Kvinnohandens mjukhet - kvinnliga skulptörer kring sekelskiftet 1900 i svensk konstkritik
Sammanfattning: This study investigates the discourse in the art criticism written between 1895 and 1920 concerning women sculptors in Sweden. Primarily, it focuses on the criticism regarding Sigrid Blomberg (1863–1941), Agnes de Frumerie (1869–1937), Ruth Milles (1871–1941), Alice Nordin (1871–1948) and Gerda Sprinchorn (1871–1951). At the turn of the twentieth century Sweden was a patriarchal society; women did not earn the right to vote until 1919 and had difficulties receiving education and work. So did the women sculptors active on the art scene, which were relatively many. However, the women sculptors who were active generally received positive critique and earned various prizes and awards. Nonetheless, they have since been mostly forgotten and are rarely found in later art historiography. Excerpts from Swedish newspapers and magazines for women were selected and analyzed using a method of critical discourse analysis developed by Norman Fairclough. Presupposing that society is unequal, the method attempts to understand the discursive practices as a mode of hegemonic struggle. It is both a tool for linguistic analysis and a mode of understanding discursive practices in context of social practices. Therefore, the study consists of linguistic analysis of the criticism, a brief summary of the social field in which the women sculptors lived and worked and attempts to analyze the relationship between the two. The study concludes that the criticism often revolves around the theme of femininity, feeling and humor and contains multiple femininely coded words such as “soft”, “pleasant” or “graceful”. The biologistic discourse was found to have a close interdiscursive relationship with the discourse on women sculptors. Often, the women sculptors were judged by their ability to create small, femininely coded art: ornaments rather than art. Consequently, the women sculptors were not taken as seriously as artists and therefore did not receive as many or as big orders as their male counterparts. It has also led to the women sculptors not being recognized or remembered in art history to the same extent. The discourse can therefore be regarded as upholding the patriarchy.
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