Van Gogh, Monet, etc.), but I never grew up with it nor really much interest in it until I went to college.

Therefore, this book really took me by surprise. It helps that Bridget Quinn is a wonderful author that just really makes you want to continue reading due to the personal elements mixing with the actual histories a
...more
Bonnie Blackburn
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have zero zero ZERO art knowledge so this was a fun introduction for me. Loved the brief write ups and insights into the lives of 15 women who have contributed significantly to art. The writing was natural and easy- felt like hanging out with a friend who has an intense passion for art and has all the dirt on artists' crazy lives. Loved reading about and being inspired by these badass women. My only *slight* complaint is that at times it felt like the author was trying SO HARD to prove to me t ...more
Sara
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty fun read. My undergrad was in art history and I thought that this would be another run through the few women who get mentioned in western art history courses, but I was surprised to find that I hadn't known much about a lot of the women Quinn talks about. Even the women I did know about, there were some really interesting facts that I hadn't considered or explored deeply. While this book is a pretty quick read, it ended up being much longer for me because I stopped and looked u ...more
Stephany Wilkes
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I simply ADORE this book. I cannot get enough of it, and wish it were a series. I miraculously chanced to hear Bridget Quinn read one of the essays in this book at a Litquake event, and I thank the stars I did, because I committed to watch for this book's release and now have it in my hot little hands.

Quinn is an art detective, historian, researcher, journalist, brilliant essayist and, best of all, knows and loves her subject. She decodes and explains the contents of paintings (which I have nea
...more
Lisa Reed
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Two things I rarely do: give five stars and write a review. I bought this book on a whim, thinking it might read a little like a textbook, but then "Why not? I should know more about artists in general and women artists specifically." By the time I finished chapter two I was tweeting the author and telling all my friends they should read this book. Textbook it is not! While it is extremely educational, the stories are also captivating and inspiring. The author's passion for art is contagious. He ...more
Lauren
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-non-fiction
I loved this book. I too noticed the lack of female artists in my art history textbook (which I still have, nerdy, I know). The author does a great job of highlighting women artists from all different time periods and genres. The author provided backstory of the artist's lives and descriptions and analysis of several works. Her writing style was approachable for both those well versed in the art world and those with a passing interest in art - and it has quite a bit of humor in it! I will defini ...more
Sierra Charlesworth
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
We read this for our monthly Book Club. I was a little apprehensive to start this because I was worried it would read too much like a textbook. I was very pleasantly surprising and quite enjoyed it. I felt that the author was relatable, funny, and had a strong voice. I did not know many of the artists, which makes me sad. I enjoyed reading the hard copy so I could look at the paintings and spend time analyzing the paintings with the author. The history and lives of the artists was an added bonus ...more
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Bridget Quinn is author of She Votes: How U.S. Women Won Suffrage, and What Happened Next – illustrated by 100 women artists in honor of the centenary of the 19th Amendment – and the award-winning Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order), published by Chronicle Books in 2017. Broad Strokes has been translated into four languages and selected for the Amelia Bloomer Book ...more

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