Linda Nochlin

Linda Nochlin, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, ca. 1960s.

FOR THOSE OF US who knew her, there is no summing up Linda Nochlin. Where to start? With “Matisse Swan Self” (the title of the poem she wrote about a drawing of a swan Matisse made the year she was born)? With the Royal Portal of Chartres (the subject of a lecture that Adolf Katzenellenbogen gave one day to the students at Vassar, where Linda went to college, and where the Portal and the doors of art history opened for her)? Or with her recipe for meat loaf? The pink lemonade promised by the Utopian Charles Fourier? All these things mattered to her, but many other things did as well—her family, her politics, early music, the ballet, her cats, her friends. The life of her mind went together with life.

Perhaps it makes the most sense for me to start in the dark theater of Taylor Hall, where Vassar art history was and is taught. There, her voice, sounding like no one else’s, held

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