Works by women artists will be the focus of a new exhibition coming to the Baltimore Museum of Art in October.
“Making Her Mark: A History of Women Artists in Europe, 1400-1800” will showcase women artists from 15th- to 18th-century Europe.
“We are delighted to present this groundbreaking exhibition that will bring together exceptional works of art, craft, and design by women artists from a period and a field that has largely equated talent and artistic excellence with men, and painting and sculpture,” BMA Director Asma Naeem said in a statement.
The exhibition will open Oct. 1, 2023, and run through Jan. 7, 2024. It will later open in Toronto in March 2024.
The BMA co-organized “Making Her Mark” with the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). It is co-curated by Andaleeb Badiee Banta, BMA’s Senior Curator and Department Head of Prints, Drawings & Photographs, and Alexa Greist, and AGO’s Associate Curator and R. Fraser Elliot Chair, Prints & Drawings.
“The presence of women as makers remains largely anomalous or anonymized in the halls displaying pre-modern art of European and North American museums,” Banta said in a statement. “Their absence speaks to the biases inherent to the study of women’s artistic output as well as to the ongoing gendered notions of the heroic and spectacular as the standard measure of quality, significance, and legitimacy in Western culture.”
The exhibition will feature more than 175 objects, including royal portraits, devotional sculpture, tapestries, printed books, drawings, clothing, lace, metalwork, ceramics, furniture, and more.
“Making Her Mark challenges these criteria and promotes the depth and range of women’s innovation and acumen within the creation of art and the growth of the art business, working to establish a new, more expansive and inclusive art history that speaks to these achievements,” Banta said.
The exhibition will comprise four sections: “Faith & Power,” featuring works related to ruling classes and religious communities; “Interiority,” which focuses on domestic labor, interior decoration, and private arts of calligraphy, drawing, and embroidery; “The Scientific Impulse,” including naturalist drawings and paintings of plants and animals; and “The Entrepreneurial Spirit,” on the roles women held in arts production, promotion, and education.
“The exhibition explores women’s essential work in the development of new ideas, aesthetics, creative movements, and commerce of the time,” Naeem said. “By recontextualizing this period in history and offering these women artists the attention they deserve, we hope to inspire our community to reimagine what they have previously held to be true about both art and history, and to contribute to the critical work of rectifying centuries of omissions.”
Among the works featured in “Making Her Mark” are new BMA acquisitions that will be on view for the first time. The exhibition will also include works on loan from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Swedish Royal Collection in Stockholm, the National Gallery of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other North American and European public and private collections.