Happy Pride Month! To honor the history of Pride and of LGBTQ+ individuals in the arts, we have compiled a selection of books from the Frick Art Reference Library that highlights the work of queer artists and scholars. The titles below explore the contributions and communities of LGBTQ+ artists and their continuing influence on today’s culture.
View these books in person by visiting our reading room at Frick Madison, open by appointment. For those who cannot visit the library in person, we invite you to discover the two listed e-books online and to learn more about our complimentary document delivery service.
Lesbian Decadence: Representations in Art and Literature of Fin-de-Siècle France
By Nicole G. Albert (2016)
At the turn of the twentieth century in France, there was a community of lesbian artists who lived and worked together on the Left Bank of Paris, sometimes called “Paris-Lesbos.” Through a wide array of archival resources, Nicole G. Albert explores the emergence of this community and the renewed interest in the poems of Sappho and other literary works of antiquity that inspired their work. Albert also looks at how these communities of independent women caused new social anxieties about gender roles.
Pride & Joy: Taking the Streets of New York City
By Jurek Wajdowicz (2016)
Compiled by photographer Jurek Wajdowicz, this e-book showcases the joy and merriment of New York City’s Pride Parade. Interspersed with statements from attendees, the book’s photographs of marchers and prominent figures in the LGBTQ+ community provide insights into what the annual celebration of Pride means to the community and to the city. (Browse online with a free Internet Archive account.)
A Hidden Love: Art and Homosexuality
By Dominique Fernandez (2002)
This book considers the ways in which homosexuality has been represented in works of art throughout history. With beautifully illustrated examples from antiquity through the twentieth century, the author surveys the recurring symbols and themes that appear within artworks expressing same-sex love and intimacy.
Intimate Companions: A Triography of George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Lincoln Kirstein, and Their Circle
By David Leddick (2000)
This three-pronged biography uncovers new information about the communities of gay artists who lived in New York City in the early to mid-twentieth century. Through interviews and access to artists’ personal papers, the author pieces together a rich history of these communities and explores the way they impacted the work of photographer George Platt Lynes, artist Paul Cadmus, and writer and art connoisseur Lincoln Kirstein.
Eccentric Modernisms: Making Differences in the History of American Art
By Tirza True Latimer (2017)
In this book, Tirza True Latimer seeks to remedy the erasure of LGBTQ+ artists in art history by centering the influence of writer and art collector Gertrude Stein and the queer artists in her Paris-based social circle. Through three different works—an artists’ book, a ballet, and a magazine—Latimer examines the contexts from which these pieces emerged and traces their notable influences on later American art.
Trans and Genderqueer Subjects in Medieval Hagiography
Edited by Alicia Spencer-Hall and Blake Glutt (2021)
The second in a series presenting new research on medieval hagiography (biographies of saints), this volume presents exciting findings concerning the ways in which gender identity within these texts functions beyond the binary. By analyzing examples of transgender individuals in these medieval religious works, the authors challenge the notion that trans and genderfluid identities are a modern phenomenon. (Read online through JSTOR Open Access.)
Art is a Tyrant: The Unconventional Life of Rosa Bonheur
By Catherine Hewitt (2020)
Rosa Bonheur was a widely acclaimed animalière, celebrated for her realistic paintings of animals from domestic sheep to wild lions. The popularity of her animal scenes—such as The Horse Fair—led her to become one of the most famed artists of the nineteenth century, and the first female artist to be awarded the French Legion of Honor. In this book, Catherine Hewitt discusses Rosa Bonheur’s paintings, how she created lifelike depictions of animals, and explores Bonheur’s personal life including her gender identity and relationships with women.
Speaking for Vice: Homosexuality in the Art of Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, and the First American Avant-Garde
By Jonathan Weinberg (1993)
Jonathan Weinberg investigates how the American modernist artists Charles Demuth and Marsden Hartley managed to express their identities in their works as they navigated living as gay artists in a time period and social circle that was hostile to homosexuality. The author also examines the symbols and codes employed by both artists to signal their identities to those in the know while escaping the notice of others, as well as discussing the lasting effects that the work of Demuth and Hartley had on modern American art.
All photos by Joseph Coscia Jr., The Frick Collection