We are honored to have the inimitable Susan Unterberg, artist, philanthropist - and Emily’s mom – as our Portrait of a Lady for Mother’s Day. An incredible role model and champion for women, Susan founded Anonymous Was A Woman, an organization awarding unrestricted grants to female artists over age 40, a time they are often marginalized. In its 20-plus years in existence, Anonymous has given over $5.5 million to 230 artists (and counting!), with Susan as the unknown (until recently) founder of the program. Read on for our candid conversation with her about work, motherhood, art, cats and much more...
What drew me to the Larkspur & Hawk earrings I am wearing... I love all of Emily’s jewelry but I keep going back to these from some years back as my ‘go-to’ earrings, as they go with everything.
They are perfect for... Every and any occasion.
My daily rituals... Not much!
To me, Larkspur & Hawk means... Style, sophistication, and wearing a creation of my daughter’s.
My style in three words... Simple, understated, and minimal.
What's inspiring me right now... The Hilma af Klint show that recently closed at the Guggenheim.
My favorite art period is... No favorites. My love for art spans so many periods and styles and so many things continue to engage me.
My favorite color combination is... All of them!
My favorite flower... Sweet peas.
To me, a necessary indulgence... Nice sheets.
Something old I love... My collection of early-American portraits.
I started Anonymous Was A Woman because... Grants for mid-career woman artists were not addressed elsewhere – and government funding for individual arts had been eliminated.
I stayed anonymous because... I wanted the focus of the award to stay on the artists and the mission, and I didn’t want the award to influence how I or my own work was viewed.
To me, women are... 51% of the global population!
Best advice I gave my daughters and grandchildren... Just be yourselves and honor your passions.
What I've learned from my two daughters... So many things.. .kindness, love, and dependability.
What I've learned from my cat, Oliver-Tinto... Patience. I live on his schedule.
The most surprising thing about being a mother... The joy of seeing my daughters turn out to be such accomplished women – and how fun it was to watch them become such great parents to my five wonderful grandchildren.
A golden rule I live by... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
What’s next for me... Continue making art and pushing Anonymous Was A Woman forward.