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

Women Collectors in Britain and America c.1880-1939

Contact Us

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

Live Chat

Talk to one of our advisers

Fees: $235.00


Despite their importance in the formation of taste in Britain and the USA, the contribution of women as collectors of modern art has only recently been recognized. To date the focus has largely been on major philanthropists such as the Cone sisters in Baltimore, or on ‘entrepreneurs’ such as Mary Cassatt, who promoted impressionism in the USA through her family and wider social circle. This session examines the role of women as collectors and agents, specifically of Impressionism and modern art, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and considers them in relation to such issues as: their influence as ‘taste makers’; their social and marital status; their role as patrons and philanthropists; and their dependence on an agent or adviser. It includes papers on relatively well-known female benefactors, as well as more ‘invisible’ women of influence. 


Dr Frances Fowle

Dr Margaret Laster
Genevieve Westerby
MaryKate Cleary

Course dates

June 26 - 27, 2018

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


Dr. Frances Fowle, Ph.D.,

Reader in History of Art and International Director of Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh


Paper Title: A woman of taste: Mrs R.A. Workman and the market for Impressionism in Britain


Dr Frances Fowle is Reader in History of Art, International Director of Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, and Senior Curator of French Art at the National Galleries of Scotland. She is also senior Trustee of the Burrell Collection, Glasgow, co-founder and board member of the International Art Market Studies Association (TIAMSA), and is on the steering committee of the European Revivals Research Network (Ateneum, Helsinki). Frances began her career working for Sotheby's auctioneers and gained her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 1994. She has held posts at the universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow and was in the curatorial department at Tate Britain before joining the National Galleries of Scotland in 2001 and the University of Edinburgh in 2005.


Frances is an expert on impressionism, collecting and the art market and her books include Monet and French Landscape: Vétheuil and Normandy (2006); Impressionism and Scotland (2008); and Van Gogh's Twin: the Scottish Art Dealer Alexander Reid (1854-1928) (2010). She has curated and contributed to numerous international exhibitions, notably Degas and America: the early collectors (2001); Sisley: Poet of Impressionism (2001-2); Gauguin’s Vision (2005); Van Gogh and Britain: Pioneer Collectors (2006); Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Symbolist Landscape in Europe 1880-1910 (2012-13); American Impressionism: A New Vision 1880-1900 (2014-15); and Inspiring Impressionism: Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh (2016-17). Her most recent publication is two edited volumes on Nordic Artists’ Colonies 1870-1914 (Art in Translation, Taylor & Francis 2017). 


MaryKate Cleary 
Art Historian and Lecturer

Paper Title: ‘BE AN EXPERIMENTALIST’: Portraits of Agnes Ernst Meyer as Patron and Female Agent of the Avant-garde in America

MaryKate Cleary is an art historian and lecturer specializing in provenance research, the history of collecting, art market studies and cultural property issues in the Nazi era. She is currently pursuing a PhD in the History of Art at Edinburgh University, where her research focuses on the Galerie Paul Rosenberg and the development of the market for avant-garde art in inter-war Paris.

MaryKate has lectured widely, including as an Adjunct Professor at New York University, where she taught the first academic course at a US institution dedicated to Provenance Research. She has also guest-lectured at Columbia University, Stanford University, Loyola Law School, Warwick University, Kingston University, The University of Zurich, Christie's Education, Sotheby's Education and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleary previously held roles as Director of Research at Art Recovery Group, Collection Specialist in Painting & Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, Manager of Historic Claims and Research at the Art Loss Register London, as well roles with Sotheby’s, artnet.com and the Jewish Museum New York. She holds a BA in German Literature from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., an MA in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute and was a Fulbright Fellow at the Technische Universität Dresden. 


Dr Margaret R. Laster, Ph.D.
Independent Curator

Paper Title: A Collector in Her Own Right: Catharine Lorillard Wolfe (1828-1887)

Dr Margaret R. Laster is an independent curator and scholar of American art, with a particular focus on art and material culture of the nineteenth century, and histories of collecting and patronage. She is currently working on a biography of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe (1828–1887), the first female benefactor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Laster’s previous posts include Associate Curator of American Art at the New-York Historical Society; Fellow for the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies at the Freer Gallery of Art; and research positions in curatorial departments in New York, Chicago, Boston and Washington museums. She holds degrees from Williams College, the University of Chicago, and a PhD in Art History from the CUNY Graduate Center. Her scholarship has been supported by the Frick Center for the History of Collecting; the Smithsonian Institution; CUNY; and the Huntington Library. She is also co-editor of New York: Art and Cultural Capital of the Gilded Age, a forthcoming collection of essays to be published by Routledge as part of their “Research in Art History” series.


Genevieve Westerby
Research Associate, European Painting and Sculpture, Art Institute of Chicago

Paper Title: Impressionism and the White City: Bertha Honoré Palmer, Sara Tyson Hallowell, and the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition

Genevieve Westerby is a research associate at the Art Institute of Chicago in the department of European Painting and Sculpture. She has worked as co-editor, co-author, and primary researcher for a series of digital scholarly collection catalogues, focused on the Impressionist collection held by the museum since 2011. Volumes have been published on Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Gustave Caillebotte, and Paul Gauguin. She is currently working on a volume dedicated to Edouard Manet. She is also assisting with the research and planning of the 2019/20 exhibition Manet and Modern Beauty, co-organized with the J. Paul Getty Museum. Genevieve earned her master’s in Art History from the University of Denver, and has previously held internships at the International Print Center of New York, and in the Modern and Contemporary department at the Denver Art Museum.

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