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Jessica with entry in front of Barnes for LetsConnectPhilly

Jessica Libor at the Barnes Foundation with her piece, “Madame”, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″

May I share something with you? Recently I read several articles about studies done in the art world.  These studies gave details and statistics that are upsetting for women artists.

  • There are zero female artists selling in the very top slice of the art market (the top .03 %) as of 2017.  This accounts for more than 41 percent of the overall profits in the auction art world.
  • In the secondary (less expensive) rung of artwork sold at auction, women make up only 2.6% of the sales of artwork.
  • Art by women at this level sells on average of 8% less than a man’s.

These statistics are taken from the artnet Analytics and Maastricht University study joint conducted in November 2017.  This study has been described as the largest empiracal study ever conducted on gender discrimination in the cultural sector.

As a female artist entrenched in the art world, it was deeply frustrating and upsetting to read this.  It can feel like you are fighting an uphill battle.

Post-war artist Georg Baselitz, whose paintings have sold at auction for 3.2 million pounds, went as far to say on record recently that “Women don’t paint very well.  It’s a fact.”

At the Saatchi Gallery, right before Jenny Saville’s first exhibit, art critic David Sylvester said he “Always thought women couldn’t be painters,” because “that’s the way it has always been.”

In 1937, when speaking of Lee Krasner’s paintings, artist Hans Hofmann said her artwork was “So good, you would not know it was painted by a woman.”
(source, Independent Newspaper)

It has been assumed that attitudes towards women in the arts have changed since 1937, but the numbers still show a great discrepancy.  Why is this? And more importantly, what can we do about it?
If you’re anything like me, this attitude makes me want to prove them wrong.  My recent work has been focusing more and more on empowering women to be leading ladies and heroines of their own lives.  It is important to me that women can recognize their power to change the world, lead by example, achieve incredible things, and care for the world around us, our natural habitat–in ALL avenues of life, the arts included.  It is time we see women embrace their power.


I have entered my painting “Madame” in an exhibition at the Barnes Foundation in downtown Philadelphia, PA.   The original painting is oil on canvas with gold leaf and Swarovski crystal (her earring). It takes inspiration from the Renoir painting, “On the Grass,” and evokes a reveling in nature, depicting the glamorous beauty of a summer day being spent in the grass. She lies totally relaxed, enjoying the feeling of being one with nature. Like nature’s flowers and greenery, she displays and adorns herself to blend with the beauty that surrounds her. This exhibition is also a competition for votes from the public.  The winner receives a stipend and studio residency at the Barnes Foundation.

If I won, it would be a huge leap for my career, and mean that I would have the funds, space, and audience to create bigger, better, and more powerful artworks that would specifically empower women.
This is a way to make a difference in the art world, and in my career, without spending a dime.

Will you help me by VOTING for my piece?
Here’s what you can do:
1. Register to VOTE by following the link below.  Registration opens May 10!
2. Go to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, PA in person between May 21 and June 4 for FREE and VOTE for my piece! All votes must be made in person.  You can go Wednesday through Sunday 11am to 5pm, and visit the museum and vote for FREE.  However, you must register online first!

Thank you in advance for your efforts!  This truly does mean so much to me, and it is my hope that together we can change the system of the art world to reflect more value for women.
With gratefulness,
–Jessica Libor, Visual Artist


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