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Book Review: Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel

on August 21, 2023

Book: Gabriel, Mary. (2018). Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art. Little, Brown and Company.

I read this book a while ago during the pandemic, but its stories have stayed with me. The book steps into the colorful and dynamic world of mid-20th century New York City, to the heart of the postwar Abstract Expressionism movement. It's a riveting journey through the lives of five women—Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler—who defied convention and left an indelible mark on the world of modern art. 

Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel

Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, Gabriel paints a vivid portrait of these pioneering women, exploring their struggles, triumphs, and profound impact on the Abstract Expressionist movement. From Krasner's fierce determination to Mitchell's bold experimentation, each chapter goes deep into the complexities of their personal lives and their art.

Part of the reason Ninth Street Women feels so enduring lies in Gabriel's ability to blend biography with art history, which provides a nuanced understanding of the social, cultural, and artistic forces at play during this period. Her writing is accessible, insightful, and engaging and it drew me into the heart of the bustling New York art scene.

Helen Frankenthaler, center, Grace Hartigan, right, and Joan Mitchell, left

Helen Frankenthaler, center, Grace Hartigan, right, and Joan Mitchell, left.

Whether you're an art aficionado or simply drawn to true stories of resilience and creativity, Ninth Street Women is a must-read. 

 

Pete Stein
Founder, Galerie Stein
Montreal

Galerie Stein will be presenting several contemporary Abstract Expressionist artists both virtually at GalerieStein.com and in our gallery in Montreal in 2024.
Contact: Pete Stein at peter@GalerieStein.com