Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Fine Arts

Degree Program

Art History, PhD

Committee Chair

Fulton, Christopher B.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Paice, Kimberly

Committee Member

Paice, Kimberly

Committee Member

James, Pearl

Committee Member

Byers, Thomas


Armory Show (1913 : New York, N.Y.)--History; Women in art; Art, Modern--20th century--Exhibitions; Art, American--20th century--Exhibitions


This dissertation is the first comprehensive study of women’s involvement in the 1913 Armory Show as financial backers, art collectors, and artists. The Association of American Painters and Sculptors organized this seminal exhibition, which represents a pivotal change in the course of artistic developments in the early twentieth century. For the first time in American history, the public could view contemporary works of art created by both Europeans and Americans in a huge exhibition. Due to the new abstract work on display, the show sparked controversy and debates about art and challenged both American artists and collectors to reconsider artistic production and consumption. The Armory Show has been celebrated over the past century as a watershed moment in the history of art. However, most of the art historical discourse has championed the work of the men artists and organizers to the exclusion of women, thus portraying the Armory Show as a gendered event and thereby rendering women’s participation in the development of American modern art as negligible. This study reveals that women participated in the Armory Show as critical financial backers, influential art collectors shaping visual culture, and artists who exhibited their work alongside their male colleagues. The purpose of this dissertation is to reclaim the valuable work of women who were ardent supporters and producers of modern art and whose lives intersected at this colossal event. Before, during, and after the Armory Show, women were highly visible participants in modern society, moving into public spheres that empowered them as creators of cultural capital at a transitional time in history. The inclusion of these women and their work is needed to tell a complete story of both the Armory Show and the development of modern art in this country.