This collection of prints was gifted to The Rockwell Museum by Dr. Marianne Woods in Memory of Kenneth Cooper. This donation consists entirely of works by women artists. The collection is representative of an era in which paid art-making opportunities were accessible to women. A 2019 study examining the gender of artists in major U.S. institutions found that only 13% were women. Although many of these women were successful during their lifetimes, they have been written out of the history of art because of a gender bias. In acknowledgment of these inequalities, The Rockwell Museum strives to bring greater balance and diversity to the works on view within our institution.
Most of the artists featured in this exhibition were born in the late 19th or early 20th century, and therefore were of working age during the Great Depression. The Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project were designed to help put American artists back to work during the Depression. Art was seen as a form of work, not an expendable leisure activity. Government support of the arts during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration under the auspices of the New Deal’s “alphabet agencies” led to women and artists of color finding expanded opportunities for employment and work in the fine arts.