Impresario publishes profiles, reviews and essays on many subjects including art, biography studies and visual culture. The website is published by author Henry Martin and features his research into the aforementioned topics as well as, on this page, the little-documented history of women as art dealers in the US before 1950.
Related topics include American art, exhibition history, modernism, New York art market, history of collecting, history of dealing, biography studies, museology, art historiography, and history of publishing and the material and visual cultures.
This list includes links to a number of databases and websites for those interested in exploring visual culture, modernism, life narrative studies, and the broader humanities. Click on the attachment link.
about henry martin
I am a researcher at the National College of Art and Design (Dublin, Ireland; NCAD Scholarship) and a Fulbright–Creative Ireland Fellow at the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. I have first-class honors Masters by Research in the Art Market and the History of Collecting (University of Buckingham, National Gallery, London; Tavolozza Foundation Scholarship), and a BA International in English and Philosophy (National University of Ireland, Galway). I have lectured at Camberwell College of Art, London and I am the author of Agnes Martin: Pioneer, Painter, Icon (Schaffner Press), and contributor to Great Women Artists and Great Women Painters (both Phaidon).
a-z list of women art dealers
Art dealer: noun, a person who buys and sells works of art. (Collins English Dictionary, 2022)
Since 2015 I have collected names of women art dealers (mostly in America), with a general view on the 1900–1950 period and a focus on the 1930s.
I would love to hear from you if you have information on the names highlighted and/or if you are undertaking your own research on this dealer and their gallery/ activities. From January 2022 I began adding women dealers from other countries.
1. Most of these dealers, but not all, operated galleries or initiatives under their own name. Some were assistants in a gallery, or freelance "curators".
2. In this list, for brevity, I have omitted gallery names.
3. The below list concentrates on the period 1900–1950 and does not reflect the complete list I am working on.
4. The word "dealer" is an umbrella term. Early dealers were often called gallerists, managers, directors and curators.
For the most part I do not include the names of women collectors who also may have infrequently consigned or sold work to another dealer or customer; the main exception is Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) who I include in the below list as a point of clarification (and also because she often sold works she no longer wanted).
With the exception of Stein, for the purposes of this project, I consider a dealer to be anybody who organized an exhibition—or ran an enterprise—with the express aim to "sell" art. (Dealer is distinct to Agent, though arguably agents such as Cassatt and Tyson Hallowell were proto-dealers). I have also included the names of women who founded Societies or Associations (Wheeler) or Expositions (Duane Gillespie), wherein art was sold, even if these societies looked and operated differently to our present-day concept of a dealer-gallery system.
If you believe more names should be added to this list, please navigate to the contact page to get in touch.
Country designates where the dealer predominantly (or latterly) operated; not their nationality. Many Europeans emigrated to the US between 1900 and 1950; and some dealers, like the American, Peggy Guggenheim, established galleries (however short lived) in France, UK, and US.
Black = American
Blue = French
Red = German
Pink = Netherlands
Asher, Betty M.
Bacon, Virginia P.
Bryant, Harriet C.
Coleman Manshel, Anita
Courvoisier, Moira (Wallace)
Davidge, Clara (Potter)
Diament Sujo, Clara
Dreier, Katherine S.
Fischback, Marilyn (Cole)
Gibbons, Sallie (J.) (or Sadie)
Gillespie, Elizabeth (Duane)
Gruskin, Mary J.
Hackett, Helen (Sr.)
Hackett, Helen (Jr.)
Halpert, Edith (Gregor)
Hallowell, Sara(h) T(yson)
Horne, Alice Merrill
Jackson, Martha (Kellog)
Judd Ryan, Beatrice