Max Mara Art Prize 8th Edition: 2019 - 2021

Emma Talbot, Detail from Volcanic Landscape, 2022


London based artist, Emma Talbot (b. 1969, UK) was selected as the winner of the eighth Max Mara Art Prize for Women (2019) by a panel chaired by Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, and comprising art world experts, gallerist Florence Ingleby, artist Chantal Joffe, collector Fatima Maleki and art critic Hettie Judah. The other shortlisted artists were: Allison Katz, Katie Schwab, Tai Shani, and Hanna Tuulikki.

The Age/L’Età was developed during her six months bespoke residency organised by Collezione Maramotti.   


Emma Talbot (born 1969, Stourbridge, Worcestershire) is an English artist who lives and works in Walthamstow, London. Talbot studied at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design graduating with a BA Fine Art at (1991), followed by studies at the Royal College of Art, where she obtained an MA in Painting (1995), she was then a Rome Scholar at the British School, Rome, (1996).
In 2006 Talbot was widowed and has said that this experience has irrevocably influenced the nature of her work.

Talbot has also been selected for The Milk of Dreams at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, curated by Cecilia Alemani.


For her winning Max Mara Art Prize for Women commission, Emma Talbot questions deeply rooted positions of power, governance, attitudes to nature and representations of women through an acutely personal lens. The work takes as a starting point Gustav Klimt’s painting The Three Ages of Woman (1905), which features a naked elderly woman standing in apparent shame. In the final artwork, comprising two 11-metre-long free-hanging silk paintings, a life-sized sculptural figure, drawings and an animation and developed during her residency, Talbot re-framed the older woman as a figure with agency, capable of overcoming a series of trials similar to The Twelve Labors of Hercules. Through her modern-day trials, the woman reconstructs contemporary society, tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time.

The finalised project was presented at Whitechapel Gallery 30th June – 4 September 2022 before travelling to Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy from 23 October 2022 – 9 July 2023.

Image Credit: Emma Talbot, Detail from Volcanic Landscape (2022). Acrylic on silk. Courtesy the artist © Carlo Vannini