This exhibition""--now touring the country--""will be a success if it helps to remove once and for all the justification for any future exhibitions with this theme,"" writes Ann Sutherland Harris in concluding her survey of neglected women artists through the 18th century. Perhaps: but it is one of the real merits of this landmark volume that her collaborator, Linda Nochlin, takes a different, more specifically feminist approach in handling the more numerous and prominent women artists since the French Revolution. Harris discusses why, for instance, still life and pastels suited women; the danger for the women artist ""of being dismissed as a dilettante""; the great advantage that academic training gave to men: aspects, in short, of women's long inconsequence as artists. Nochlin, on the other hand, stresses the distinctiveness of women artists in the 19th century, and, in the 20th, examines individual figures only as they bear upon three provocative issues: women and the decorative arts (an equivocal, ultimately fruitful relationship); women artists and the question of national origin (why did they flourish in the USSR and under the New Deal?); the question of ""women's imagery"" (Modersohn-Becker vs. Kollwitz). Following their joint text--and 32 color plates--is a chronological catalog of the artists represented, with a concise critical biography of each and close, appreciative, often moving analysis of some key works. Impressive and certain to be influential.