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The philanthropist and collector Barbara Lee is giving the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston 20 works by 12 female artists with a value estimated at $42 million, the largest gift by value in the museum’s history, officials said.

The new donations build on the gift last year by Ms. Lee of 43 other works by female artists that established the Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women at the museum.

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This past summer the magazine ArtNews published a special issue on the status of female artists – and the statistics it presented affirmed that the art world still has a whole lot to improve. Less than 30% of the exhibitions at America’s leading museums go to women. The share of women in major group exhibitions, such as the Venice Biennale and Documenta, is far below parity.

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The Nasher Sculpture Center announced yesterday that, following a gift of $750,000 from the Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation, the museum will form an acquisitions fund for work by women artists.

“It is the Nasher Sculpture Center’s great fortune to be granted this generous acquisitions gift, and we could not be more grateful to Ms. Doolin or excited about the possibilities this gift affords,” museum director Jeremy Strick said in a statement.

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Freeman’s Auctioneers and Appraisers in Philadelphia announced that they will be selling over 90 photographs from the art collection of the global beauty products company, Avon. The works will be part of the Photographs & Photobooks sale, which will be held on September 10, 2013. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will benefit the Avon Foundation for Women, a charitable organization dedicated to breast cancer research and ending domestic violence.

Works from the Avon Collection is comprised entirely of photographs by female artists such as Louise Dahl-Wolfe (1895-1989) and Cindy Sherman (b. 1954-). The offerings include landscapes, portraiture and fashion photography and span six decades. Sheri McCoy, CEO of Avon, said, “The Avon art collection represents many impressive female artists and we are happy to partner with Freeman’s to share these significant pieces of work.”

The Avon Collection also includes modern and contemporary sculpture, paintings and works on paper. The collection currently resides in Avon’s global headquarters in New York City.  

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The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is hosting Modern Women at PAFA: From Cassatt to O’Keeffe through September 1, 2013. The exhibition, which features 40 works by pioneering female artists, is a companion installation to the exhibition The Female Gaze: Women Artists Making Their World, which is on view through April 7, 2013.

Modern Women at PAFA includes both paintings and sculptures and explores themes such as motherhood and beauty, the natural landscape, self-portraiture, women in their community, women illustrators, and modern women in motion. Artists on view include Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986), Violet Oakley (1874-1961), and Susan Macdowell Eakins (1851-1938).

PAFA has been a notable supporter of female artists since its inaugural exhibition in 1811, which featured works by Anna Claypoole Peale (1791-1878), Margaretta Angelica Peale (1795-1882), and Sarah Miriam Peale (1800-1885), all members of the Peale family of American painters descended from the miniaturist and still-life painter James Peale (1749-1831). By 1844 PAFA encouraged female students to participate in art classes, distinguishing itself as a leader in arts education for women. A number of important female artists including Cassatt, Cecilia Beaux (1885-1942), and Emily Clayton Bishop (1883-1912) went on to forge important relationships with PAFA as both students and instructors.

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