Judy Chicago – Through the Flower
Dimensions: 36.5 x 36.25″ framed / 31 x 30.5″ paper
Medium: serigraph on paper
“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 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.
-Tonya Turner Carroll
Judy Chicago’s “Through the Flower” is one of the landmark works of Chicago’s early feminist phase. Created by the artist after Chicago’s decade-long struggle in a male-dominated art community, “Through the Flower” marked the artist’s newfound embrace of abstract and more accessible imagery while still being able to communicate her feminist viewpoint. This is one of Chicago’s most iconic images and recurs throughout her six decade career.
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 to champion female is an iconic image by Judy Chicago, who is one of the most important contemporary artists of the last 100 years.
“Through the Flower” is one of Judy Chicago’s most beloved images of her career.