Disregarded or Adored? Remarks on Art Market Responses to Women Artists Behind the Iron Curtain

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Year of publication 2021
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

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Description Looking back to the art scene behind the iron curtain, this chapter reveals the long and challenging career paths of four influential Eastern-Central European women artists. It focuses on the careers of female art figures who had an active role in the Czechoslovak art scene between the 1950s and 1980s and shared lifelong marriages with successful male artists. It focuses on the career and market development of Adriena Šimotová (1926–2014) and of other innovative neoavant-garde artists: Běla Kolářová (1923–2010), Eva Kmentová (1928–1980) and Věra Janoušková (1922–2010), as well as their husbands’ careers. Taking into account artists’ presence on then-state market and art-historical theoretical recognition, this chapter also offers a measurement of gender art (un)equality, which happened to regularly fluctuate between 1:5 and 1:3 (in exceptional cases down 1:2). Moreover, as an interesting case study of a female artist’s gradual career emancipation, it presents the market’s rising response to Šimotová’s work during her six-decade-long journey, contrary to the opposite trend experienced in her husband’s career. These cases show to what extent not only totalitarian conditions but also gender stereotypes, family patterns and patriarchal structures were substantially decisive factors, similarly to women colleagues in the West.
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