Prints and Drawings
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Full-size image not available for download. Please contact Rights and Reproductions.
PrevNext2 of 2
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Full-size image not available for download. Please contact Rights and Reproductions.
Artist: Judith Bernstein, American, born 1942, B.F.A. 1967, M.F.A. 1967

Anthurium IV, from The Peterdi Years: Alumni Portfolio

1982–83

Etching and aquatint

image: 20.3 × 19.9 cm (8 × 7 13/16 in.)
sheet: 75.9 × 56.5 cm (29 7/8 × 22 1/4 in.)
Art School Transfer
1987.12.6

Judith Bernstein’s Anthurium IV offers an unexpected vantage on the anthurium, a common houseplant with waxy red leaves and a prominent spadix, or stalk. The artist etched the outline of the flower in sweeping, calligraphic strokes against an atmospheric, aquatinted background. In Bernstein’s work, the anthurium is a metaphor for the complexities of sexuality, power, and gender—issues that have long preoccupied her. At left, the spadix, massively enlarged, forcefully juts up through the composition. Despite its phallic shape, the anthurium spadix is a carrier for numerous tiny flowers, each containing both male and female structures. This tension between appearances and anatomical subtleties allows Bernstein to make a nuanced, yet unsparing critique of masculinist violence.

Geography: 
Made in United States
Culture: 
American
Period: 
20th century
Classification: 
Works on Paper - Prints
Bibliography: 

Lisa Hodermarsky et al., On the Basis of Art: 150 Years of Women at Yale, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2021), 14, 72, 120–21, 155, no. 19, fig. 1.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.