Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)

First Advisor

Dr. Deirdre Egan-Ryan

Second Advisor

Fr. James P. Neilson


The notion that no woman can be a great artist has been reinforced in the fields of art and art history by the long-standing, accepted white Western male perspective. Nevertheless, history is replete with women who created exceptional art in their own time before fading into relative obscurity. By examining the obstacles that prevented many women from pursuing careers in the arts, how some of them overcame those obstacles to thrive in their time, what led to their subsequent disappearance, and what circumstances led to their rediscovery, this thesis reveals patterns of recognition and obscurity women artists experienced throughout history. The patterns of gender bias revealed in this analysis help explain why female artists have disappeared. Recognizing these patterns and their implications will ensure that women do not slip into obscurity again.