The inspiring young author behind it, Katy Hessel, is also the Instagrammer behind the successful @thegreatwomenartists account, which she launched in 2015 after finishing her Masters in Art History at University College London. Since then Katy has literally been unstoppable. Now a curator, art historian, podcast host and broadcaster she is on a one-woman mission to re-balance the story of art by re-inserting women back into the picture, where they should have been all along.
The Art Book That Demands Space on Your Shelf
5th October 2022
It’s not often an art book comes along that, by its name alone, upends the canon. The Story of Art Without Men by Katy Hessel is that book, and it will inspire a rethink on everything you think you know about the history of art.
Her cause couldn’t have been timed better. Since she launched The Great Women Artists seven years ago galleries across the world have been busily building their collections of female artists, and more women artists have emerged onto the scene than ever before.
If you have any doubt as to why this book needed to be written, just ask yourself how many women artists you can name. I tried it, foolishly assuming I’d get to more than ten. After Tracey Emin, Antonia Showering, Lee Miller, Lubaina Himid, and the great Paula Rego and Maggi Hamblin, I ran out of ideas. This book offers hundreds spanning 500 years of art history from the Renaissance to the present day with the final chapter highlighting the women artists making history today.
The idea came to Katy Hessel while studying. “I remember thinking, oh my goodness, the story of women in art doesn’t exist anywhere. To me it was absolutely crazy. So I decided, instead of moaning about it, I wanted to place women artists at the centre of the story. Not as the wife of, muse of, daughter or sister of, but to root them in their social and political context and the time in which they lived in the most educational accessible way possible. After all this is their history, and their legacy.”
The Story of Art Without Men, £30, by Katy Hessel, from all good booksellers