Author(s): Catherine Speck
Beyond the Battlefield provides a fascinating account of female creativity in America, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand during the turbulent era of twentieth-century conflict. This book looks at women artists' unique artistic portrayal of war at the front lines, as well as their documentation of everyday life on the home front. Exploring high-profile artists such as the American photographer Lee Miller and her work with British Vogue, this book also recounts the experiences of the First World War nurses, voluntary aides and ambulance drivers who found time to create astonishing art while working in the middle of war zones. While some women could bravely work the front lines, other female artists felt disempowered by their distance from actual warfare. Spurred by the constant fear of attack, the sorrow of innocent lives destroyed, the mass murders of people in concentration camps and the unimaginable aftermath of the A-bomb attacks on Japan, female artists created highly charged, emotional responses to the threats, sufferings and horrors of war. The two world wars of the twentieth century changed the world utterly, on a scale never seen before or since.In this book, Catherine Speck provides an insightful and meditative examination of visual responses to this historical period from the perspective of women in the Allied countries. Generously illustrated, Beyond the Battlefield delivers a distinctly female perspective on the art produced during the period that will appeal to readers interested in the history of art, war history and cultural studies.
"Catherine Speck's new book is a gem. Beautifully illustrated, well-researched, and readable, it sheds light on the role of women near the front lines and on the home front during both World Wars. The reader will find much that is new in this valuable contribution to art and social history. Especially interesting is the authors discovery of many talented but little known artists."--Bruce Cole, former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and Sen
Catherine Speck is Professor of Art History at the University of Adelaide. She has published widely on women, war and art; modernism, cosmopolitanism and expatriatism; and the relationship between exhibitions and art histories.