Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Contemporary Art

First Advisor

Stephanie Jeanjean

Second Advisor

Agnes Berecz


Art historian Linda Nochlin (1931-2017) is known for her feminist art history practice and particularly her article “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” (1971). This essay examines Nochlin’s early life, education, and early career as an art historian to gain a perspective into her life and beliefs that led her to feminist art history. The first chapter focuses on Nochlin’s early life and education, examining Nochlin’s relationship to culture and art as she discovers her identity and becomes an art historian. In chapter two, I discuss Nochlin’s discovery of feminism in 1969, using her interviews and autobiographical writings on her encounters with the Women’s Liberation Movement. This leads to a discussion on Nochlin’s pioneering class “Women and Art,” forging the path of a feminist art history practice. The final chapter analyzes Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” as she dismissed other feminist approaches to discussing women and art to address the root cause of discrimination against women artists to be in the educational and institutional opportunities. Nochlin’s art historical studies of Realism, her concern with identity, and her passion for the intersection of art and politics discussed in this essay merged in her article “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” and established a groundbreaking perspective on the biases of the art historical canon.