Paige Boucher

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art Business

First Advisor

Betsy Thomas

Second Advisor

Eric Wolf


“And I will show Your Most Illustrious Lordship what a woman can do.” These words are by the miraculous baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi, a Renaissance woman who took the plunge into a male-dominated profession.1 Women have taken the back seat throughout all walks of history. On the subject of their representation in art history, there was an extended period when researchers and scholars completely overlooked them. Due to negligence, knowledge of a marketable female artist of the Renaissance was close to an urban legend. Now,
through mending neglected recognition, the existence of marketable female Old Masters is bona fide in the past and present tense. Recent scholarship, exhibitions, and events contribute to bringing overlooked artists to the forefront of the market and breaking down previous lesser notions about women’s work. Many of these sources focus on these Italian artists: Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Barbara Longhi. While this revival is phenomenal, one cannot ignore the damage done by overlooking female Old Masters for centuries. Studying the market as a whole, one can examine an incredible surge in activity in the art market in recent years. Renaissance artists are making headlines by exceeding their estimated prices at auction. The core foundation of a confident investment is for the collector to know the work is substantiated. With renewed interest in female Old Masters, it has created a bigger platform for them to flourish on the market. However, even with the deafening silence finally breaking, it has not cured gender biases. Posing the question: Is the revival of these women’s
accomplishments correlated with a rise in auction prices? Or, are female Old Masters still undervalued?