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Early Affirmative Action
We are tempted today to think that women artists operated strictly outside the established art circles until at least the advent of the twentieth century. Actually, that's not quite the case. The Royal Academy of art in England, founded in 1768 by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and run sort of as his private key club until his retirement in 1790, did, in fact, have two female members. These two women were Angelica Kauffmann, primarily a portrait painter, and Mary Moser of whom little is known. Now before you think the inclusion of women to be quite noble of these British art establishmentarians, keep in mind there were something on the order of perhaps 100 male members, and the two female members were, in fact, admitted strictly to fill a quota. Talk about your affirmative action!

Contributed by Lane, Jim
31 December 1997


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