Susie Barstow: Piercing through the Snowstorm of American Art History

Jack Landers Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Peter Wang Butler University
The eyes of the audience sink into a thick wood but a soft light floats through the scene to entice them deeper in. This detail is a telltale giveaway to the art of Susie M. Barstow. Barstow was the daughter of a poor merchant family yet became a prominent American landscape painter that lived from 1836-1923. Being a woman in any field came with distinct challenges in the 1800’s. Any artist, specifically American artists in this period rich in landscape specialists, should have access to education, materials, and scenery to paint. All three of these were difficult to access as a lone woman during the 19th century and yet, Barstow persisted and excelled. Not only was Barstow an educated woman, but she was an educator herself. According to an art student of hers from the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, she had scaled “all the principal peaks of the Catskills, the Adrinacks, and the White Mountains as well as those of the Alps, the Tyrol, and the Black Forest, often tramping twenty-five miles a day, and sketching as well, oft in the midst of a blinding snowstorm”. Susie Barstow was, if nothing else, dedicated to her craft, her students, and to overcoming the challenges that came with existing during the 19th century as a woman. Barstow may not be a household name like Cole or Church, but her contributions to American art make her a crucial artist and woman in U.S. history.
Art/Art History
Oral Presentation

When & Where

09:45 AM
Lilly Hall 141