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Women Artists Shows· Salons· Societies 1870s-1970s

Women Artists’ Salon of Chicago (1937-1953): Cultivating Careers and Art Collectors

Joanna Gardner-Huggett


This article reconstructs the history of the Women Artists’ Salon of Chicago, which was founded as an exhibition society in Chicago in 1937, and argues that the Board of Directors turned to the 19th-century precedents of the Palette Club and the Woman’s Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition as models for their organization. The essay also traces how members of the Women Artists’ Salon deliberately exhibited traditional artworks associated with the feminine and domestic and coordinated social events in order to cultivate greater sales and a new generation of female art collectors.


An associate professor at DePaul University, Joanna Gardner-Huggett’s research focuses on the intersection between feminism and arts activism. Her most recent scholarship explores the history of the Guerrilla Girls, the Feminist Art Workers, and the origins of the women artists’ cooperatives Artemisia Gallery in Chicago (1973-2003) and ARC (1973-present).

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