The Advancing Women Artists Foundation recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. Jane Fortune, the foundation’s founder and The Florentine’s culture editor, takes us on a walk down “Memory Lane”.
Over the last decade, more than 40 works by women artists have been restored to their original dignity and returned to the museum spotlight. So, you might say that AWA is “over the hill”! Veteran readers of The Florentine will remember the foundation’s last 10 years in Florence as active participants.
Do you remember…
…how we paid tribute to untold stories of women and their monuments in the Pantheon of Italian Glories during “Santa Croce in Pink”? Félicie De Fauveau’s 1851 sculpture was restored on that occasion, making her the project’s “godmother”.
…the discovery of 2,000+ works by historic women in Florence, which gave rise to the “Women’s Artists Trail” and later morphed into the book Invisible Women? Were you with us at the Odeon when it became an Emmy-winning documentary in 2013?
…when AWA first founded its “Nelli Awards” to honor outstanding modern-day women who contribute to the city’s art scene as artists, restorers, patronesses and museum directors?
…Pitti’s controversy of leaving Bathsheba’s eye “un-painted” when restorers feared that too much repainting of Artemisia Gentileschi’s David and Bathsheba would mean it was no longer “by the artist”?
…when we realized a hammer had been taken to Plautilla Nelli’s San Salvi lunette to correct the panel’s historic warping? Initially considered beyond repair, this large-scale work by Florence’s first woman artist was re-delivered to the museum spotlight in 2009.
…when we climbed the scaffolding of Santissima Annunziata to discover how 18th-century painter Irene Duclos donned her hoop-skirts and did the same to trace Andrea del Sarto’s Madonna del Sacco?
…when we ‘stormed’ Wikipedia with an avalanche of new articles on women artists, thanks to multiple Editing Marathons designed to correct the voracious online gender gap?
…when we first launched “Women Artists of the 1900s” with Il Palmerino, a biannual extravaganza that has researched, restored and exhibited works by Elisabeth Chaplin, Lola Costa, Adriana Pincherle and Eloisa Pacini.
…when comedian and TV presenter Michael Palin, feminist scholar Mary Garrard and filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli jumped on the bandwagon to help promote AWA’s mission throughout the world?
…when we traipsed all over Italy to interview living “Flood” Ladies who donated their work to the city in 1966 to replace the art lost in the flood, which resulted in the publication of the book When the World Answered: Florence, Women Artists and the 1966 Flood. Their restored works are currently on display at the Museo Novecento’s exhibition “Beyond Borders”.
Here’s to many more memories to the benefit of art by women in Florence!