Judy Chicago – Through the Flower, early edition

SKU: 25451

Artwork Description

Judy Chicago – Through the Flower, early edition

Dimensions: 29.25 x 29.25 x 0.5″ finished size
Year: 1999
Medium: etching and acrylic paint on laminated and mirrored glass
Edition: ed. 12/25

“Through the Flower” is perhaps the most well known image of Judy Chicago’s six decade career as an artist. It is autobiographically important to her not only as an image, but as a philosophy of life. Chicago combines her most potent symbol of female truth and beauty—the flower with parting petals—with the domestic material of glass that she desired to elevate into the realm of fine art. Throughout her career, Chicago has reiterated her own most iconic images across media, to allow their messages to take on different voice and perhaps reach audiences not reached before. Just as Georgia O’Keeffe’s early imagery continued to inform her work throughout her career, Chicago continues to iterate her most meaningful images across new media, as she explores how she can push the image to further expression of color, energy, and luminousity. The Through the Flower image, among other of Chicago’s iconic images, is like the heartbeat that continues throughout her career.

This particular version in glass was created as a small edition of 25. Chicago kept this particular work for her own collection until this time. Though Chicago created this artwork in 1999, the concept of working with vibrant color and black glass has continued to intrigue her. Her most recent body of work, titled “The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction” premiered at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in 2019, employing the same aesthetic of vibrant color on black glass.

Chicago writes in her autobiography “Through The Flower: My Struggle as a Woman Artist” “I felt myself…moving through the limits of the female role. I used the flower as a symbol of feminity…the petals of the flower are parting, and one can see an inviting but undefined space, the space beyond the confines of our own femininity…my longing for transcendence.…my first steps in being able to make clear, abstract images of my feelings as a woman.”

By using the central female image as a hallmark of her iconography, Chicago embraces the beauty and truth of that image for all women. Fittingly, Judy Chicago named the nonprofit she formed “to educate a broad public about the importance of art and its power in countering the erasure of women’s achievements” after this image and its underlying concept: Through the Flower.

Chicago says of this Through the Flower in glass that she worked with an artisan using a process that “involved laminating and etching, then painting glass. We did a few images together including the “Through the Flower.” The glass was laminated, then etched from behind and in the case of the ‘Through the Flower’ image, painted with sprayed acrylic.”

Judy Chicago’s artworks are found in the permanent collections of the world’s top museums. Gloria Steinem, upon introducing her long time friend as she was being honored by the Hammer Museum, famously said she could define art history as before and after Judy Chicago. There are numerous monographs and books about Judy Chicago, including the most recent monograph published by National Museum of Women in the Arts. Art historians and curators can search the Judy Chicago Portal, which combines her archives at Harvard, Penn State, and National Museum of Women in the Arts.  In 2020 Judy Chicago completed a widely acclaimed collaboration with Dior Couture in Paris, in which her Female Divine monumental sculpture was erected outside the Rodin Museum in Paris and housed her banners posing the question “What if Women Ruled the World?” Read more about why Dior invited her to collaborate with them.