(Women) Artists, our auction sale dedicated to female artists across the centuries, spans over 400 years. From Old Masters to the 21st century, the auction is led by Cecily Brown’s Twice Told Tales II and includes work by key artists from throughout history, many of whom have been categorised or marginalised over time. Encompassing works by the likes of Lavinia Fontana, Rachel Ruysch, Dame Laura Knight, Berthe Morisot, Dorothea Tanning, Dame Elisabeth Frink, Cindy Sherman, Dame Magdalene Odundo and Helen Frankenthaler among others, the auction will explore the art historical contributions and personal stories of these artists across 400 years.
Celebrating 400 Years of (Women) Artists
A New Materiality
1663Mary Beale wrote Observations, an instruction on painting apricots using oils. The work marks one of the earliest writings on oil painting instruction to come out of England by an artist of either gender.
Portrait, wearing a white shirt and brown jacket
1768Angelica Kauffman and Mary Moser were founding members of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Portion of Old Somerset House, occupied by the Royal Academy, wood-engraving
1791In Paris, the Salon, the exhibition of work founded by the Academy, became open to non-Academic painters in 1791, allowing women (including Berthe Morisot between 1864–1873) to showcase their work in the prestigious annual exhibition.
Danseuse de corde
1861The Royal Academy Schools in London begins admitting women.
Students of the Royal Academy Schools, circa 1906
1915Women from the United States and Europe meet in The Hague in the Netherlands for the first International Congress of Women.
International Congress of Women in 1915
1918Hannah Höch and Raoul Hausmann began creating photomontages. Calling into question the very ways that society viewed itself. The technique came to prominence as a Dadaist form of political protest during the First World War and was later adopted by Surrealist (including Dorothea Tanning) and Pop artists.
Begegnung mit dem Wesensfremden (Encounter with the Strange Being)
1929Lillie P. Bliss, Mary Quinn Sullivan, and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, three progressive and influential patrons of the arts were inspired to challenge the conservative policies of traditional museums and opened the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
Photograph of Lillie P. Bliss, c. 1924; Mary Quinn Sullivan; Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr.), 1922
1936Dame Laura Knight becomes the first woman elected to full membership of the Royal Academy, London.
Dame Laura Knight, R.A., R.W.S.
The Flower (The Gift)
1937Femme artistes d’Europe, one of the first international exhibitions dedicated entirely to women was held, at the Jeu de Paume, Paris. Amongst other artists, works by Marie Laurencin were exhibited.
Groupe de six jeunes femmes
1946MoMA’s first retrospective devoted to a woman artist explored the career of Georgia O’Keeffe.
1946 Georgia O’Keefe retrospective, Museum of Modern Art, New York
1949First edition copies of Simone de Beauvoir’s Le Deuxième Sexe, 1949
1952Helen Frankenthaler creates her breakthrough ‘stain’ painting Mountains and Sea, playing a pivotal role in the transition from gestural Abstract Expressionism to the meditative forms of Color Field painting.
1954Ladi Kwali became the first female trainee at Michael Cardew’s Pottery Training Centre (PTC) in Abuja.
1961Hepworth is commissioned to create the monumental Single Form, 1961-64 for the United Nations Building, New York. The work is her largest work and most significant public commission.
Height: 31.8cm., 12 1/2 in.
Executed in 1956 in an edition of six.
1963Betty Friedan publishes The Feminine Mystique, a key text for the women’s movement.
1964Sonia Delaunay is the first living female artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre.
Projet de decoration pour l'un des Pavillon de l'Exposition Internationale de Paris 1937
1968Bridget Riley represented Great Britain in the Venice Biennale, where she was the first British contemporary painter, and the first woman, to be awarded the International Prize for painting.
February 8th. 1987
1971Linda Nochlin’s seminal text ‘Why have there been no Great Women Artists?’ is published, asking and answering the question that kickstarting feminist art history.
Linda Nochlin in Paris 1978
1971At the California Institute of the Arts, Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro founded the first feminist art program.
Study for "Wishing it were true"
1993Rachel Whiteread was the first woman to win the Tate Gallery's Turner Prize (founded in 1984).
2021For the First Time in Its 200-Year History, the Rijksmuseum Features Women Artists in ‘Gallery of Honour’.
Forest floor still life with a pool