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

Women Art Dealers (1940-1990)

Contact Us

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

Live Chat

Talk to one of our advisers

Fees: $235.00


The session analyzes the central role played by women art dealers in the creation and development of art market between the 1940s and the 1980s. The panel examines the work of those women who promoted art between different countries and continents thus developing an international form of market that anticipated the current global model. Paula Cooper, Peggy Guggenheim, Beatrice Monti della Corte, Betty Parsons, Martha Jackson, Denise René, Lia Rumma, Ileana Sonnabend are just some of the protagonists of an intense period of artistic promotion characterised by renewed marketing strategies and new uses of gallery space. Without advocating an alternative history of market, the session aims to consider women art dealers' diverse contributions to arts addressing the following topics:

  • International networks of women art dealers in both the United States and Europe;
  • Women art dealers’ role in the birth of global art market;
  • History  of exhibitions: new forms of exhibition design;
  • Gender solidarity in art promotion;
  • The importance of female economic autonomy and purchasing power in affirming feminist culture;
  • Mapping women art dealers’ archives;
  • Female editorial projects and graphics (catalogues, artist books, posters and invitations);
  • Women art dealers and men colleagues;
  • Aspects of the role of women art dealers in art fairs and biennales;
  • Women art dealers and art collecting.

Caterina Toschi

Pietro Rigolo
Isabella Seniuta
Deirdre Robson
Ilaria Schiaffini

Course dates

June 26 - 27, 2018

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


Caterina Toschi, Ph.D.,
Professor of Contemporary Art, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio

Caterina Toschi is Professor of History of Contemporary Art at the University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, where she coordinates the academic project Researches from Margins | Ricerche dal margine; she taught at the New York University Florence. She holds a Ph.D. in History of Contemporary Art from the International Ph.D. school European Founding Myths in Literature and Arts of the Universities of Paris IV-Sorbonne, Florence and Bonn. Junior Scholar at the Getty Research Institute of Los Angeles, she was Répondante at the École de Printemps (Réseau International pour la Formation à la Recherche en Histoire de l’Art). Since 2014 she is the scientific supervisor, at The Santa Maddalena Foundation, of Beatrice Monti della Corte’s collection and photographic archive related to her activity with the Galleria dell’Ariete (Milan, 1955-1980). She is co-founder of Senzacornice | Research and Education Lab for Contemporary Art (Laboratorio di ricerca e formazione per l’arte contemporanea) and editor of Senzacornice | Online Contemporary Art Journal (Rivista online di arte contemporanea e critica). In 2017 she published the book Dalla pagina alla parete. Tipografia futurista e fotomontaggio dada and in 2016 she edited Arte a Firenze 1970-2015. Una città in prospettiva. She has many international publications and participated in several international conferences (Oxford University, CAA Annual Conference, École de Printemps, INHA-Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt). Since 2013 she organizes the international Festival of Writers-Gregor von Rezzori Prize (Festival degli Scrittori-Premio Gregor von Rezzori).


Pietro Rigolo, Ph.D.
Special Collections Archivist, The Getty Research Institute

Paper Title: City of Women: Mapping and Archiving the Role of Women Art Dealers in Los Angeles

Pietro Rigolo earned his PhD from Universita’ degli Studi di Siena / Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane in 2011. His dissertation focused on Harald Szeemann’s activities in Ticino, with a focus on the history of Monte Verita’. In 2013 he joined the Getty Research Institute (GRI) as the subject expert in the team cataloging the Szeemann archive. He is one of the curators of Harald Szeemann: Museum of Obsessions (first showcased at the GRI and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; currently on view at Kunsthalle Bern, and travelling to Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; Castello di Rivoli; Swiss Institute New York), and one of the editors of Selected Writings by Harald Szeemann, the first English anthology of the curator’s writings.

At the GRI he also worked on other contemporary art collections such as the Barbara T. Smith papers, Maurice Tuchman papers, and the Margo Leavin Gallery records. His research focuses on modern and contemporary art, history of exhibitions and curatorial studies. He has contributed essays in various catalogs (The Great Mother, Fondazione Nicola Trussardi 2015; Saltwater-14th Istanbul Biennale 2015; Colori, Castello di Rivoli-GAM Torino 2017 among others), lectured and presented papers internationally, among others at the University of Amsterdam; Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel; CUNY New York; Rebuild Foundation, Chicago; University of California Los Angeles (UCLA); University of Southern California (USC).


Isabella Seniuta, Ph.D.
University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Paper Title: The role of women art dealers in the construction of a photography market between Paris, London and New York (1950s-1980s)

Isabella Seniuta is a French/Polish PhD fellow born in 1990. She is currently conducting research as part of a PhD program on the History of the Photography market in a post-war
context (following a bachelor’s program in History of Art and Law) in Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne under the direction of Professor Michel Poivert. In December 2015, Isabella Seniuta received a grant from the Getty Research Institute to study the archives of the collector Sam Wagstaff and the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. She also received in
2016 a grant from the Alliance Program to study at Columbia University in NYC for six months. She is currently finishing her PhD thesis that focuses on the construction of a photography market between Paris, London and NYC (1950s-1980s). Research areas of interest are 20th century American and European art and photography, particularly the
photography market.


Deirdre Robson, Ph.D.
University of West London

Paper Title: ‘The Girl with the Gallery’: agency, orientation, and women dealers in the mid-twentieth century New York art market

A. Deirdre Robson received her Ph.D. from University College London, with a thesis focussing upon the New York market for modern art in the 1940s and 1950s. This was subsequently published as Prestige, Profit and Power (Garland Publishing). Having lectured in art and design history at various institutions, she currently lectures in design history at the London School of Film, Media & Design at the University of West London, and has also been an Associate Lecturer for the Open University, and more. She has several recent articles to her name on the topic of the American art market and art collecting.  Her article, “Industry: Art Angel? Pepsi-Cola's "Portrait of America" Art Annual as an Early Instance of Corporate Art Sponsorship,” in the Journal of Popular Culture (Jan. 2016) was selected as the annual as winner in February 2016 for the Carl Bode Award for Outstanding Article published in the Journal of Popular Culture from the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association. An article, “The Law of Unintended Consequences?  US Federal Taxation and the Market for Modern Art in the United States” is forthcoming in a special issue of ‘Politics and Art Market’ for Art Market Studies (Fall 2018). Her current research interests include cultural geography and art institutions, corporate collecting, and the gendering of the art market in the United States. 


Ilaria Schiaffini, Ph.D.
Vice President of MLAC of Sapienza University

Paper Title: From Fashion Journalism to Art Dealing: Irene Brin, the Obelisco Gallery and the promotion of Young Italian Art Abroad

Ilaria Schiaffini graduated in Humanities (with a major in art history) at Sapienza University of Rome. She took her final diploma at the Specialization School in Archaeology and Art History at the University of Siena, and a PhD in History and Criticism of Art and Music at the University of Padua. In 2000 she won a Library Research Grant supported by the Getty Foundation (Los Angeles) for a project on the Boccioni Papers. From 2002 to 2008 she worked as researcher in History of Contemporary Art at the University of Chieti-Pescara “Gabriele D’Annunzio”, from 2008 at Sapienza University of Rome. In 2016 she qualified as Associate Professor in History of Contemporary Art. Since 2016 she has been Vice President of MLAC (Museo Laboratorio di Arte Contemporanea) of Sapienza University. Her areas of interest are theoretical and critical topics between Symbolism and Modernism; the relationship between art, literature, philosophy; history of photography and photo archives. She is author of the following volumes: Umberto Boccioni, Stati d’animo. Teoria e pittura, Silvana Editoriale 2002; Vittore Grubicy de Dragon, Scritti d’arte, MART, Rovereto 2009; Arte contemporanea: metafisica, dada, surrealismo, Carocci, Roma 2011. She edited (with R. Perna) Per un museo della fotografia a Roma, 2011; Etica e fotografia. Potere, ideologia, violenza dell'immagine fotografica, Roma 2014; La fotografia a Roma: proposte per un museo, Palombi 2016.

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