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Praise for Mary Gabriel’s Ninth Street Women

"Gripping and enthralling. Mary Gabriel made me share every turbulent moment of these remarkable women’s lives. A magisterial reference, this book will be the definitive text for years to come. It is also the most devastatingly accurate portrayal of five women who had the temerity to call themselves artists in the male-dominated twentieth century"

author of Al Capone: His Life, Legacy, and Legend

“Masterful. Mixing critical insight with juicy storytelling, Mary Gabriel brings five brilliant female painters to the fore of the art revolution that cut a wide swath in postwar America.”

author of Joan Mitchell: Lady Painter

“A necessary, urgent history of art and a rollicking good read to boot. Here at long last is the full chronicle of Abstract Expressionism: the stories of five remarkable women artists who created the first thoroughly American art movement alongside the men who would be famous first.” 

author of Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order)

“I loved every page of this necessary book. At last we see such once sidelined artists as Joan Mitchell and Elaine de Kooning in depth, and both the telling gossip of their lives and the brave authenticity of their work is thrilling. Mary Gabriel restores the humanist ambition at the core of all the New York painters of this era, whether male or female—the boldness of their risky lives and the seriousness of their noble enterprise.”

author of Rumi’s Secret: The Life of the Sufi Poet of Love

“Sheer delight. A richly detailed epic starring not only five heroic female painters, but a supporting cast that defines the entire existential and Beat era, from Frank O’Hara to Billie Holiday to Samuel Beckett. Gabriel’s vision of Lee Krasner jazz dancing with Piet Mondrian alone is worth the price of the book. With palpable empathy for the flawed brilliance of her five stars, their jealous foes, and their long-suffering enablers, Gabriel conjures the high-risk paths they chose, what making great art cost their lives, and what they lost and won in the end.” 

director of Acquavella Galleries and author of Seeing Slowly: Looking at Modern Art

“A colorful narrative as compelling as a novel. Gabriel brilliantly shows how the women of Abstract Expressionism carved out paths for themselves in an often hostile community, fashioning careers and producing exciting work fully as important as that of their male peers—men whom they befriended, married, bedded, or disdained.”

author of Ernest Hemingway: A Biography 

“A fascinating, meticulously researched account of five painters who broke through the gender barriers in the art world of the 1950s. Gabriel is deft at teasing out the behind-the-scenes drama in these women’s lives and careers. Essential reading for any student of the period, and of the New York School generally.”

author of How to See: Looking, Talking, and Thinking about Art

“A sweeping panorama of American art history in the decades around World War II—specifically Abstract Expressionism and the rise of U.S. art world dominance internationally. A major contribution to the literature of twentieth-century cultural and social history.”

author of Berenice Abbott: A Life in Photography


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