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Exhibition Drawn to Purpose

Themes and Genres

Amid the post-Civil War boom in the publishing industry, illustration and cartoon art flourished and, by the early twentieth century, became defining features in many newspapers, magazines, and books. Selections in the exhibition are grouped by type: Golden Age illustration, early comics, new voices in comics, editorial illustration, magazine covers and cartoons, and political cartoons. This opening cluster contains examples of each, reflecting themes that recur across genres and time periods, while encompassing a dazzling variety of styles and media. Collectively, these drawings include images that chronicle changes in women’s roles and gender relations, as well as demonstrate how female artists have expanded their subject matter to address issues that involve not only women, but all people.