CFP – CAA: Chronicling Lost Legacies: Women Collectors and Dealers of the Long Nineteenth Century

Edgar Degas, Woman Viewed from Behind (Visit to a Museum), ca. 1879-1885. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (1985.64.11).

Call for papers for CAA: Chronicling Lost Legacies: Women Collectors and Dealers of the Long Nineteenth Century.

This session seeks to enhance our understanding of the American art world of the nineteenth century, by placing female tastemakers back into their broader historical narrative.

Deadline: 16 Sep 2020

While exceptions exist, women collectors and dealers have been predominantly left out of the discourse of the history of collecting. Many of their collections were disbursed, and their papers were lost to history. In some instances, women’s identities were erased or obfuscated by their husbands or overshadowed by male contemporaries.

Over the long nineteenth century, legislative inroads enabled women to exercise a higher degree of agency over their lives. For example, in 1848, New York State approved the “Married Women’s Property Act,” granting women more control over their finances—including the ability to enter into contracts, inherit money in their own right, and not be liable for debts accrued by their husbands. This legislation became a model for other states. These changes, further fuelled by the growing ease of travel, increased access for buying, commissioning, and selling of art on the part of women.

With a wealth of data now accessible through newly-processed archives and digital repositories, we can begin piecing together their legacies. As such, we seek papers that foreground contributions of lesser-known female collectors, dealers, and intermediaries within their social-historical moment, as well as those that present new insights about more iconic historical figures. Innovative research methodologies and approaches assessing contributions made by women in the field of the history of collecting also welcomed.

Contacts: Margaret R. Laster and Samantha Deutch
Email Address:

In order to submit, gather the following and send via email to the chairs listed above ( before September 16, 2020.

1. Completed proposal form (click to download).
2. A shortened CV (close to 2 pages).
3. (Optional) Documentation of work when appropriate, limit to five images as a single PDF, especially for sessions in which artists might discuss their own practice.