Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader

Linda Nochlin, Maura Reilly


Linda Nochlin is one of the most accessible, provocative, and innovative art historians of our time. In 1971 she published her essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”—a dramatic feminist call-to-arms that called traditional art historical practices into question and led to a major revision of the discipline.

Women Artists brings together twenty-nine essential essays from throughout Nochlin’s career, making this the definitive anthology of her writing about women in art. Included are her major thematic texts “Women Artists After the French Revolution” and “Starting from Scratch: The Beginnings of Feminist Art History,” as well as the landmark essay and its rejoinder “‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ Thirty Years After.” These appear alongside monographic entries focusing on a selection of major women artists including Mary Cassatt, Louise Bourgeois, Cecily Brown, Kiki Smith, Miwa Yanagi, and Sophie Calle.

Women Artists also presents two new essays written specifically for this book and an interview with Nochlin investigating the position of women artists today.


Readers will be delighted by this opportunity to watch Nochlin’s ideas advance over the decades…Nochlin is far from a one-note theorist; her concerns are varied and her thinking incisive.

— Publishers Weekly

Nochlin writes with a dazzling mix of erudition and candor, but what’s most remarkable about her work is that it’s driven by an exhaustive investigation as to why and how certain artworks have been meaningful to her. Meditations on fashion, exclusion, decoration, bodies and touch run throughout Nochlin’s work. Ideas arrived at through scholarship recur in personal correspondence and anecdote. None of these essays seem dated. An inventor of feminist art history, Nochlin took the ’60s precept that ‘the personal is political’ to heart, but it’s her commitment to clarity, investigation and active thought that makes her work so contemporary today.

— The New York Times Book Review

Perhaps the best introduction to art historical analysis on the ‘social construction’ of the women artist, Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader is also an outstanding overview of feminist art practice since the 1970s … an essential resource and a pleasure to read.

— Women's Art Journal


Linda Nochlin


Linda Nochlin is a highly celebrated feminist art historian. She is the Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Modern Art Emerita at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her major books include Courbet, Representing Women, and Women, Art, and Power. She co-curated, with Maura Reilly, the acclaimed exhibition Global Feminisms (2007).

Maura Reilly

Edited By

Maura Reilly is founding curator of the Elizabeth Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she co-curated, with Linda Nochlin, the critically acclaimed exhibition, Global Feminisms (2007).