Cross MacKenzie Gallery is pleased to present “First Ladies,” an exhibition of portraits by Michele Mattei. This exhibition pulls together Mattei’s arresting portraits, new and old, of eminent ladies who tore down barriers and brooked no obstacles in their paths to the top of their respective fields. From Muriel Siebert, the first woman to hold a seat on the NYSE, to Betty Friedan, the first president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), to DC’s own Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, who created the first museum dedicated to women in the arts, these ladies, to name but a few, established an enduring legacy for women the world over. These activists, writers, politicians, teachers, doctors, and artists fought against the entrenched patriarchal systems to be recognized for their individual achievements and in so doing opened doors for all the women who followed. This power and nobility of purpose shines out of the portraits, enveloping the viewer in the mythos of these ladies.
The ‘First Ladies’ captured in these photographs are all noteworthy in their own rights, but together they tell a powerful story of women in the 20th century. The last century saw immense strides in gender equality, from women gaining suffrage in most of the world, to winning the Nobel Prize, to being elected heads of state, to establishing globally recognized brands, to leading civil rights movements, these are but a handful of the myriad of recent achievements. That these accomplishments have only taken place since 1900 goes to show just how significant the obstacles they surmounted were. Following Hillary Clinton’s historic candidacy for president it is important, now more than ever, that we celebrate these women and recognize that their accolades are stepping stones on which we must continue to build and build, never sliding backwards, so that our sisters and daughters and granddaughters can follow in their footsteps.
ARTIST PORTRAIT SESSIONS
January 14th and 15th, by appointment 1-4pm
On January 14th and 15th, we will be holding an exclusive portrait session with the artist. Call the gallery to schedule your appointment to have your visage captured by the incomparable Michele Mattei. All portraits taken will be hung alongside the exhibition from February 4th through the 11th. This is a singular opportunity to join the ranks of ‘First Ladies’ recognized for their lasting achievements throughout the 20th century, and into the 21st. The portrait sessions are not limited to ladies, extending also to gentlemen who support the equality of gender throughout the world.