Title page for ETD etd-0410103-231917


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Jalenak, Maia
Author's Email Address mjalen1@lsu.edu
URN etd-0410103-231917
Title Helen M. Turner, American Impressionist
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Art History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
H. Parrott Bacot Committee Chair
Mark Zucker Committee Member
Robert M. Hausey Committee Member
Keywords
  • cragsmoor
  • women artists
  • southern art
  • louisiana art
  • national academician
  • american impressionism
Date of Defense 2003-03-21
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
A renewal of interest in the French impressionists began in 1974 with the 100th anniversary of the first exhibition of the artists who broke with the official Salon in Paris and held their own exhibitions from 1874 through 1886. Since 1974, there has been a swell of interest in reinvestigating lesser-known European and American impressionist artists, especially women artists whose work often was relegated to second-class professional status. Among them was Helen Maria Turner (1858-1958), an artist whose work merits further examination.

In the first two decades of the twentieth century, Turner's art was held in great esteem by critics, private and public collectors, and her peers. Despite her contributions to the movement of impressionism in America, her works are often overlooked today. Following her death in 1958, the first examination of her work did not occur until 1983, when art historian Louis Hoyer Rabbage curated a retrospective exhibition for the Cragsmoor Free Library in Ulster County, New York. In the exhibition catalogue, Rabbage declared that the purpose of the exhibition was to make a statement on behalf of Turner's "rightful place in American art history" and that a definitive biography and catalogue raisonné were still needed. William Gerdts's 1995 landmark volume, Art Across America: Two Centuries of Regional Paintings, included her work, but no one has undertaken major new research.

The objective of this project is to give further consideration to Turner's work by exploring her seventy-year career, especially her early years of art training in New Orleans, heretofore overlooked. The project investigates the influences on her style and subject matter, how her work reflects the time in which it was produced, and how her professional career served as a role model for other artists.

An attachment documenting her paintings in museum collections includes the provenance and exhibition history for each work. A detailed history of her participation in museum and gallery exhibitions is also attached. The main sources used to compile this information were Turner's papers at the New-York Historical Society and materials from the museums and institutions that hold her work.

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