Crone, Sage, Seer, Witch,
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
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.
Bettye 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.
am I not broken
am I not crinkled cranky poison
am I not glinty-eyed and frozen
am I not aged
am I not hazy
am I not only
am I not simple
was I not over
it is a long story
will you be proud to be my version?
it is unwritten.
am I not ancient
am I not able
was I not building
was I not ruling
was I not brazen
even the stones would do my bidding?
it is a long story
am I not proud to be your version?
it is unspoken.
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”
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.
Thank you for commenting, Susannah! I agree! Sarah
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
Thank you, Louisa, for your comment! Sarah
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