Warja Lavater (Swiss, 1913–2007), detail from Le Petite Chaperon Rouge, 1965, lithograph on accordion-fold book.

Twentieth Century Women

Fourth-Floor Gallery
Time Period
February 13, 2021 - September 26, 2021

20th Century Women examines the groundbreaking achievements of women artists represented in the Bechtler collection. The exhibition features over seventy works by approximately twenty-eight artists who have made enormous contributions to twentieth century modernism and its legacies.

20th Century Women highlights artists of diverse nationalities and points to the existence of modernism outside the city-centers of New York, Paris, and London by featuring artists from Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Argentina, and Poland. In addition, a number of Swiss artists and their contributions to the field of printmaking are highlighted. The exhibition traces threads through various generations of artists working in different times and places, celebrating the universal and humanizing language of modern art. 

Installed in the Fourth Floor Gallery, 20th Century Women includes a small number of borrowed art works to compliment and deepen the contextualization of the works in the Bechtler’s permanent collection, expanding awareness of artists who are not as well known in the United States. Large scale images of artists at work in their studios are designed to create an environment to contextualize the artworks and draw attention to their varied working methods and mediums, including: painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, collage, prints, textiles, and video. A selection of rarely seen items from the Bechtler’s library and archive on display contextualize many of the featured artists’ personal relationships with the Bechtler family. 

20th Century Women featured in the exhibition include: Betty Parsons (American, 1900-1982), Gertrud Debrunner (Swiss, 1902-2000), Lisbeth Bissier (German, 1903-1989), Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975), Germaine Richier (French, 1904-1959), Cornelia Forster (Swiss, 1906-1990), Elsy Wiskemann (Swiss, 1906- 2004), Maria Helena Vieira da Silva (Portuguese, 1908-1992), Anna-Eva Bergman (Swedish, 1909-1987), Hedde Stern (Romanian, 1910-2011), Alicia Penalba (Argentina, 1913-1982), Meret Oppenheim (German, 1913-1985), Warja Lavater (Switzerland, 1913-2007), Elizabeth Thalman (Swiss, 1918-2000), Maria Scotoni (Swiss, 1920-2015), Katherina Sallenbach (Swiss, 1920-2013), Gillian Jagger (British, 1930-2019), Niki de Saint Phalle (French, 1930-2002), Vera Isler-Leiner (German, 1931-2015), Bridget Riley (British, 1931 - ), Audrey Flack (American, 1931-), Maud Gatewood (American, 1934-2004), Isabel Quintanilla (Spanish, 1938- 2017),Heidi Künzler (Swiss, b. 1943), Catherine Bolle (Swiss, b. 1956), Barbara Heé (Swiss, b. 1957), Elizabeth R. Turk (American, b. 1961- ), and Maja Godlewska (Polish, 1965 - ).