Invisible Women: Forgotten artists of Florence
Invisible works. Remarkable artists. Who were these extraordinary women painters and why are many of their works still hidden from the public eye? Jane Fortune, author, art collector and founder of two associations aimed at the recuperation and rediscovery of art by women in the Florence museums, takes the reader on the trail of women artists whose talent and courage represent a fundamental part of the city’s artistic identity. Which unique challenges spurred their creative journeys and what unique episodes propelled their lives and times? And, most importantly, what can be done today to reclaim this captivating yet unfamiliar part of Florence’s cultural heritage?
There are 1,500 works by women artists are currently stored in Florence’s various deposits, most of which have not been on public view for centuries.
Are all of these works of a high artistic standard? We’ll never know unless they are seen.
Do they require restoration? We’ll never know unless they are examined.
Is it possible to delve into the abyss of the past and rescue them from obscurity ? We’ll never know unless we try.
Known as Indiana Jane for her commitment to salvaging damaged works from the entrails of the city’s storehouses, Fortune’s new book, Invisible Women celebrates the city’s hidden treasures and provokes a passionate quest that will lead readers to the whos, wheres and whys of the city’s forgotten half.
The Emmy award winning documentary
A documentary after this book was produced by WFYI Productions from Indianapolis, and was aired on American public television (Public Broadcasting Service). In June 2013, this tv program won an Emmy award as the Best Documentary in the Cultural/Historical Program category. It was screened at a major event in Florence soon after.
On the cover
The cover of this book features a detail from a painting by Artemisia Gentileschi of David and Betsabea, the restoration of which was funded by Jane Fortune and the Advancing Women Artists Foundation. Hear the restorer speak about the rediscovery of the figure of David who was hidden in the shadows of the work:
When The World Answered
Florence is a city that never stops giving. This is a story of gifts: of artists and the paintings and sculptures they gave to a beloved city in a time of great need. In the wake of the disaster of the 1966 flood, which damaged countless works of art, the government of Florence called for donations of artworks to fulfill a dream of creating a “modern-day Uffizi” that would reclaim the city’s place at the forefront of the world’s art scene. And the world answered. Italy-loving artists from as far as Cuba, the United States, and Poland gave works to the city as a gesture of solidarity. Among them were numerous women whose stories and interviews offer a personal look at twentieth-century creativity in Italy. When the World Answered reveals their unsung art treasures and continues the Advancing Women Artists Foundation’s quest to reclaim the legacy of women artists in Florence, through publication, restoration and exhibition of their works.
Jane Fortune is founder and chair of the Advancing Women Artists Foundation and cultural editor of The Florentine. In 2007, she authored her first book, To Florence, Con Amore followed by Invisible Women: Forgotten Artists of Florence in 2009, which inspired an Emmy-award winning documentary of the same title in 2013. A philanthropist, lecturer and art collector, Dr. Fortune serves on several museum boards, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the National Advisory Board of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C. and the Indiana University Art Museum in Bloomington. She received an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from Indiana University in 2010 and was honored 2010 by the Indiana Historical Society with its Living Legends Award in 2014. In Florence, she is on the Board of Trustees of the Medici Archive Project, where she has endowed a pilot program dedicated to researching women artists in the age of the Medici.
Linda Falcone is director of the Advancing Women Artists Foundation in Italy. She is co-author with Jane Fortune of Art by Women in Florence: A Guide through Five Hundred Years. She is also author oftwo nonfiction books, Italians Dance and I’m a Wallflower and If They Are Roses: The Italian Way with Words, as well as the novel Moving Days. Editor of Santa Croce in Pink: Untold Stories of Women and their Monuments and Chaplin and Costa: Rediscovering Expat Women Painters in Tuscany, she has also co-authored several documentaries on women artists including Félicie de Fauveau: A French Sculptor in Florence during the Grand Tour. She is also a lecturer and adjunct professor of Italian Culture and Travel Writing for various American university programs abroad.
THE DOCUMENTARY FILM
This book is the subject of a documentary film by PBS, following the Emmy-award winning success of the same director’s documentary based on Jane Fortune’s last book about female artists, Invisible Women. The world premiere of this film is on October 20, 2015, at 6:30pm at Florence’s Odeon Theatre.