October 9, 2018
Work by Distinguished University Professor Emerita Joanne Leonard has entered the permanent collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The work, Romanticism is Ultimately Fatal, is a 1972 black-and-white film transparency and photomechanical reproduction. A description of Leonard’s work in the Met’s digital catalog is as follows:
“Working within a framework she calls “intimate documentary,” Leonard is known for her pioneering use of photo-collage to explore the intersection between her personal life and feminist politics. This work belongs to a series called “Dreams and Nightmares,” which was inspired by the end of her marriage and her subsequent disillusionment with conventional ideas of romance. Decades before the availability of digital editing programs such as Photoshop, Leonard created this composite image by layering a black-and-white transparency of a corner window over an illustration of a knight and damsel on horseback clipped from a book on Arthurian legend. In a 2008 monograph on her work, the artist writes, “…the women’s movement helped me (and other women) understand of the work’s larger themes—that ‘romance’ is a powerful cover often masking the very bad deal marriage can sometimes be, especially for women.” This work was reproduced in the third edition of H.W. Janson’s History of Art (1986), the first version of this widely used textbook to include work by women artists.”
Romanticism Is Ultimately Fatal by Joanne Leonard.