To celebrate National Women’s Month, the Phippen Museum is opening an exhibition representing a broad overview of fine art by women artists who lived and worked in the Southwest during the first half of the 20th century. A special Opening Reception and Members Preview is scheduled on at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 17 with butler-passed hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

Not only did these artists teach and write about art; they illustrated books and were well-respected for their skill and talent. Each of these women artists possessed an independent spirit that allowed them to rise above the standards and social constraints of the time to carve a path for themselves in fine art, a news release stated.

For more than 180 years, women artists have been inspired by the American West, producing works of art as varied as the region itself and distinctive for their power and imagination. Unfortunately, their efforts received relatively little attention until recently, due primarily to a view long held by many that only male artists could effectively capture the true vitality and virility of the West in their work. But beginning in the early 1890s and continuing into the 1930s, women artists enjoyed greater opportunities for recognition. Their increasing numbers and successes in the fields of art and illustration led to their growing acceptance as professional artists. Eventually, organizers of many exhibitions, some of which were international in scope, began inviting women to participate.

The dominance of the new modernism in 1913 continued virtually unchallenged until the early 1960s, when a resurgence of interest and nostalgia for America’s past, especially the era of the frontier and the settling of the West, led to a dramatic increase in the popularity of western realism and, for the first time, its acceptance in eastern circles. Since then, the number of art museums and galleries featuring western art has grown dramatically, as has the number of women artists depicting its varied historical and contemporary themes, the release stated.

This unique exhibition pays tribute to the adventurous and often independent women artists who came from eastern big cities, settled in Arizona, and made their living by depicting the beauty of the Southwest, its people, and its wide-open spaces. Undeterred by the challenges of settling in early Arizona, they outnumbered male artists in the area and explored a wild region that was largely unknown to the rest of the country around the turn of the century. This fascinating display is comprised of pieces from the Museum’s Permanent Collection, the Picerne Collection, and private lenders.

Members are admitted free of charge and guests for $20 each.

For additional information on this event, please call (928)778-1385 or visit the Phippen Museum’s website at

Information provided by the Phippen Museum.

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