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The Story of Art | Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?

Katherine Pill, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, will discuss Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? This provocative discussion examines art historian Linda Nochlin’s 1971 essay, an epic examination of the institutional obstacles that prevented women from succeeding in the arts.

Katherine will discuss the recent reattribution of a significant artwork in the MFA Collection. In 1969, the MFA received a remarkable pastel portrait widely believed to be created by the renowned British painter Francis Cotes. The portrait’s subject, an elegant woman wearing a fur-trimmed coat, was identified as Cotes’ wife, whom he married in 1765. This attribution went unquestioned for over half a century until it was recently discovered to be incorrect. Current scholarship strongly indicates that the work is, in fact, by Katherine Read, an equally important artist who, despite her historical under-recognition, deserves appreciation. Read more about this reattribution here.

The Story of Art | Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?
Katherine Pill
Thursday, September 21
6:00 pm–7:00 pm
Marly Room
$10 MFA Members; $20 Not-yet Members


Image of Katherine Pill Senior Curator of Contemporary ArtSenior Curator of Contemporary Art Katherine Pill has worked to bring new ideas to diverse audiences. Pill, the first curator at the MFA to focus on Modern and Contemporary art, has curated dynamic and powerful exhibitions at the MFA, including Skyway 20/21: A Contemporary Collaboration (2021), Gio Swaby: Fresh Up (2022) and Borrow and Steal: Appropriation from the Collection (2022-2023). Before joining the MFA, Pill was assistant curator at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City.


The Story of Art series focuses on the story of human history, one that is continually being retold as we discover new things and look afresh at the familiar. Join MFA curators on a journey to learn more about our collection, contextualized with other objects from around the world, as we take a grand tour through the story of art.


Image: Katherine Read, Scottish, 1723–1779, Portrait of a Woman, c. 1765, Pastel on paper, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Ross

Presented by Raymond James

Event Details

September 21, 2023

6–7 pm

Event Categories

Museum of Fine Arts – Marly Room

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