In June 2019, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art received a generous estate gift of approximately $4 million from the late Indiana philanthropist Jane Fortune, who was a passionate advocate for women in the arts and founder of the Florence, Italy–based nonprofit Advancing Women Artists. Born and raised in Indianapolis, Fortune was an author, art historian, art collector, philanthropist, and cultural editor. Her commitment to supporting female artists has been recognized around the world.
Fortune’s most recent endeavor, A Space of Their Own, brings together research by Advancing Women Artists, the Eskenazi Museum of Art, and IU to build the world’s largest database on international female artists from the 1500s to the 1800s. Research for the database is led by Eskenazi Museum of Art Director Emerita Adelheid “Heidi” Gealt. A Space of Their Own will provide the most comprehensive resource to date of information on female painters, printmakers, and sculptors active in the United States and Europe between the 16th and 19th centuries.