The Bennett Collection

Our Mission
The Bennett Collection® is based on two similar but different beliefs. First, while women painters have produced remarkable work for centuries, they have not received the same degree of acceptance as their male counterparts. This lack of acceptance is demonstrated in a variety of ways---the number of museum exhibitions and solo shows granted to women, the smaller presence of women on visual fine arts faculties, and the lower prices paid to women artists for their work, among others. These actions have impaired the recognition of these painters and their work and tended to discourage them at the earliest and most critical moments of their artistic careers. As Steven says, “The Guerilla Girls are RIGHT!”

Second, in addition to the gender discrimination that has prevailed against women painters, over the course of time, figurative realism has come to be disfavored in many art schools, universities and galleries, disdained by academics and art establishment professionals whose preference for abstract or conceptual work has led them to ignore or repudiate the realistic depiction of persons or figures.
What LS&A has done for us
When we began conceptualizing a prize for women figurative realist painters, we realized that it was a complicated undertaking with multiple, interrelated issues. Knowing that we needed practical, commonsense, can-we-make-this-work advice, we involved Laura from the beginning. As a result, we structured The Bennett Prize in a way that fully addressed a variety of parallel and often competing considerations. Today, The Bennett Prize is the largest art prize awarded to women figurative painters in the United States and we much appreciate Laura’s efforts in helping us put it all together.

---Steven Alan Bennett and Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt - Co-founders, The Bennett Prize for Women Figurative Realists