Advancing Women Artists Foundation


Advancing Women Artists Foundation

The River and the Ponte Vecchio, Florence

The River and the Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Our quest is engendered by curiosity; our mission is fed by conviction. Women artists must be celebrated and their work must be seen. Both their past and their future must be fully reclaimed—a single artwork at a time.

Dr. Jane Fortune, Author, art collector, philanthropist Advancing Women Artists Foundation, Founder and Chair


Our mission

Artemisia Gentileschi, The Inclination, 1615-1616 Casa Buonarroti, Florence
Artemisia Gentileschi,
The Inclination, 1615-1616
Casa Buonarroti, Florence

Advancing Women Artists Foundation, an American not-for-profit (501c3), is committed to identifying and restoring artwork by women in Florence’s museum storages. Myriad paintings and sculptures by ground-breaking women artists have been overlooked for centuries and, many works are currently in desperate need of restoration. As of today, compelling artistic treasures continue to be a silent, undiscovered part of the city’s creative heritage. Through education (lectures, books, seminars, and conferences) and by exhibiting these works in Florence and abroad, it will prove possible to disclose this vital cultural legacy and promote its importance in Florence, in Italy and to the world.


Our goals



The ‘invisible’ works that crowd the city’s storages deserve the
opportunity of widespread recognition. It is imperative that these paintings and sculptures be suitably identified, catalogued and researched so that their indisputable significance may be more fully documented. Though research regarding women artists has become more prevalent over the past fifty years, the lack of information and records regarding their lives and work in Florence, has often hindered the advancement of public knowledge.



It takes meticulous effort and astounding skill to salvage artwork
that has succumbed to damage through accident, negligence or the natural passage of time. During its restoration projects, the Foundation works with Florentine museum directors who recommend and oversee projects from conception to completion. Specialized women restorers are selected to execute each project according to techniques deemed suitable for the restoration needs required. In addition, the Foundation sponsors and creates professionally-produced DVDs which document all phases of the project.



The public display of rescued works by pioneering women is
paramount to their recognition and acknowledgment in Italy and throughout the world. The sheer volume of works within the city has prompted the Foundation to work for the establishment of ‘a space of their own’ in Florence, dedicated to displaying art by these overlooked artists. This is the Foundation's ultimate goal. Satellite spaces will be established worldwide, where these paintings and sculptures will be exhibited and eventually return to Florence permanently.

Throughout its history, Italy, a country characterized by predominantly male creative excellence, has dedicated few of its resources and little of its coveted space to female artists, thus relegating them to the category of ‘lesser known’.

Linda Falcone, co-author of Invisible Women: Forgotten Artists of Florence



Advancing Women Artists is supported by private contributors and institutions that are dedicated to preserving works of women artists, particularly in Florence, Italy. The Foundation is committed to increasing public awareness regarding the forgotten artistic gems these women produced throughout the city’s history. Its Board of Trustees hold fiduciary responsibility for the financial well-being of the Foundation. Supported by its International Advisory Council, it is also assisted by an honorary Florentine Council of Advisors composed of museum directors, art historians, restorers, city officials and art experts who advise the Foundation on its restoration projects.


Opportunities for giving

Minerva, Artemisia Gentileschi, 1615, Procura
Generale della Repubblica, Florence

Florence’s forgotten women artists deserve our attention, their art merits our compassion  and their history demands our concern.

Advancing Women Artists has compiled a ‘menu’ of works that need restoration in Florence. As the Foundation’s archival research is on-going, the list is continuously updated as new works are discovered. All updates can be viewed on this website. Projects include restoration, conservation/preservation or maintenance.  Funding may also include frames and photographic documentation of the work during various phases of its restoration.   Advancing Women Artists is dedicated to funding short-term Florentine and international exhibitions linked to each restoration project. The Foundation is also working to establish and support a permanent public exhibition space in Florence for works, by women artists, that have languished in storage for centuries. If interested in learning more about opportunities for giving, please contact:


About The Florence Committee

The Executive Committee, TFC 2009

Founded and chaired by Dr. Jane Fortune in 2003, The Florence Committee is the non-profit Italian association and the counterpart of Advancing Women Artists, a not-for-profit foundation in the United States. The Florentine partner of AWA, it promotes the institutional development of restoration projects sponsored and advanced by Dr.Fortune. Today, The Florence Committee’s role is primarily cultural: it organizes lectures and events, inspired by Florence’s art and culture and linked to women artists and scholars, for its due-paying members. Since 2006, the Committee recognizes modern-day women artists, as well as those who sustain art by women in Florence. Also, under the aegis of The Florence Committee and Dr. Fortune, the women museum directors are hosted periodically at private social luncheons held several times a year.

The Florence Committee, in conjunction with Advancing Women Artists, supports an on-going annual awards program honoring women museum directors in Florence, women restorers, patronesses of the arts and contemporary artists for their outstanding contributions to the culture of Florence. The awards, recommended by previous awardees, give recognition to deserving Italian women in the arts who enhance the fabric of the community.