Monday, March 15, 2010

Discovering Women Artists-The Sellars Collection

One of the wonderful things about going to view art, talking with gallery owners, dealers, curators etc. are the intersting things you learn.

Last week was International Women's Day and I wrote a post that linked to a list of 109 American women artists. Unfortunately, the majority of the names on the list were unfamiliar to me and I'm pretty sure they were unfamiliar to most people too. That got me thinking about all the wonderful women artists that have come and gone that I have missed simply because they never got the recognition they most likely deserved, because they were women.

Isn't it funny then that the very first painting that caught my eye at the Connecticut Spring Antique Show on Sunday was this one, Summer Beach, 1912 by Emily Nichols Hatch (1871 - 1959)

Emily Hatch studied at Shinnecock with William Merritt Chase. This is the first I had heard of Emily Nichols Hatch and I learned quite a bit from Donna Kmetz  the dealer who represents this painting.

Born in Newport, Rhode Isalnd, she studied at the Artists and Artisans Institute. At the Shinnecock summer School of Art on Long Island she studied with Charles Hawthorne, Walter Shirlaw and William Merritt Chase. She made several trips to Europe and had a studio in Paris. She was listed as portrait painter, wood- block printer, lecturer, teacher, and writer. In New York, she was President, 1921-25, of the National Association of Women Artists and provided leadership for its permanent quarters at 17 East 62nd Street. In 1940, she became the Director of the Tarrytown, New York, Art Center.
~Source Paul Sternberg, Sr., "Art by American Women"

You can view a few more examples of Hatch's seaside paintings here.

It was Donna Kmetz who told me about the Sellars Collection. Since 1983 Louise and Alan Sellars have been collecting art by American women working in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries

J. Alan Sellars and his wife, Louise Smith Sellars, had a passion for art, and for the hunt. In twenty-five years of collecting American Art, the Sellarses realized the nation's women artists had received insufficient recognition. Thus, they determined to obtain works in all media by women throughout the United States, unearthing several artists who were on the brink of passing into oblivion. The primary focus of the couple's collection was concentrated on the years between 1850 and 1930, a period Alan termed "the most neglected in American women's art history."[1]

Stories of the Sellarses' quests to locate and to learn more about women painters are legendary. They were indefatigable in their dedication to this project, amassing more than 600 paintings, drawings, and sculpture by more than 360 women. read the full article by Jean Woods here

The Sellars Collection, was purchased for an undisclosed price in 2008 by the Huntsville Museum.
Here is the announcement from Davis Fine Art on the sale of the collection.

Here are a few wonderful pieces from the collection

Jessie Arms Botke (1883-1971) "The Ranch"

Marion E. Crocker, Changing Times, watercolor, 10 x 16 1/4 inches

Jeanie Gallup Mottet (1864-1934) • "White Fox", oil on canvas, 32" x 26",


1 comment:

AutumnLeaves said...

While all beautiful, I especially love the Crocker and Mottet paintings. I guess I never think on the women artists being any less stellar than the men. Maybe it is simply because the men have been more prolific in their paintings? Even if due to a glass ceiling, I still think that if the art is outstanding it is noticed. Gosh...I hope I am not one who is dancing a jig on that glass ceiling!! I must say that many speak of Georgia O'Keefe and I can honestly say that I really don't think her work is that spectacular. I guess it lies all in the tastes, right?