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Lipton, Eunice

Date born:  1941

Place Born:  Bronx, NY

Date died:

Place died:

Feminist art historian of French art.  Lipton was the daughter of Louis and Trudy Lipton.   Her father was a Jewish immigrant, originally from Latvia, now a businessman/entrepreneur;  her mother a bookkeeper. Both parents held strong Marxist views.  From an early age, she manifested an interest in things French, her first trip to that country was made when she was 19.  Lipton attended the City College of the City University of New York, earning a B.A. in 1962, continuing at New York University for her M.A., 1965.  The same year she began teaching at University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, as an instructor in art history. In 1970 she moved to  Bard College, NY, as an instructor in art history and then to Hunter College of the City University of New York, as an assistant professor of art history in 1973, all the while pursuing her Ph.D. at NYU under Robert Goldwater (q.v.).  After Goldwater's death, she received her doctorate in 1975, with a  dissertation written under Gert Schiff (q.v.) on the critical reception to Picasso.  She was an organizing member of Caucus For Marxism and Art between 1976-1980.  She joined Parsons School of Design, New York--again as a lecturer--in 1978.  Lipton became an associate professor of art history at the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1980.  She married the painter Ken Aptekar (b. 1950), in 1984. After lecturing as Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor at Williams College and Clark Art Institute in 1986, she left Binghamton in 1988, teaching as a visiting artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago the same year.   She joined New York University as a member of Institute for the Humanities seminar on sexuality, gender, and consumer culture in 1987.  She was a founding member of the Fantastic Coalition of Women in the Arts in 1989. In 1992, Lipton published Alias Olympia: A Woman's Search for Manet's Notorious Model and Her Own Desire.  The book focuses on the life of Victorine Meurent, the model for Manet's Olympia. In 2000, Lipton was interviewed about Manet's Olympia for a WGBH/PBS TV program, "The Shock of the Nude: Manet's Olympia."

Lipton was among the first wave of feminists to write on and critique contemporary art-historical practice.  Critics have observed that much of her writing, despite its subject, is autobiographical, either in her fascination with French culture, her father (a dominant force in her life), or the Holocaust.  Her 2000 essay, "Hill Behind the House," reviewed her approach to art history through her Judaism.

Home Country:  United States

Sources:  Lipton, Eunice. French Seduction: An American's Encounter with France, Her Father, and the Holocaust. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2007; Lipton, Eunice. "Hill Behind the House: an Ashkenazi Jew and Art History." in, Mirzoeff, Nicholas, ed. Diaspora and Visual Culture: Representing Africans and Jews.  New York: Routledge,  2000, pp. 179-189;  Lipton, Eunice. "History of an Encounter." in, Freedman, Diane P., and Frey, Olivia, eds. Autobiographical Writing Across the Disciplines: a Reader.  Durham, NC: Duke University Press,  2003, pp.257-262 [excerpt of  Alias Olympia, below].

Bibliography: [dissertation:] Picasso Criticism, 1901-1939: The Making of an Artist-Hero.  New York University, 1975, published, New York: Garland, 1976; Looking into Degas: Uneasy Images of Women and Modern Life.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987; Alias Olympia: A Woman's Search for Manet's Notorious Model and Her Own Desire. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1992; The Shock of the Nude: Manet's Olympia.  WGBH Educational Foundation/PBS Video, 2000;  French Seduction: An American's Encounter with France, Her Father, and the Holocaust. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2007.

Subject's name: Eunice Lipton