Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree

Spring 2015

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In

Art History

First Advisor

Craig Adcock

Abstract

Chana Orloff, a prolific sculptor during the first half of the twentieth century, completed hundreds of portraits of her contemporaries during her lifetime. Scholars have examined these portraits more generally within the overall context of her work. Still, however, the scholarly discourse on the artist herself is limited, lacking an extensive analysis on the portraits themselves. Utilizing a selection of Orloff’s portraits, this thesis seeks to understand her work in terms of the reconciliatory role played by portraiture in expressing various aspects of the artist’s own identity. In particular, this analysis hopes to better understand the artist’s personal and professional contacts in Paris as well as in Palestine. As an artist, woman, and Jew, Orloff’s portraits grant insight into her own relationship with these categorizations and alignment with various trends within a feminist discourse as well as French and Zionist political movements. As such, this thesis takes into consideration multiple methodological approaches, making use of a bibliographical, formalist, feminist, and social art historical perspectives. Ultimately, this investigation hopes to reveal a fundamental intersection between Orloff’s self-conception and the characterization of her surroundings.

Public Abstract

Chana Orloff, a prolific sculptor during the first half of the twentieth century, completed hundreds of portraits of her contemporaries during her lifetime. Scholars have examined these portraits more generally within the overall context of her work. Still, however, the scholarly discourse on the artist herself is limited, lacking an extensive analysis on the portraits themselves. Utilizing a selection of Orloff’s portraits, this thesis seeks to understand her work in terms of the reconciliatory role played by portraiture in expressing various aspects of the artist’s own identity. In particular, this analysis hopes to better understand the artist’s personal and professional contacts in Paris as well as in Palestine. As an artist, woman, and Jew, Orloff’s portraits grant insight into her own relationship with these categorizations and alignment with various trends within a feminist discourse as well as French and Zionist political movements. As such, this thesis takes into consideration multiple methodological approaches, making use of a bibliographical, formalist, feminist, and social art historical perspectives. Ultimately, this investigation hopes to reveal a fundamental intersection between Orloff’s self-conception and the characterization of her surroundings.

Keywords

publicabstract, Orloff

Pages

ix, 110 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 61-64).

Comments

This thesis has been optimized for improved web viewing. If you require the original version, contact the University Archives at the University of Iowa: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/sc/contact/.

Copyright

Copyright 2015 Willi Mendelsohn

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