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EX LIBRIS: Esther Pressoir with Suzanne Scanlan

Fri, May 17 @ 5:30 pm6:30 pm

Art Historian and RISD Faculty Suzanne Scanlan introduces her book Esther Pressoir: A Modern Woman’s Painter (Lund Humphries, 2024).

Esther Estelle Pressoir (1902-86) was born in Woonsocket, RI and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in painting and drawing. Coming of age in the 1920s, Pressoir embraced the modern art scene in America and abroad. She spent summers with the Provincetown art colony and moved through the studios, galleries, and nightclubs of jazz-age New York. She punctuated her formal education with an unprecedented 18,000 km bicycle trip across Europe in 1927, where she developed her personal style. Pressoir’s provocative renderings of the female nude include unabashed self-portraits and intimate depictions of her models and lovers that challenged the status quo.

Following a slide presentation, Conor Moynihan (RISD Museum Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs) will join Suzanne for a conversation about Pressoir and the recent installation of her work at the RISD Museum.


Suzanne Scanlan is an art historian living in Providence, RI. After receiving her PhD in History of Art & Architecture at Brown University, she joined the faculty of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where she teaches in the Department of Theory & History of Art & Design. Her research centers on women as artists, patrons, and collectors from the Renaissance through the Modern period, and she is the author of Divine and Demonic Imagery at Tor de’Specchi, 1400–1500: Religious Women and Art in Fifteenth Century Rome. Suzanne also serves on the faculty of the Providence Clemente Veterans Initiative.