What is life without a little bit of mystery, right? Well, this particular riddle was going on for around 22 years until the answer was revealed. And we’re talking about none other but the generous sole sponsor of the fund called “Anonymous Was A Woman” which was founded to support struggling female artists over the age of 40. After 22 years of silence, the anonymous sponsor chose to reveal their identity and it turns out, it’s a female artist as well! The person funding all these marvelous artists was none other but an artist herself, photographer Susan Unterberg.
After 22 years of anonymity, Susan Unterberg revealed herself as a sole sponsor behind the fund ‘Anonymous Was A Woman”
Image credits: AllArtsTV
The name of the fund itself, “Anonymous Was A Woman,” is a reverence to Virginia Woolf’s novel “A Room Of One’s Own” and refers to the women artists who were often forced to remain anonymous to actually get their work respected throughout the course of history. It is often argued that even nowadays, in the 21st century, women and men are still far from equals. While it may not be correct for all areas of life, Susan Unterberg feels that male and female artists are still not treated equally. “Women don’t get as many shows as men, and there isn’t financial parity in terms of what their work is worth,” she said. Even with everything that various female rights activist movements achieved, women artists seem to struggle quite a bit, making up just 3-5% of major permanent museum collections in the U.S and Europe.
During the period of 22 years, she donated over $5.5 million to female artists who were struggling to continue with their careers
Image credits: TheArtNewspaper
Knowing all this, Susan Unterberg founded the “Anonymous Was A Woman” foundation, which provided over 200 female artists with $25,000 in unrestricted grants since 1996. Unterberg donated a generous total of $5.5 million, all while being anonymous the whole time. She only revealed her identity in an interview with the New York Times in 2018, saying “It’s a great time for women to speak up. I feel I can be a better advocate having my own voice.” She adds, “Women have been anonymous for far too long.”