Artemisia Gentileschi's Mary Magdalene, circa 1620. Estimate €200,000-300,000 ($277,000 – 415,000).

PARIS - Female artists become increasingly rare the further you retreat into art history and prior to the 18th century are virtually non-existent – or rather are not as well recorded and documented as their male counterparts. To present works by 17th century artists Artemisia Gentileschi and Louyse Moillon in the forthcoming sale of Old Masters and 19th century paintings in Paris on 26 June is therefore special – perhaps more so for a female specialist.

Gentileschi’s wonderful and powerful Mary Magdalene underlines why she was the first female member of the Florentine Academy of Drawing and is now one of the most celebrated painters of the era. It is joined by a peaceful and delicate Still life with Apricot and Peach on a Ledge by Moillon, who came from an artistic family and was a renowned painter of still lifes, working for the French nobility and Charles I in England.

Louyse Moillon's Still life with a bowl of Apricots, peaches and plums on an entablature, circa 1634. Estimate €200,000-300,000 ($277,000-415,000).

Last year, a wonderful still life by Moillon made an astonishing price of €1,033,500, breaking the previous world record for the artist. It is amazing then that the sale next week offers collectors the chance to acquire works by these exceptional artists.

Laure-Aline Demazure is a specialist in the Old Master Paintings & Drawings department, Sotheby’s France.