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ART/ARTH/BUS 334: THE BUSINESS OF ART TASK SHEET # 5 FOR MODULE: WEEK 5: PROMINENT WOMEN PATRONS OF THE ARTS THROUGH THE AGES DUE DATE: Monday, Feb. 26, by

ART/ARTH/BUS 334: THE BUSINESS OF ART
TASK SHEET # 5 FOR MODULE: WEEK 5:

PROMINENT WOMEN PATRONS OF THE ARTS THROUGH THE AGES

DUE DATE: Monday, Feb. 26, by 9:00 pm! Submit ON TIME in Canvas “Assignments” only!
 This task sheet has 3 PARTS. You MUST complete ALL TASKS in all THREE PARTS!
 Please review the updated Task Sheet Information posted in MODULE: WEEK 1!
 Only submit Task Sheets that are complete and based on the assigned readings and videos!

READINGS AND VIDEOS [SEE AND ACCESS VIA MODULE: WEEK 5]
World History Encyclopedia: “Isabella d’Este:”
Alina Cohen: “The Forgotten Female Patron Who Brought Impressionism to Chicago”[on Bertha
Honoré Palmer], Art Market (Sept. 2019):

M. Robinson:“The Importance of Gertrude Stein as an Art Collector,”Art&Object (2022):

Video is a MUST view for all: “Explore Venice’s Peggy Guggenheim Collection with guide, Grazina:”

INTRO TO PART I: WOMEN’S PLACE IN THE ARTS, 16TH C. TO MID 19TH C.
As we learned, the patronage system was the dominant force behind the creation of new works of art.
Already in the 16th century Renaissance period, many wealthy women from the aristocracy and the
merchant class were enthusiastic patrons of the arts such as Margaret of Austria and Mary of
Hungary, who presided over humanist courts, as well as Isabella d’Este, Marchesa of Mantua.

However, female patronage during the Renaissance and beyond needs to be understood in the context
of women’s place in society and the arts from the Renaissance to the late 19th century.
Due to the ideology of separate spheres, dominant into the 20th century, women were relegated to the
private/domestic sphere (family), while men dominated the public sphere (government, trade, art).
Women were for the most part barred from becoming apprentices to master artists as well as from the
Fine Art Academies that were established in the late Renaissance. Academies regulated art
education and membership, as well as promoted what was deemed important, how artists should paint.
However, there were also exceptions – more and more are being rediscovered in contemporary times -,
such as Isabella d’Este and other prominent female patrons of the arts, as well as the numerous highly
skilled women artists from the Renaissance and beyond demonstrate who “beat the odds.”

Female artists thus tended to come from families where their father, husband or brother was an
artist, or their father believed in having their daughter educated and tutored, as in the case of
Renaissance artist Sofonisba Anguissola. This way, they could receive training and bypass the
apprenticeship system and restrictions of the art academies. Further, courts and especially queens
supported female artists, such as Queen of Spain, Elisabeth of Valois, married to Philip II of Spain, at
whose court Anguissola became a lady-in-waiting and art tutor. Famous Dutch flower-painter, Rachel
Ruysch, served as court painter to Johann Wilhelm of Bavaria in Düsseldorf, Germany, and French
neo-classical artist, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, was hired by French queen, Marie Antoinette,
and regularly called upon to paint the queen, producing 30 portraits of the infamous queen in six years.

PART I: ISABELLA D’ESTE (ITALY, 1474–1539)

RIGHT: Titian: Isabella d’Este, 1534-36 (oil on canvas; Italy)

YOUR TASK FOR PART I
Read: World History Encyclopedia: “Isabella d’Este:”
Recommended:
Please answer the following questions based on the reading with c. 3-6 sentences each:
1) Explain the special circumstances in her childhood and adulthood that prepared and enabled d’Este
to not only lead a life unusual for a woman in the Renaissance but to become a patron of the arts.
2) Explain how her special suite in her private apartments, which became a 20-year long project, was
connected to her interest and patronage in the arts. What was exhibited and how?
3) List the two artists who painted d’Este’s portrait [see text].

INTRO TO PART II&III: WOMEN’S PLACE IN THE ARTS, MID 19TH C. TO MID 20TH C.
In the course of the mid19th to mid 20th century, as women’s advocacy, political achievements, and
rights expanded vastly, more women entered the ranks of artists and patrons. While there still were
many restrictions on what women were allowed to paint and create, how they should dress and behave,
etc., more women were accepted into the existing art academies and new ones founded just for women.
Women in the arts were, however, for the majority from the wealthy middle classes and white. Into the
20th century, art institutions still largely discriminated against artists of color or barred them entirely. In
fact, several Black artists such as late 19th century sculptor Edmonia Lewis and artists connected to the
Harlem Renaissance, flourishing in the 1920/30s, found a more supportive environment in Europe.

All three patrons discussed here, Bertha Honore Palmer, Gertrude Stein, and Peggy Guggenheim,
were wealthy and US-American born, however drawn to Europe and its newly developing avant garde
art movements of the modern period. Modern Art refers to a period from c. 1860 to the late 1950s.
This development began with Impressionism in France in the 1860s and culminated in Abstract
Expressionism in the US in the 1940s/50s. Artists of that period were often identified as avant garde.
Although traditional subjects such as landscapes, the still lifes, and the nude remained important, many
artists began to address modern life and subjective perception, shifting away from the figurative,
narrative painting taught in the art academies to exploring abstraction and personal expression.

Isabella d’Este was the Marchesa of Mantua. She was married to
Francesco II Gonzaga, and became an important cultural and
political figure in Northern Italy and a patron of painters,
musicians, writers, and scholars with her own collections of art,
ancient objects, manuscripts, and books. She was a strong
proponent of education for girls. D’Este is considered a true
Renaissance Woman, endowed with beauty, wealth, and a brilliant
mind. Her personal motto was: “Neither through Hope nor Fear”
D’Este served as the regent of Mantua during the absence of her
husband Francesco II when he was captured in 1509 and held
hostage in Venice. She took control of Mantua’s military forces
and held off the invaders until his release in 1512. She again took
reign of the city after her husband’s death in 1519, during the
minority of her son. As a ruler, she appeared to have been much
more assertive and competent than her husband, who was known
for multiple affairs, including with her sister-in-law.

PART II: THE FORGOTTEN PATRON: BERTHA HONORE PALMER ( 1849–1918 )
Bertha Matilde Palmer (née Honoré) was an American businesswoman, socialite, and philanthropist.
She married Potter Palmer in Chicago in 1870, when she was 21 and Palmer, a Quaker merchant, 44.
He had opened a luxury hotel there and the couple became millionaires investing in real estate. Bertha
Palmer was engaged in various organizations that connected her care for art and women, such as as a
founding member of the Chicago Society of Decorative Art as well as president of the Board of Lady
Managers of The Women’s Building for the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition.

Key Ter m: Impressionism
Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement that originated in France in the 1860s with a group of
Paris-based artists whose innovative, abstracting painting style was opposed to the style taught at the
art academies, central for art training from the Renaissance to the late 19th century. Impressionist artists
often painted on location and outdoors, capturing the essence of modern life in and around Paris.

YOUR TASK FOR PART II
Read: A. Cohen: “The Forgotten Female Patron Who Brought Impressionism to Chicago” (2019):

Please answer the following questions based on the reading with c. 3-6 sentences each:
1) Explain how Palmer displayed her commitment to the arts and women with a couple of examples.
2) Explain Palmer’s special connection to US-born Impressionist painter, Mary Cassatt.
3) Which European artists did Palmer collect and how did she leave a lasting mark on art in Chicago?

PART III: TWO PROMINENT 20 th CENTURY WOMEN PATRONS
Gertrude Stein (1874–1946)
Gertrude Stein was an American novelist, poet, playwright, and art collector. Born in Allegheny, PA,
and raised in Oakland, CA, Stein moved to Paris in 1903, and made France her home for the remainder
of her life. She hosted a Paris salon, where the leading figures of modernism in literature and art, such
as Pablo Picasso, Henry Matisse, and Ernest Hemingway. Stein started out collecting art with her older
brother and continued on with her partner of almost 40 years and fellow expatriate, Alice Toklas.

Peggy Guggenhei m(1898–1979)
Peggy Guggenheim, niece of prominent business man and art collector, Solomon R. Guggenheim, was
a self-described “art addict” who sought to distinguish herself from her business-oriented relatives and
make her mark on the world through collecting and traveling in avant garde circles. Peggy’s
collections, galleries, and museum were all stamped with her distinct tastes and style.

YOUR TASK FOR PART III
Read: M. Robinson:“The Importance of Gertrude Stein as an Art Collector,”Art&Object (2022):

• “Explore Venice’s Peggy Guggenheim Collection with guide, Grazina:”
[view for both patrons for info on Modern Art]

Select EITHER(!) one of the female patrons, Gertrude Stein OR Peggy Guggenheim, and answer
the questions below regarding the patron you selected in 3-6 sentences for each question:
1) What and who prompted Stein/Guggenheim to dedicate their life to collecting and promoting art?
2) List a couple of European avant garde artists Stein OR Guggenheim were interested in and collected.
3) How was Stein’s collection displayed in Paris/how is Guggenheim’s collection displayed in Venice?
4) Add additional observations and your own reflections on the reading and/or video. : )

  • Art/ARTH/BUS 334: THE BUSINESS OF ART
  • TASK SHEET #5 FOR MODULE: WEEK 5:
  • PART I: Isabella d’Este (Italy, 1474–1539)

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