Celebrating Female Agency in the Arts - Christie's Education Symposium

Daughters of Hypatia: Women as Art Critics, Historians, Teachers, and Theorists

Contact Us

T:+1 212 355 1501 | NewYork@christies.edu

Live Chat

Talk to one of our advisers

Fees: $235.00


Women’s contributions as creators of art have been a frequent focus of interest in recent decades; yet less attention has been paid to their work as shapers of the fields of art and art history through the written word. This session brings together papers that shed new light on the writings of women who sought to change the status quo of the art world, whether successfully or not. What led these women to take risks in their published art criticism, historical writing, or art theory, and what reaction(s) did their work receive?  A particular focus of this session will be the impact women art writers had, not only in seeking to transform some aspect of the art world, but also in bringing greater attention to social justice issues.

Julia K. Dabbs 

Maria Alambritis 
Laura Brandon 
Sally Deskins 
Grace Aneiza Ali 
Gloria Köpnick

Course dates

June 26 - 27, 2018

Christie's New York
20 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10020


Julia Dabbs, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor of Art History, University of Minnesota

Julia Dabbs started to pursue research on women artists when she was hired as an art history professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris some seventeen years ago and began to teach a course on “Women & Art.” For that course she supplemented a standard textbook with some of her own translations of life stories of women artists from the Renaissance and Baroque periods – which eventually grew into a book, Life Stories of Women Artists, 1550-1800: An Anthology (Ashgate, 2009). Dabbs has continued to publish on the subject of early modern women artists, especially as regards ageing (most recently, “Making the Invisible Visible: The Presence of Older Women Artists in Early Modern Artistic Biography” in Ageing Women in Literature and Visual Culture, eds. C. McGlynn, M. O’Neill, M. Schrage-Früh, 2017).  Her research has now extended into the nineteenth century, with two articles published on the travel and art writings of May Alcott Nieriker, who is also the subject of her next book project. 



Maria Alambritis
Birkbeck, University of London

Paper Title: “Quite unlike the ordinary lady art critic”: Julia Cartwright and the popularisation of the Italian Renaissance in late-nineteenth century Britain

Maria Alambritis is a second-year PhD candidate undertaking an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award project with Birkbeck, University of London and the National Gallery, titled ‘Modern Mistresses on the Old Masters: late-nineteenth century women writers on Quattrocento Northern Italian artists, 1865-1916’. Maria completed an interdisciplinary BA in Art History and Literature at the University of East Anglia, where she was awarded the School of Art History prize for her dissertation titled ‘Vernon Lee and the Work of Art’. Her Master’s thesis at the Courtauld, awarded a Distinction, revaluated the work of the Anglo-Greek watercolourist Marie Spartali Stillman. Before beginning her PhD, she completed a Heritage Lottery Fund year-long curatorial traineeship at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and worked as Curatorial Assistant in the Collections department at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Maria recently helped organize and presented at the major international conference ‘“Knowing as much of art as the cat?”: Nineteenth-Century Women Writers on the Old Masters’ (10 November 2017, National Gallery). She is a contributor and co-editor, together with her PhD supervisors Professor Hilary Fraser and Dr Susanna Avery-Quash, of a forthcoming special issue of Birkbeck’s 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century journal of the conference proceedings, to be published Spring 2019. 


Laura Brandon
Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

Paper Title: Four Decades: War Art, Writing, and Women

Laura Brandon is the former Historian, Art and War, at the Canadian War Museum and currently a Research Associate. She is the author of the award-winning biography, Pegi by Herself: The Life of Pegi Nicol MacLeod, Canadian Artist (McGill-Queen’s 2005), Art or Memorial? The Forgotten History of Canada’s War Art (University of Calgary Press, 2006), Art and War (I. B. Tauris, 2007), and co-author of Canvas of War: Painting the Canadian Experience (Douglas and McIntyre, 2000). She has written and lectured extensively on contemporary and historical Canadian and international art and artists for almost 40 years and curated more than 45 exhibitions. Her award-winning show Canvas of War toured Canada from 2000 until 2004 and was seen by 400,000 visitors. Laura Brandon has a BA in History and Art History from the University of Bristol, England, an MA in Art History from Queen’s University, Canada, and a PhD in History from Carleton University, Canada, where she is currently an adjunct research professor in both the School for Studies in Art and Culture and the Department of History. She is a Member of the Order of Canada.



Sally Deskins
Exhibits Coordinator for West Virginia University Libraries

Paper Title: The Subtle Feminism in the Art Writing of Roberta Smith

Sally Deskins is an artist, writer and curator focusing on women and feminist issues in art history and curating. She currently serves as Exhibits Coordinator for West Virginia University Libraries where she works to develop cross-disciplinary exhibits in spaces across campus. Her master’s research on the curating of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party won two awards. Her writing has been published in Bitch Magazine, n.paradoxa, Artslant, and Hyperallergic, among others. She has curated several feminist exhibitions including BARED: Bras and Breasts, for Groundfloor Gallery in Nashville and The Diamond Shop in Morgantown. She edits the online journal, Les Femmes Folles, a platform for women in art which includes a micro-feminist press, Les Femmes Folles Books, which has published several collaborative books of writing and art including Intimates and Fools (2014) which won the Nebraska Book Honor Award for design and illustration. She creates artwork around womanhood, motherhood and the body, exhibiting in solo and group exhibitions nationwide. She illustrated the book, Leaves of Absence (2016, Red Dashboard Press), which won the Nebraska Book Award for design and illustration. She also serves as Managing Editor for Southeast College Art Conference Online Reviews.


Grace Aneiza Ali
Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in the Department of Art & Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, and Curator and Editor

Paper Title: Out of the Margins: Lowery Stokes Sims Writing in Caribbean Art

Guyanese-American Grace Aneiza Ali is an independent curator whose curatorial research practice centers on Caribbean social art practices at the intersection of art and politics and contemporary artistic production of the Caribbean and its diaspora, with a focus on Guyana. She is a faculty member in the Department of Art & Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. She is also the founder and editorial director of OF NOTE Magazine — an award-winning online nonprofit journalism initiative focused on the intersection of art and politics and global arts activism. Grace holds a M.A. in Africana Studies from New York University, where she was awarded the Henry M. MacCracken Fellowship. She received her B.A. in English Literature with a concentration in African Diaspora Literature  and a certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park where she graduated magna cum laude and was awarded the university’s Goddard Medal for academic excellence. Her essays on contemporary art and photography have been published in Nueva Luz Journal, Small Axe Journal, Harvard Transition Magazine, among others. She is a Fulbright Fellow, an Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Curatorial Fellow, and a World Economic Forum ‘Global Shaper.’  


We use cookies to improve your online experience. If you continue to use our website, we will assume you are happy about this.