Female artists have not been celebrated as much as their male counterparts in art history. However, according to an article by The Art Newspaper, some of these talented women are starting to be more widely recognized in the art world.
There has been an effort over the last few years to give these “Old Mistresses” a much deserved opportunity to shine. Recently, more female artists, including Vigée Le Brun, Peeters, Carlile, Gentileschi, and others have started having their work displayed in prominent art museums and having their own exhibitions.
Even though many of these women were successful while they were alive, they have faded into the background, but by failing to acknowledge and study them for so long, the world has missed out on a great deal of beauty that resulted from skill and determination.
An art dealer named Bendor Grosvenor who bought a piece by Joan Carlile at an auction for a low price in 2014 and resold it to the Tate, told The Art Newspaper that “It is sometimes the case that female artists, because they were obliged to operate outside the usual systems of patronage and study, painted in styles that [look] less like their peers.” The fact that they operated outside of those systems also contributed to their lack of recognition.
Currently, there is not a very large supply of known work by female artists before the 20th Century, but the article notes that female artists’ lack of prominence may mean that many have not been recognized yet. There may be much more work by known artists and many new artists to discover.
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Featured image (self portrait by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun) credit: The Met