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“They were rather shocked that we were interested specifically in restoring art by women. And I remember one specific curator said, ‘Well, if you would just open your base to men as well, we would have a lot of worthy things for you to restore.'”

Where are the women artists in museums? The non-profit organization Advancing Women Artists was inspired by this simple, powerful question. Though artists like Artemisia Gentileschi and Plautilla Nelli were prolific and successful in their lifetimes, their works often languished in storage or were left in states of disrepair in Florence’s museums. Yet when Linda Falcone, director of Advancing Women Artists (AWA), began approaching these museums around 2008 looking for art by women to restore and conserve, many told her they would have some incredible candidates if only she would open up her criteria to include art by men. However, AWA maintained its exclusive focus on women, and in the years since, the importance of showcasing and preserving art by women has become widely understood in Florence and around the world.

In this episode, Linda Falcone discusses the history of AWA and shares the stories of some of the groundbreaking women who worked from the 17th to the 20th centuries and whose art can be found in Florentine collections today.

Overhead photograph of two women conserving an oval painting

Advancing Women Artists’s final restoration. The Art of Healing project, featuring works by Violante Ferroni.
Photo: Francesco Cacchiani

More to explore:

Advancing Women Artists

JAMES CUNO: Hello, I’m Jim Cuno President of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Welcome to Art and Ideas, a podcast in which I speak to artists, conservators, authors, and scholars about their work.
LINDA FALCONE: They were rather shocked that we were interested specifically in restoring art by wo...

Music Credits
“The Dharma at Big Sur – Sri Moonshine and A New Day.” Music written by John Adams and licensed with permission from Hendon Music. (P) 2006 Nonesuch Records, Inc., Produced Under License From Nonesuch Records, Inc. ISRC: USNO10600825 & USNO10600824

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This post is part of Art + Ideas, a podcast in which Getty president Jim Cuno talks with artists, writers, curators, and scholars about their work.
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