A Brush of Genius: Women Artists in the Cinema
From the French Impressionists to 1960s America, women face similar struggles toward artistic success.
This year, Sally Hawkins drew acclaim for playing Canadian painter Maud Lewis in Maudie. A story of her burgeoning folk-art career in Nova Scotia, it chronicles her difficult life suffering from rheumatoid arthritis even as her paintings became widely successful. But Maudie is hardly the only film to center on a female painter. Artemisia, Seraphine, and Berthe Morisot are just a few other movies that focus on women artists—often depicting them fighting for recognition or even simply the chance to work or display art in an industry that often shut out talented women. From the time of the French impressionists to America in the 1960s, the stories of women painters, their inspiration, their hurdles, have played out onscreen.