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january 11, 2019 - Sotheby

The Women Who Dared to Paint: Sotheby’s Unveils ‘The Female Triumphant’

Sotheby's is pleased to unveil the full contents of The Female Triumphant – a group of masterworks by 14 trailblazing female artists from the 16th through the 19th centuries, which we will offer across our Masters Week sales this January in New York.

Calvine Harvey, Specialist in Sotheby's Old Master Paintings Department in New Yorkcommented: "Over the past five years and across the art world, both curators and collectors have been addressing the gender imbalance in their collections, actively investing in female artists who have historically been overlooked in scholarship and undervalued in the market relative to their male counterparts. For example, Sotheby's set a new auction record for any living female artist just last fall, when Jenny Saville's 'Propped' from 2014 sold for $12.4 million. However, in looking back to the Old Masters, there is still work to be done. In 2018 alone, Sotheby's sold only 14 works by female Old Masters – compared to 1,100 male artists. It's important to remember that the obstacles women artists of the pre-Modern era faced were substantial, and those that broke down those barriers were truly triumphant. It is our hope that shining a spotlight on these important artists will help to grow our knowledge of their work, expand scholarship, and deepen their impact on the ever-shifting trajectory of art history."

To mark his auction event, Sotheby's is thrilled to partner once again with Victoria Beckham. Following a trip to The Frick Collection in New York during which she fell in love with the Masters, the fashion designer hosted an exhibition of works from Sotheby's June 2018 auction of Old Master Paintings in the contemporary setting of her flagship Dover Street store in London. As a female designer hoping to empower women through her collections, Victoria was later inspired by the stories behind The Female Triumphant, and exhibited works by Fede Galizia, Angelika Kauffmann, Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun and Marie-Victoire Lemoine in her store in December. Looking ahead to our January exhibition, Victoria will again celebrate these female artists by co-hosting a reception in Sotheby's galleries and an intimate dinner at The Frick for the museum's young patrons and Sotheby's next-gen clients.

Speaking about the collaboration, #victoriabeckham said: "I am thrilled at the opportunity to collaborate once again with Sotheby's and for the first time with The Frick during New York Masters Week.  The theme of The Female Triumphant resonates strongly with me - and I am honoured to not only have been able to exhibit a small selection of the works of these female artists in my London flagship store, but to also be able to play a small part in this important moment in Old Masters sales.  It is not just the quality of these breathtaking works but also the story telling of these ground-breaking women that is so fascinating and important.   Both Sotheby's and The Frick have ignited my love of the Old Masters and it is a privilege to work alongside two institutions I admire so enormously.'

The Female Triumphant will be offered across Sotheby's Master Paintings Evening Sale on 30 January, Master Paintings & Sculpture Day Sale on 31 January and the 19th-Century European Art auction on 1 February. All 21 works will open for public exhibition in our New York galleries on 25 January.

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