Linda Nochlin (1931-2017) was an American feminist art historian. She wrote groundbreaking essays on women artists and their place in the art world. In 1973, she was captured in a painting by Alice Neel entitled ‘Linda Nochlin and Daisy’. This work portrays both Nochlin and her daughter Daisy sitting on a sofa. Neel’s piece is an intimate portrait of motherhood with the blue couch serving as an unexpected backdrop for such a touching moment between the two figures. What’s most striking about this painting is how it celebrates the relationship between mother and daughter, which often goes overlooked in society.
Nochlin’s portrait is an essential part of art history for its insight into female experience, resilience, and power. At its core, it speaks to everyone who identifies as a woman who has to face challenges that are unique to them in today’s world. Perhaps even more so, it also serves as a reminder to current generations that no matter what life throws at us, we can draw strength from those we share our lives with.
Another important piece that depicted female bonds through portraiture is Elizabeth Murray’s 1984 work ‘Can You Hear Me?’. This brightly coloured painting portrays two women seated side by side; one turns her face to the other while they appear to enjoy each other’s company – creating an image of warmth and companionship which resonates with anyone who looks upon its beauty. Through this painting, Murray highlights feelings of connection between women – something that is certainly apparent in both Neel’s ‘Linda Nochlin and Daisy’ as well as countless other pieces of artwork today