Eliza Pratt Greatorex (1819–1897) was America’s most famous woman artist in the mid-nineteenth century, but today she is all but forgotten. Beginning with her Irish roots, this biography brings her art and life back into focus. Breaking conventions for female artists at that time, Greatorex specialized in landscapes and streetscapes, traveling from the Hudson River to the Colorado Rockies and across Europe and North Africa. Her crowning achievement, a monumental tome of drawings and narratives titled Old New York, awakened the public to the destruction of the city’s architectural heritage during the post–Civil War era. Exploring Greatorex’s fierce ambition and creative path, Katherine Manthorne reveals how her success at forging an independent career in a male-dominated world shaped American gender politics, visual culture, and urban consciousness.
About the Author
Katherine Manthorne is Professor of Art History at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. An award-winning art historian, she is the author of monographs on Martha Mitchell, Frederic Church, Louis Mignot, and James Suydam.
“One of the best things about this book is that, in spite of its multitextured account of the artist’s life and work, the reader wants to know more about women artists in this period. . . . The author’s clear and accessible prose helps the reader digest the multifaceted view that emerges from the book.”
— Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art