From Georgia Peach to Art Historian

Reflections on a Southern Jewish Childhood

Composition VIII, Wassily Kandinsky, 1923, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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From Georgia Peach to Art Historian

Reflections on a Southern Jewish Childhood

by Gail Levin
Southern Cultures, Vol. 24, No. 2: Summer 2018

“My hope is that writing about how I found my way might help others who still search.”

Attraction to the visual arts led me to defy my parents. My mother taught me to paint, but could not imagine me succeeding in a field where she had not. My father envisioned no future for a daughter apart from mother and wife, in keeping with both the prejudices of southern society in his generation and the middle-class aspirations of poor immigrant Jews from Eastern Europe. Neither southern nor Jewish culture celebrated women artists during the 1950s and early 1960s, when I was growing up. Nor did any female artists figure in the major college textbooks used across America in 1965 when I entered college.

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