Maria Farmer

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Maria Farmer
Maria K. Farmer

EducationNew York Academy of Art 1995
Santa Clara University 1992
OccupationVisual artist
Known forAdvocate of justice for survivors of sexual assault
Stylefigurative painter

Maria Farmer (born 1970) is an American visual artist known for filing the earliest known criminal complaint to law enforcement in 1996 about the conduct of the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.[1] Farmer, a figurative painter, had also described her and her sister Annie's experiences of sexual misconduct from Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell to a journalist in 2002 but the publication refrained from including it in their accounts.

Early life and education[edit]

Maria K. Farmer was born in 1970 in Paducah, Kentucky to Frank Farmer and Janice Swain.[2][3][4] She has two younger brothers and two younger sisters.[2][3] The family lived for a time in Phoenix, Arizona.[5]

Farmer attended Santa Clara University and graduated in 1992.[6] She relocated to New York City in 1993 to study at the New York Academy of Art.[2][7] She graduated with her master's degree from the Academy in 1995.[8] She furthered her studies and attended a post-graduate workshop with Erik Fischl at the Santa Fe Art Institute in 1996.[9]


At her graduate exhibition in 1995, the school's dean Eileen Guggenheim introduced Farmer to both Jeffrey Epstein, who served as a board member at the Academy from 1987 - 1994, and to his companion Ghislaine Maxwell.[8] Although Farmer had already sold her painting for $12,000, Epstein reportedly wanted to buy it at the reception for half price and Guggenheim urged Farmer to cut him a deal.[8]

In the summer of 1995, Farmer was one of four artists chosen to attend an all expenses paid trip to Santa Fe.[10] Several of the artists reported attending a dinner party hosted by Epstein and Maxwell with Guggenheim that was designed to test the artists boundaries within a competitive environment where the women were promised that one would be rewarded with a major commissioned artwork for Epstein's New Mexico property.[10] However, no commission materialized.[10]

Farmer was recruited to work for Epstein, first briefly as his art advisor and then at the front desk signing in "tradesmen, decorators, and friends."[11][2] She observed a large number of young girls coming and going from the house and stated that Maxwell would leave on frequent missions to go get girls for Jeffrey.[11] Farmer also described Epstein showing her the security room at his New York mansion (the Herbert N. Straus House) which was equipped with extensive video surveillance devices.[12] Farmer recalled meeting Donald Trump[13] and Ivana Trump[14] in addition to seeing lawyer Alan Dershowitz regularly visiting Epstein's New York home.[15]

In the summer of 1996, Farmer was commissioned to create two works for the film set of "As Good as It Gets"[16] and Epstein offered her space to create the work as and artist-in-residence[17] at a guest home on Les Wexner's property in New Albany, Ohio.[16] Farmer has stated, in an affidavit filed in support of a defamation lawsuit between Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Alan Dershowitz, that Epstein and Maxwell came to the property in Ohio and sexually assaulted her.[15] She managed to escape into another part of the house and barricaded herself inside by pushing furniture up against the door.[1] Then she contacted members of her family, her mentor artist Eric Fischl,[18] and reached out to authorities.[1] Security guards on the property told her that she could not leave and she was held against her will for 12 hours.[9] Farmer was eventually able to depart the scene when her father arrived, after driving from Kentucky to Ohio, to pick her up.[2]

Later that summer, Farmer learned that her younger sister Annie had also been assaulted by Epstein when Annie had visited him at his Zorro Ranch in New Mexico.[19] In a lawsuit filed in 2019 against Epstein's estate, Annie Farmer revealed that Epstein had groped, harassed, and crawled into bed with her in New Mexico[19] whereas Maxwell had given her an inappropriate topless massage.[16]

Maria Farmer went to the NYPD and the FBI in 1996 to report the assault.[13] The authorities did not take action.[20] In 2002, Farmer, her sister, and her mother also shared their stories with journalist Vicky Ward, then at Vanity Fair, who was writing a profile on Epstein.[21] Despite the Farmer sisters and their mother giving voice to the misconduct, their mention was excluded from the final story by then editor Graydon Carter.[15][22] NPR and the New York Times reported that Carter had been pressured by Epstein at the time of publication to omit mention of the Farmer sisters;[2] Carter's residence and the Vanity Fair office had each received ominous signals (a bullet and a cat's head) at times corresponding to when they might have further investigated Epstein.[21]

The art collector Stuart Pivar confirmed that he learned of Farmer's experience shortly after it occurred.[23] Artist Eric Fischl also corroborated Farmer's account and confirmed being contacted by her.[2] Maxwell threatened Farmer repeatedly after the event in an effort to enforce her silence.[17] Following the Vanity Fair profile on Epstein in which editors decided not to publish Farmer's account, she has stated that the threats intensified, leading her to leave the New York art world.[2]

Farmer has been working on a series of paintings called “The Survivors Project” consisting of portraits of survivors of Epstein's abuse.[1] She has stated that the harm experienced by countless others could have been prevented if authorities had listened when she first reported the abuse.[1] An exhibition of Farmer's artwork is scheduled to open on March 14, 2020 at the Gavlak Gallery in Los Angeles.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Farmer reportedly lives in Austin, Texas.[24]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hill, James; Remillard, Mark; Effron, Lauren (January 9, 2020). "Jeffrey Epstein survivor paints portraits of other survivors: 'Each one of those should have never happened'". ABC News. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Baker, Mike (2019-08-26). "The Sisters Who First Tried to Take Down Jeffrey Epstein". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  3. ^ a b Ladd, Sarah (July 10, 2019). "21 years before #MeToo, a Kentucky native says Jeffrey Epstein sexually assaulted her". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  4. ^ Lambe, Jerry (August 26, 2019). "Jeffrey Epstein Accuser: When Donald Trump Eyed Me, Epstein Remarked 'She's Not for You'". Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  5. ^ Patterson, James; Connolly, John; Malloy, Tim (2016). "Vicky Ward: November 2002". Filthy Rich. New York: Little Brown and Company. pp. 149–152. ISBN 9780316274050.
  6. ^ "About Maria Farmer". Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  7. ^ Arnold, Amanda (2019-08-26). "Ghislane Maxwell Allegedly Told Epstein Accuser to 'Watch Her Back'". The Cut. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  8. ^ a b c Corbett, Rachel; Davis, Ben (2019-08-26). "Jeffrey Epstein Accuser Maria Farmer Says the New York Academy of Art Helped Enable the Disgraced Financier". artnet News. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  9. ^ a b Small, Zachary (2019-07-10). "Disgraced Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein's Art World Connections". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  10. ^ a b c Corbett, Rachel (2020-01-27). "'It Was a Question of 'How Far Will They Go?: Former Art Students Remember How Jeffrey Epstein Tested Boundaries". artnet News. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  11. ^ a b Bruck, Connie (July 29, 2019). "Alan Dershowitz, Devil's Advocate". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  12. ^ "Jeffrey Epstein accuser says his house had cameras "monitoring private moments"". CBS News. November 18, 2019. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  13. ^ a b "Student Accuses New York Academy of Art of Enabling Jeffrey Epstein [UPDATE]". Artforum. August 27, 2019. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  14. ^ Saner, Emine (2019-12-12). "'She was so dangerous': where in the world is the notorious Ghislaine Maxwell?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  15. ^ a b c Brown, Julie K. (April 16, 2019). "New Jeffrey Epstein accuser goes public; defamation lawsuit targets Dershowitz". Miami Herald. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  16. ^ a b c Ellison, Sarah; O'Connell, Jonathan (October 5, 2019). "Epstein accuser holds Victoria's Secret billionaire responsible, as he keeps his distance". Washington Post. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  17. ^ a b "Jeffrey Epstein accuser Maria Farmer says Ghislaine Maxwell threatened her life, FBI "failed" her". CBS News. November 19, 2019. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  18. ^ Selvin, Claire (2019-08-27). "Jeffrey Epstein's Art World Connections: A Guide". Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  19. ^ a b McKinley, Jesse (2019-11-17). "Why These 5 Accusers of Jeffrey Epstein Want More Than Money". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  20. ^ Neumeister, Larry (November 12, 2019). "Woman who spoke at Epstein's bail hearing sues his estate". ABC News. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  21. ^ a b Folkenflik, David (August 22, 2019). "A Dead Cat, A Lawyer's Call And A 5-Figure Donation: How Media Fell Short On Epstein". NPR. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  22. ^ Ward, Vicky (2015-01-07). "I Tried to Warn You About Sleazy Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2003". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  23. ^ Nally, Leland (August 23, 2019). "Jeffrey Epstein, my very, very sick pal". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  24. ^ Burke, Caroline (2019-04-16). "Maria Farmer: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Retrieved 2020-02-11.

Further reading[edit]