Chanel stages feminist coup at National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is now closed for a major renovation until 2023, and while losing access to the NPG for a number of years is a bitter pill to swallow, it will be worth it, not least because Chanel is now involved. in the reorganization of the gallery’s permanent collection. According to a March 17 statement, the house will play a key role in the Reframing the stories: women in the portrait project, which aims to ‘highlight the often overlooked stories of individual women who have shaped British history and culture’.

‘Marie-Louise von Motesiczky’ by Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, 1959, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

National Portrait Gallery London

Chanel appointed curator Dr Flavia Frigeri to lead the initiative. “I’m excited to find other meaningful ways to put women in the spotlight and tell urgent, untold stories that expand definitions of greatness,” the acclaimed art historian said of the news. Not only will Frigeri and her team revisit the NPG archives to highlight more portraits of female and / or female artists, but Chanel will help the gallery acquire and commission portraits of pioneer women. Currently, the NPG online catalog lists 53,812 works with male subjects compared to only 17,632 works with female models.

‘Georgina Masson’ by Horace Ové, 2002, courtesy of Horace Ové and the National Portrait Gallery.

National Portrait Gallery London

The Reframing the stories: women in the portrait The program already has a list of artists who will be at the heart of their research. Included in their numbers: Edwardian photographer Alice Hughes, who captured fashionable society in the early decades of the 20th century; deeply eccentric 18th-century wax sculptor Patience Lovell Wright; and Austrian-born painter Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, an aristocratic designer renowned for her self-portraits. In terms of subjects, on the other hand, Frigeri plans to focus on actor Anna May Wong; novelist Radclyffe Hall; Georgina Masson, the first black woman to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service; British spy Noor Inayat Khan; and author Alma Reville, previously widely known as the wife of Alfred Hitchcock. Coco would approve.

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