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2014 / Women Artists of the 1900s

AWA and Il Palmerino join forces to rediscover friends, neighbours and fellow artists via a programme focused on Elisabeth Chaplin and Lola Costa.

Elisabeth Chaplin's 'Three Sisters' depicts an evening scene featuring Yvette, Elisabeth and Nenette Chaplin. Dated 1912, it was presented together with additional works by Chaplin during a Florentine exhibit. At its presentation, the series received the Gold Medal and ample acclaim from critics for the 20-year-old artist. The AWA restoration, executed in 2014 by Rossella Lari, was led by the Modern Art Gallery’s director Dr. Simonella Condemi and vice director Alessandra Griffo.

Following the restoration project, Elisabeth Chaplin was paired with English artist Lola Costa for an exhibition in the Tuscan hills called ”Private Mythologies” at Villa Il Palmerino. The two painters, who were contemporaries and neighbors, made for interesting comparative viewing. During her lifetime Lola Costa had lived at the villa, which was once home to English writer Vernon Lee. It is now the headquarters of Il Palmerino Cultural Association, headed by Costa’s granddaughter Federica Parretti.

The Chaplin-Costa show was curated by the then-director of the Uffizi’s Twentieth-century Collection, Giovanna Giusti and New York University’s Margherita Ciacci. The show was accompanied by a packed programme calender including a seminar and round-table discussion by Martha Ladly, from OCAD University Toronto, on Women Artists, Photographers and Creators, which featured several outstanding women: Julia M. Cameron, Claude Cahun, Marcel Moore, and Francesca Woodman. Special focus on the eras of Vernon Lee and Lola Costa at Il Palmerino.

Adelina Modest, an art historian, from La Trobe University, Melbourne hosted a lecture on Italian women artists in the early modern period: Sofonisba Anguissola, Properzia de’ Rossi, Lavinia Fontana, Artemisia Gentileschi and Elisabetta Sirani. Issues discussed included: Academy access, training and education, patronage and reception. The lecture was followed by a Plein Air workshop led by American figurative artist Sandra Walkeen. During this hands-on outdoor course, participants learned simple plein air set-ups and how to create appropriate color palettes, how to organise and capture shapes, values and light source.


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