Views on the collection

Focus on women artists in the online collection
Tarsila Do Amaral, A Cuca, 1924

Tarsila Do Amaral, A Cuca, 1924 (1926, Inv : FNAC 9459). Currently on loan to the Musée de Grenoble.

As a way to draw attention to specific aspects of its online collection, the Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP) has put together a number of Zooms or compilations of works on a given theme. The first Zoom spotlights women artists with a selection of works chosen by the independent curator Liberty Adrien. To view the selection, click on “Zoom on” in the online collection or click here.

228 years of acquisitions of works by women artists

La Houle - the title of this Zoom – draws on research by Liberty Adrien, begun in 2016 and supported by a CNAP curatorial research grant, into the history of women artists in the collection. Houle is French for "sea swell" or, more widely, an undulating movement. Here it refers to fluctuations in the acquisition of works by women artists, influenced by social, political and cultural contexts.

Liberty Adrien identifies a lack of fair representation of women artists in collections, exhibition spaces and historical narratives. Her survey of the CNAP collection found that works by women artists account for 14% of acquisitions or 17,000 works out of more than 120,000. The selection for this Zoom, which should be seen as an encouragement for further exploration, corresponds to 1.5% of these works.

Text for the featured works are published on the CNAP’s social media accounts: Instagram Facebook Twitter

Information on each artist is complemented by biographical notes published by AwareArchives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions. These can be accessed via the CNAP database.

Liberty Adrien

Liberty Adrien is a freelance exhibition curator, art historian and critic. She lives and works in Berlin and Paris. In 2015 she set up Âme Nue, an exhibition space in Hamburg for contemporary art and creation where she has curated exhibitions by Ruth van Beek (2017), Sarah Feuillas (2015), Robin Hinsch (2019), Stefan Marx (2018), Moshtari Hilal (2019), Roman Moriceau (2016, 2019), Sarah Naqvi (2019) and Lu Yang (2018). She is the founder of the STAPLED art book fair (2018, 2019) and co-founder of the Âme Nue artists’ studios in Paris. In 2020, she co-founded Liberty Matters Book, an online store specialising in art books. Liberty Adrien is online editor for the art publisher Hatje Cantz and an art critic for PASSE-AVANT, an online magazine for the emerging contemporary art scene.

Updated: March 3 2021