Mark Cross’s latest campaign: From One Woman to Another highlights the power of female mentorship. Diving into real mentor and protégé pairings within the art world, the campaign images were shot by well-known photographer David Lipman and include notable subjects such as Sophie and Gaïa Matisse as just one pairing example.
In addition to the campaign itself, a series of interviews published on ARTNET explore the professional relationship between mentors: the leaders and innovators within the industry and their protégés: the true up-and-comers. A total of five interviews will begin with mentor / protégé pairing: Alma Thomas (artist) and Sukanya Rajaratnam (Partner at Mnuchin Gallery) and end with Gaïa Matisse (actress and model) and Sophie Matisse (artist). Proceeds from the campaign will be donated to support women in the arts, in the hope to continue to empower these important relationships and the chain that passes knowledge from artist generation to generation.
This entire project stemmed from seeing a void within the art world. I wanted to show women as they truly are – as pillars within the industry that continue to give back to the community through mentorship. I felt there weren’t as many instances of women being highlighted within the space as there should be. I wanted to be able to create a canvas that capitalized on women lifting each other up – doing this through my photographs.
– David Lipman
Lipman continues, “I wanted to work with the art community to show off a variety of incredible women in the art world. Mark Cross has such a beautiful art history in its DNA, and I felt that this was a logical connection and partnership. I discussed it with Ulrik Garde Due, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mark Cross, and he was very enthusiastic about it from the beginning.”
All artists owe something to their predecessors, whether they follow gently in their footsteps or are inspired to invent new forms and styles of art. The centuries-old practice of a master teaching apprentices in a studio may have waned, but emerging artists and art world professionals who are mentored by high achievers today know how enriching that experience is. This is especially true for young female artists and industry newcomers who, even in these enlightened times, frequently struggle to attain the success of their male counterparts.
“Everyone I photographed took me on a journey that became individual and unique to each person. I think that became a lesson in life I’ll carry forever: to strive for equality and respect between the genders,” further states Lipman. “Each woman involved in this project taught me something unique about themselves and I tried to portray that as best I could. I didn’t want to change anything. Ultimately, art is all about how it makes you feel. It’s all about true emotion, and I wanted to capture their authentic selves in the photos.”
Mark Cross, the resurgent luxury leather goods brand, is no stranger to art: its onetime owner Gerald Murphy, himself an influential painter, and his wife Sara created a gathering place for legendary artists and writers, Picasso, Fitzgerald, Hemingway on the 1920’s French Riviera.
Mentor: Gaïa Matisse, Actress and Model Gaïa Matisse is the daughter of Sophie Matisse and the great great granddaughter of Henri Matisse. She is a French born, American actress, model, and designer. In 2018, she launched Aïa, a line of hand-made accessories. Matisse is best known for her roles in the films Forgetting Sandy Glass (2017), My Butterfly (2011), and Mumbai Chopra: Misadventures of an It Girl (2010). She has modeled for Just Drew and Tiffany & Co., amongst others. Matisse is entwined in the arts scene and attends the latest art fairs and industry events.
Protégé: Sophie Matisse, Artist Sophie Matisse is an American artist who has continued the illustrious legacy of her famous great grandfather, Henri Matisse. Sophie first gained acclaim for her Missing Person paintings which reinterpreted classic artworks in her own aesthetic. Matisse has provided artworks in support of numerous charitable causes including the New York installment of the international “Sing For Hope” Campaign, which placed painted pianos around the city before donating them to under-resourced schools, community centers, and healthcare facilities. Matisse is currently represented by Francis Naumann Fine Art.
Mentor: Mariane Ibrahim, Director and Founder of Mariane Ibrahim Gallery Mariane Ibrahim is a forward-thinking Gallery Director and Founder dedicated to presenting world class international artworks that challenge the status quo. Raised in Somalia and France, Ibrahim established her namesake gallery in Seattle, Washington where she expertly cultivated a roster of artists from Africa and beyond. In 2019, Ibrahim is moving her gallery to Chicago where she will continue fostering a connection between American aesthetics and African art. A fixture at global art fairs, Ibrahim has presented at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London Frieze New York, Untitled Miami, and Art Dubai, among many more. In 2017 she was awarded the first ever Presents Booth Prize at The Armory Show in New York.
Protégé: Marieluise Hessel, Collector Marieluise Hessel is a renowned art collector and philanthropist. She established the Marieluise Hessel Foundation, founded the Hessel Museum of Art and is a co-founder of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard). Hessel has been a collector of contemporary art since the late 1960’s, and her still growing collection of over 2,000 works is on permanent loan to CCS Bard & the Hessel Museum. Hessel is married to Edwin L. Artzt, Retired Chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble.
Mentor: Kate Shin, Founder, and Creator of Waterfall Mansion and Gallery Kate Shin is a superstar financier turned art entrepreneur. Waterfall Mansion and Gallery is a gem of the Upper East Side; Shin purchased the multimillion-dollar building in 2008, and with architect Toshiko Mori redesigned the seven-story townhouse into the contemporary art gallery and artist residency that it is today. In addition to Shin’s talent as a gallerist, she is also passionate about identifying and promoting new artists from around the world and helping art enthusiasts find compelling new works. “My vision for Waterfall Mansion and Gallery was to create an incubator for innovative collaboration within the contemporary art market,” says Shin.
Protégé: Sun K. Kwak, Artist Sun K. Kwak is a Korean born, New York City based artist renown for her site specific “space drawings”. Kwak uses black masking tape to create large scale abstract patterns on architectural surfaces. These mural-like installations transform the mundane material of masking tape into beautiful and delicate artworks. Kwak’s artworks have been exhibited around the world at institutions such as: The Brooklyn Museum, The New Art Gallery in England, House of World Culture in Berlin, Brain Factory in Korea, Vitamin Arte Contemporanea in Italy, and many more. Kwak is currently an artist in residence at Kate Shin’s Waterfall Gallery.
Mentor: Alma Thomas, Artist Alma Thomas, who passed away in 1978 was an Expressionist best known for her exuberant abstract paintings. As an African American female artist, Thomas was unjustly underappreciated in her lifetime. Working during the era of segregation, Thomas broke many barriers and was one of the first African American women to ever earn an art degree. In recent years, Thomas has gained acclaim for her undervalued artworks that show a mastery of rhythm, pattern, and color. Thomas’ works have been prominently featured at Mnuchin Gallery in New York.
Protégé: Sukanya Rajaratnam, Partner at Mnuchin Gallery Sukanya Rajaratnam is a partner at the prestigious Mnuchin Gallery on New York’s Upper East Side and a major influencer in the art world. By navigating high level institutional and private sales and curating refined shows, Rajaratnam has positioned Mnuchin Gallery as one of New York’s most important art spaces. Rajaratnam began her career in the Investment Banking Division of Chase Manhattan Bank before transitioning into the art world. Prior to becoming a partner at Mnuchin Gallery, she held positions at Deitch Projects Gallery and Christie’s Auction House.
Mentor: RoseLee Goldberg, Art Critic, Curator and founder of Performa RoseLee Goldberg is an American art historian, author, critic, and curator of performance art. Goldberg is best known as the founder and director of Performa, a non-profit interdisciplinary art organization established in 2004. Perfoma’s mission is to award and produce commissions, to present a three-week biennial of live performances in New York every other year, to offer public education programs, and to disseminate varied performance-related content through archives and digital channels. Goldberg is preeminent authority in the art world and has lectured at Columbia University, the Guggenheim Museum, the Tate Modern, and Yale University, among others.
Protégé: Roya Sachs, Curator Roya Sachs is an independent curator and artist director who often combines mediums to create wholly unique experiences. Sachs is the co-founder of Triadic, a creative house specializing in cross disciplinary arts and is the current curator of the Level House Art Collection. Sachs is also on the Board of Directors at Performa and is the co-chair of the Performa Visionaries program. Fashionable and ambitious, Sachs was featured on Forbes’ 2019 “30 under 30” Art & Style section and has been written about by Vogue and The New York Times, among others.
Brand Creative Director | Mark Cross Agency | Lipman Studio Creative Director & Photographer | David Lipman Talents | Gaïa Matisse, Sophie Matisse, Mariane Ibrahim, Marieluise Hessel, Kate Shin, Sun K. Kwak, Alma Thomas, Sukanya Rajaratnam, RoseLee Goldberg, Roya Sachs