Women Only: Folk Art by Female Hands
Female artistic expression in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries followed prescribed time-honored conventions. Most of the graceful works presented in this exhibition, all of which are in the museum’s collection, were created within the strictures of postrevolutionary Republican Motherhood and the Cult of Domesticity. The majority were made during years spent in the cultivation of skills that prepared a young woman to shoulder the many roles required of her in adulthood as a wife and a mother. Others demonstrate that women continued to nourish their creative selves by plying those skills throughout their lives. Yet these paintings, drawings, samplers, quilts, rugs, and other works were artful from conception to execution, were displayed in parlors and best rooms, and conferred status and taste upon both heads of household: male and female.