Maîtresses d’autrefois – Femmes, art et idéologie
Rozsika Parker & Griselda Pollock


Originally published in English in 1981 as Old Mistresses. Women, Art, and Ideology and translated here into French for the first time under the title Maîtresses d’autrefois. Femmes, art et idéologie, the ninth volume of the “Lectures maison rouge” series is not a history of women’s art. This seminal volume by Rozsika Parker and Griselda Pollock is far more radical and emancipatory and, indeed, still relevant today. Their book deals as much with what art history, as a discipline and ideology, has done and is still doing to women artists and their work, as with what their practices are doing or could do to art history, if they were fully studied and considered.

The five parts of the book combine indepth case studies—from Sofonisba Anguissola, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, and Berthe Morisot, to Meret Oppenheim, Eva Hesse, and Mary Kelly—analyses of the structures of artistic production, such as the ideological opposition between art and craft or the stereotypes assigned to the “feminine essence,” and dynamic developments on the oriented way in which the discipline “art history” has been forged, socially and symbolically.

The authors study the way women artists have been defined, characterized, included, relegated, and separated through the centuries, showing “that the erasure of women from the history of art was not the legacy of antiquated prejudice; it was, in fact, the product, the actively produced result of the way modernist Art History and the modernist museum in the twentieth century constructed a narrative of its own contemporaries.” Spanning art history from Antiquity and the Middles Ages to modern art and the feminist practices of the 1970s, Parker and Pollock thus offer a salutary investigation to all those who, with them, not only want to add feminine names to art history, but also to profoundly modify its writing.

The book is introduced by art historian and Geneva University Professor Giovanna Zapperi and features a recent foreword by Griselda Pollock, firmly anchoring Maîtresses d’autrefois in the present.

This volume is the ninth title of the “Lectures maison rouge” series, directed by Patricia Falguières and coedited with la Fondation Antoine de Galbert, Paris.

Authors: Rozsika Parker, Griselda Pollock, Giovanna Zapperi
Coedition JRP|Editions and Fondation Antoine de Galbert
Published in June 2024
French edition
14,5 x 22,5 cm
312 pages, 106 b&w illustrations
ISBN: 978-3-03764-578-9