Crone, Sage, Seer, Witch,

Settled Heart





Slowly: Plainsong from an older woman to a younger woman

By Judy Rae Grahn, American, born 1940 

 from love belongs to those who do the feeling: New & Selected Poems (1966-2006).






Tsion Andom, Eritrean-Ethiopian, 1922-2022. Photo taken in 2013. 


Born into an Eritrean family, she was raised in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and has the culture of almost the entire Horn of Africa. 

She slides between four languages:  Amharic, English, Tigrinya and Arabic. Her house is furnished a l’Anglaise.  Her kitchen spans the foods of northern Ethiopia, Arab Africa and Great Britain. 

She is one of a handful of women who revived the art of weaving in the Ethiopian manner; and herself always wears white Ethiopian woven cotton, embroidered at the neck and wrists and with a woven border at the bottom edge of the dress. 

 She survived the 1974 assassination of her brother, General Aman Andom, the first post-Imperial head of the Ethiopian State.   She survived her own imprisonment. She lives in Addis Ababa.

Homage and love.

RIP.  December 7, 2022.





Ela Bhatt (Ela Ramesh Bhatt), Indian, 1933-2022.  Photo taken in her office, Ahmedabad, India in 2010. 


Founder of the largest indigenous Indian NGO, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in 1972,  in Ahmedabad, India, she has been instrumental in bettering the lives of and empowering thousands of women and their families in Gujerat and elsewhere by means of communitarian organizations often adapted from native models.  They are based on the ethics of Mahatma Ghandi. 

She has been a member of The Elders since 2007 with a focus on issues affecting girls and women.   She lives in Ahmedabad.

She is kindness, passion, honesty and straightforwardness itself.


RIP.  November 2, 2022







The Four Witches (Four Naked Women), 1497, etching. 

Albrecht Durer, 1471-1528, German.  Private collection on loan to the Philadelphia Art Museum






Study of the Head of an Old Woman, metalpoint on pinkish ochre prepared paper. 

Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1448/9-1494, Florence, Italy.  Loaned by HM Queen Elizabeth II to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2017/18




The Capture of the Unicorn,  wool, silk, silver and gilded-silver-wrapped thread. 

One of several South Netherlandish tapestries, 1495-1505:  this one at The Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum, NY. 

The tapestries follow the story of a unicorn, free and then captured and then cloistered  with a young woman. 

The meaning of these tapestries is not known and, according to this museum, they do not follow any religious or secular model. 






Pendant mask, 16th century, ivory, Edo Peoples, Kingdom of Benin, Nigeria. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

This is believed to have been created by Oba Isigie to commemorate his mother, Idia.  It is thought to have been worn as an amulet and had both protective and decorative functions.





 Portrait of the Countess of Tournon, 1812, oil on canvas

Jean Auguste Dominic Ingres, 1780-1867, French.  Philadelphia Art Museum





Lady Lillith, 1866-1868, altered 1872-1873, oil on canvas.

  Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1828-1882, British.  Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington





Portrait of the Artist’s Mother, 1897, oil on canvas. 

Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1859-1937, American active France.  Philadelphia Art Museum







Vuillard’s Mother in Profile, 1898, oil on canvas mounted on board. 

Édouard Vuillard, 1868-1940, French.  Phillips Collection, Washington, DC






Profile of a Woman with a Chignon, graphite ink and watercolour on paper, 1904. 

Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, Spanish.  Solomon R. Guggenheim, NY






The Charwoman, 1904, oil on canvas

Romaine Brooks 1874-1970, American active France, Smithsonian American Art Museum





Gertrude Stein, 1905-06, oil on canvas. 

Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, Spanish.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY








Portrait of Miss Mary du Pont, 1906, oil on canvas.

Jefferson David Chalfant, 1856-1931, American.  Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania






Gustave Candel’s Mother, 1911-1912, oil on canvas.

Marcel Duchamp, 1887-1968, American born France.  Philadelphia Art Museum







The Seer, 1914/15, oil on canvas. 

Giorgio de Chirico, 1888-1978, Italian born Greece.  MOMA, New York





Woman Seated in an Armchair, c. 1919, oil on canvas. 

Chaim Soutine, 1893-1943.  Russian, active France.  The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia







Fresh Widow, 1920, miniature French window, painted wood frame, panes of glass covered with black leather.

Marcel Duchamp, 1887-1968, American born France.  MOMA, NY








Portrait of My Grandmother (Emily Motley), oil on canvass, 1922 (light interference).

Archibald John Motley, Jr. , 1891-1981, American.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC





Mask of Anna Pavlova, 1924, wax, tinted. 

Malvina Cornell Hoffman, 1855-1966, American.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. 

The mask memorializes a birthday party held for Anna Pavlova where a screen-like-icon was created to reveal her in the flesh on the stroke of midnight.





The Old Actress, 1926, oil on canvas. 

Max Beckmann, 1884-1950, German.  I don’t recall where this is.








Woman, 1928, oil on canvas.

Ivan LeLorraine Albright, 1987-1973. MOMA, NY on display at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia in 2017





Self-Portrait, 1934, lithograph. 

Käthe Kollwitz, 1867-1935, German. Philadelphia Art Museum






‘Bijou’ of Montmartre, 1932, silver gelatin print

Brassaï, 1899-1984, French-Hungarian born present-day Romania. On view at the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia I cannot remember when.





Contemplation, 1935, oil on canvas. 

Alice Kent Stoddard, 1884-1976, Woodmere Museum of Art, Philadelphia




The Break of Day (L’Aurore), 1937, oil on canvas.

Paul Delvore, 1897-1994, Belgian.  Solomon R. Guggenheim, NY





La Nébuleuse ,1939, gelatin silverprint. 

Raoul Ubac, Belgian born Germany, 1910-1985.  MOMA, NY






A Widow, oil on canvas, 1943. 

Jean Dubuffet, 1901-1985, French.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY





Georgia O’Keefe, c. 1944, gelatin silver print.

  Henri Marceau, 1896-1969, American. Philadelphia Art Museum





Moonmad, modeled in plaster in 1944, cast 1956, bronze with gold patina.

  Max Ernst, American born Germany, 1891-1976.  Philadelphia Art Museum








Nearly Everyone Reads the Bulletin, 1946, gouache and ink on Masonite.

Ben Shahn, 1898-1969, American born Lithuania.  Philadelphia Museum of Art





Willis Avenue Bridge, 1940, gouache on paper on board. 

Ben Shahn, 1898-1969, American born Lithuania. ?MOMA, NY






To Catch a Unicorn, 1960, etching with aquatint and watercolour additions, published and printed by the artist.

Betye Saar, American born 1926. MOMA, NY





Sharecropper, 1952, published 1969-70, printed by Jose Sanchez. 

Elizabeth Catlett, American and Mexican, 1913-2015, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY




Elsie Rubin, c. 1958, oil on canvas board. 

Alice Neel, 1900-1984, American.  Jewish Museum, NY







White Sage, 1962, oil on canvas.

Helen Frankenthaler, 1928-2011, American.  Philadelphia Art Museum





Enchantress and Twilight Bird, 1964, etching and aquatint with blind embossing, published and printed by the artist. 

Bettye Saar, American born 1926. MOMA, NY





Untitled, 1980, black and white photograph.

Ana Mendieta, Cuban-American, 1948-1985.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia






Self-portrait, 1975-1980, oil on canvas.

Alice Neel, 1900-1984, American.  Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC





MA(me)MA, 1991, oil on 12 canvases. 

Mira Schor, American born 1950.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art, Philadelphia





Krasner, 2002, woodcut.

Dan Miller, American born 1928.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia







An Angel at my Table, oil on linen over panel, 2018

Miriam Escofet,  British born 1965 Spain. National Portrait Gallery, London BP Portrait Award 2018.


A portrait of the artist’s mother.  The artist painted a slight movement of a plate on the bottom right of the table – moving the way of her mother’s turned face – to denote the passing of time.








Fanny/Fingerpainting, 1985, oil on canvas. 

Chuck Close, American born 1940.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC









Dorothy Norman (founder of the Alfred Stieglitz Center, Philadelphia Art Museum),  East Hampton, NY, 1986, gelatin silver print.

Mariana Cook, American born 1955.  Philadelphia Art Museum







Lilith, 1994. bronze with glass eyes. 

Kiki Smith, German-American born 1954.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY






A merchant selling ritual paraphernalia at the Sunday market, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, 2010









Chillin’, clay, wall paint, acrylic paint.

  Susan Strassberg on exhibit at the Clay Studio, Philadelphia in 2015






Portrait of Joan, 1978, oil on canvas. 

Peter Paone,  American born 1936.  Woodmere Museum of Art, Philadelphia







Widow of Pausania, 1980-1984, travertine.

Constantino Nivola, 1911-1988, Italian.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC






Nile Born, 1984, sand and binder on wood. 

Ana Mendieta, 1948-1985, American born Cuba.  MOMA, NY 

A communion of women with their ancestral land: in this instance, Cuba’s African heritage







Rachel,  (Rachel Rosenthal, performance artist, 1926-2015), 1986, paper mache, wire, metal paints, acrylic paint and matte medium.

Greer Lankton, American, 1958-1996.  On loan from a private collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018








Old Woman in Bed, 2000, silicone rubber, polyester resin, cotton, polyurethane foam, polyester, oil paint.

Roland Mueck, Australian born 1958.  On display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2018






Breast Portrait Triptych, 2002, oil on canvas.

  Clarity Haines, American born 1971.  Exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2017








Mom on Oxygen, oil on canvas. No date

Beverly McIver, born 1962.  Displayed at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia in 2018





Threnody II, 1987, acrylic on linen. 

Leon Golub, 1922-2004, American.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

(Threnody = lamentation, wailing)






Annunciation with Seagulls, 1990-91, graphite/watercolor on paper, frame: gold paint/graphite/acrylic paint/shells/glass .

Anne Minich, American born 1934.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

  A representation of the difficulty of a woman to reconcile her wants and desires with the accepted, religiously-sanctioned model of being a woman.










The Whistlers, 2005, stoneware, paint, pastel, synthetic hair.

Tip Toland, American born 1950.  On display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2018






Untitled (Woman with a gold and brown blouse), gouache on cream mat board. 

Gilbert Lewis, American born 1945. Woodmere Museum of Art, Philadelphia from whose website this photo








Tyzilia Bederman, Bucha, Ukraine, July 18, 2012.

Michal Chelbin, Israeli born 1974 on display in 2018 at the Jewish Museum, NY









Mother, plaster of Paris, wood, 2016.

Bharti Ker, British Indian born 1969.  On display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018







Ducks, 2016, acrylic on birch plywood panel.

Linda Lee Alter, American born 1939.  On display at the Woodmere Museum of Art, Philadelphia in 2020






Eve, acrylic, paint, glitter, canvas, 2016. 

Henry Bermudez, Venezuelan born 1951.  On exhibit at the Woodmere Museum of Art, Philadelphia in 2016






The Oracles’ Silence, 2019, collage with handmade Japanese papers, magazine paper, Jade glue and charcoal on canvas with matte medium.

Maria Berrio born 1982 Colombia.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.





Grandma’s Birthday, 2020, oil on panel.

  Anna Dourbal, Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate in 2020 of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia.  No other information




When You Die, You Have to Hold Your Own Hand, ink on paper, 2020. 

Ellie Macfarlane, Certificate in 2020 from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.  No other information




am I not    olden olden olden

it is unwanted.


wanting, wanting

am I not    broken

stolen    common


am I not crinkled cranky poison

am I not glinty-eyed and frozen


am I not    aged

shaky    glazing

am I not    hazy

guarded    craven


am I not    only

stingy    little

am I not    simple

brittle    spitting


was I not    over

over    ridden?


it is a long story

will you be proud to be my version?


it is unwritten.


writing, writing

am I not    ancient

raging    patient


am I not    able

charming    stable

was I not    building

forming    braving


was I not    ruling

guiding    naming

was I not    brazen

crazy    chosen


even the stones would do my bidding?


it is a long story

am I not proud to be your version?


it is unspoken.


speaking, speaking

am I not    elder




are you not wine before you find me

in your own beaker?


4 thoughts on “7. Women: OLD AGE, SETTLED HEART

  1. Such a stunning and comprehensive portrayal of women at their most vulnerable and determined when in the tightening grip of old age. And Whistler’s mother implicit somehow in so many of them. Thank you, Sarah.

  2. What a wonderful series of images of women who have now lost the freshness of their youth. I appreciated them a lot, even more because that is an age to which I belong too

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