immediately faced criticism from all sides: Feminists claimed it was ghettoizing female artists, while conservatives claimed the museum was politicizing art.

Ms. Holladay was unmoved. When she was fund-raising for the museum, she would point out that just 2 percent of the art acquired by major museums were by women. By the mid-2010s, that number had improved only slightly, to 11 percent. And as the museum’s collection expanded, the criticism died down.

“She had the courage of her convictions and she knew what she wanted to do,” said Susan Fisher Sterling, the museum’s longtime executive director. “She would say to people: ‘You’re absolutely right. It would be wonderful if women artists were treated equally. But they’re not.’”

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