Saatchi Art is shining a light on the talented female artists present on their platform with its newest catalog. Refuse to be the Muse is Saatchi Art's campaign covering more than 15 talented women working in the contemporary art field. From fine art photography to screenprinting, painting, and collage, each woman in the catalog has a unique point of view.
While the art world is traditionally lacking in representation for female artists, Saatchi Art's top 100 selling artists are more than 50% female. It's this statistic that helps break down archaic thinking that collectors don't buy work by female artists. To prove a point about how much female excellence exists in the art world, Saatchi Art chief curator Rebecca Wilson has hand-picked a roster of established and up-and-coming artists their first all-female catalog.
The catalog is a breathtaking representation of each woman's artistic vision. Established artists like Ysabel LeMay, whose work has been exhibited at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, are juxtaposed against emerging talents like Marijah Bac Cam, whose abstract, organic forms bring together Eastern and Western influences.
You can learn more about the talented artists through interviews and videos on Saatchi Art and shop the catalog to acquire original artwork and limited edition prints in celebration of Refuse to be the Muse. Using the code Collect2019 at checkout will get you 15% off your purchase (valid through June 30, 2019). Saatchi Art has also commissioned artworks by featured artist Kelly Puissegur, which are available as limited edition prints on Saatchi Art and as open edition prints, tote bags, and t-shirts via Society6.
We chatted with Saatchi Art chief curator Rebecca Wilson about Refuse to Be a Muse and how the online art marketplace aims to be a leader in breaking down gender bias in the art world. Read on for our exclusive interview and to see selections from the catalog.
Why are initiatives like this so important?
While women artists have undoubtedly seen greater exposure in recent years, they still continue to struggle for equal representation in the traditional art system. For example, women artists far outnumber men in art schools, and yet they comprise only 30% of artists on display in museums and galleries. And full-time women artists make an average of 81 cents for every dollar made by their male counterparts.
This is something we’re working to change.
As the world’s leading online art gallery, we have an impressive track record of supporting women artists. In 2018, more than half of our sales by U.S.-based artists were works by women, and currently, 54 out of the 100 best-selling artists are female.
Through our Refuse to be the Muse campaign, we want to celebrate and support women artists and introduce their vibrant and compelling works to a global audience.
How has the role of women in the art world changed over the past 50 years?
Traditionally, works by women have been overlooked in favor of that of their male peers. From Titian’s Venus to Picasso’s nudes, women have more often been the subject of artworks than had their own works displayed and celebrated in museums and galleries.
But this inequality is not found with online galleries such as Saatchi Art. We represent as many women artists as men (in the US and Europe only 14% of the artists represented by brick and mortar galleries are women), and our clients are very happy to buy works by women. So the argument from men running brick and mortar galleries that male artists sell better is just not true.
How did you go about selecting the artists for the catalog?
We want to introduce people to a selection of women artists with very different backgrounds who are making works in a wide range of styles.
Are there any particular artworks you’d like to call our attention to?
Kelly Puissegur created two new works specially for the Refuse to be the Muse campaign. True to her signature style, each work combines text and figures to make an empowered representation of women who aspire to be more than just inspiration for others.
What can supporters of the arts do in order to assist female artists in becoming more visible?
Make an effort to purchase works by women. Ask galleries and museums why they aren't having as many shows by women as men.
What is your hope for the future of women in the art world?
I think we are living through an exciting time of change where there is now evidence of a concerted effort and desire to do something about the underrepresentation of women artists in the art world. There is no shortage of outstanding work being made by women so it is now a question of making sure that women are equally displayed in museums and galleries, that their exhibitions are covered just as much as shows by men in magazines such as Artforum, and that every effort is made for the art world to reflect the society we live in in terms of gender as well as racial diversity.