Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Al R. Moldroski


This paper is a discussion of a woman as a vehicle of visual expression in contemporary times. Certain artists have been selected for the discussion of woman as subject matter and as symbol. An overview is given concerning some trends that have an influence on contemporary society, women in that society, and consequently affect how women have been portrayed. The selected artists were chosen as representatives of "directional types" or "theme types" and some of the implications of their female imagery is discussed. The concept of woman as symbol in her historically recorded debut as fertility figurine ("Willendorf Venus") sets a precedent for the symbolic imagery of woman. This precedent is substantiated by some of the artists in example.

The artists selected span a time from the late 19th Century (their productive years) to the recent death of Richard Lindner, in 1978.

There are two distinct elements common to the selected artists' work. The first element would be subject matter, of which woman and her symbolism is dominant, or at least highly visible in the artists' volumnes of work. The second element common to these artists would be the visible and characteristic representation of woman, as a "type."

The individuals whose female imagery is discussed are Mary Cassatt, Edvard Munch, Kaethe Kollwitz, Gustav Klimt, Vincent Van Gogh, Richard Lindner and (the author of the paper) Tamara Bogue.

There is a tie in with the individual artists and the attitudes of the times. These societal attitudes may be the result of political movements, economic situations, religious traditions, or complex combinations of these forces as well as others. And, the imagery of the female (through the artist) may be in accordance with these attitudes; or it may be a reaction to them. The imagery of woman has often been an individual artist's response to her traditional role tied to the past and her changing role tied to the future. And these artists' responses are at least affected by the "condition of woman."

The paper is a discussion of the psychology in the imagery of woman and technique is not emphasized. Rather, emphasis is on the implications of the content and message.

One of the motivations for the topic of the thesis is to give context and meaning to the author's drawings of women. This series of drawings concerns itself with the female condition. There is evidence (in the author's drawings) of the changing role of woman and there are kindrednesses in the artists selected as examples.

There are illustrations to support the author's point of view. They consist of works by Cassatt, Munch, Kollwitz, Klimt, Van Gogh, and Lindner. Included also, is work by the author.