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Winter/Spring 2012

Mary Cassatt and Her Sister Artists at the 1893 Columbian Exposition

The large-scale public works decorating the Woman’s Building, a large exposition hall, were among the most unusual artistic features at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Customarily, large-scale murals and sculptures were the domain of men, so it was newsworthy when the female managers of the Woman’s Building commissioned women artists: Mary Cassatt and Mary MacMonnies to create monumental paintings for the building’s grand hall, Alice Rideout to craft large-scaled sculptures for the exterior of the building, and other women to make wall murals and stained glass windows. Wanda Corn, a historian and professor emeritus at Stanford University, discusses how these artists used their unique opportunity to imagine a visual history of women, revising the male view of history seen elsewhere at the fair.

Teachers' Guide

The Chicago Humanities Festival has prepared a teachers' guide for this program. Download the Wanda Corn: Women Building History Study Guide now!

This program is generously underwritten by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Speakers and Performers

Wanda Corn

Wanda Corn is a scholar of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American art and photography. Corn most recently taught at Stanford University where she held the university's first permanent appointment in the history of American art and served as chair of the department of art and art history and was acting director of the Stanford Museum. She retired from Stanford in 2008.