17 Painters Who Were Women, Despite Art History Making You Think It Has Always Mostly Been Men (2022)

    There have always been women artists, it's just that historically they've gotten less attention.

    by Natalya LobanovaBuzzFeed Staff

    1. Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson (1847–1906)

    17 Painters Who Were Women, Despite Art History Making You Think It Has Always Mostly Been Men (2)

    Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

    Sarah Dodson was an American artist. Her father opposed the idea of women creating art, despite his daughter's clear and early indications of talent, and so Dodson's formal training did not start until the death of her father.

    2. Alma Thomas (1891–1978)

    Frances Young Tang Museum, Michael Fischer

    Alma Thomas was an American artist who spent most of her life as an arts educator, and did not fully dedicate herself to her painting until she was in her 60s. She found acclaim towards the end of her life and in 1972, at the age of 88, she had a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, making her the first African-American woman to do so. However, despite this status, she refused to be defined by her identity and demanded to be seen as an artist first and foremost.

    3. Marie Guillemine Benoist (1768–1826)

    17 Painters Who Were Women, Despite Art History Making You Think It Has Always Mostly Been Men (3)

    Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

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    Marie Guillemine Benoist was a Parisian painter. The painting above, Portrait d'une négresse, was exhibited six years after the abolition of slavery and quickly became a symbol of women's liberation and black rights. She soon became a very popular painter and even opened an art school for women. Tragically, her career was cut short during the Bourbon Restoration, and in the face of growing European conservatism she put a stop to her painting and her art school, despite being at the height of her popularity.

    4. Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852–1936)

    17 Painters Who Were Women, Despite Art History Making You Think It Has Always Mostly Been Men (4)

    Creative Commons / Via nationalgalleries.org

    Phoebe Anna Traquair was an Irish artist who was an incredibly influential part of the Art and Crafts movement in Scotland during the 1800s and early 1900s. This was a movement that valued traditional creative and decorative skills, such as woodworking, embroidery, and tapestry, and looked towards the medieval eras for inspiration. The above two images are huge embroidered works of art know as "The Progress of a Soul", made between 1895-1902. In real life, they are iridescent and seem to glow.

    5. Mary Cassatt (1844 – 1926)

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    Mary Cassatt was an American painter and an outspoken supporter of women's rights, she campaigned for equal scholarship rights and the right to vote. Though her work did not make any explicit political statements, there was always a suggestion of a deeper inner life in her mostly female subjects.

    6. Rachel Ruysch (1664 – 1750)

    17 Painters Who Were Women, Despite Art History Making You Think It Has Always Mostly Been Men (5)

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    Rachel Ruysch was a very influential still-life painter that had a successful career spanning over six decades. She was internationally known in her lifetime and had her own distinctive style. She was a key figure in the Dutch Golden Age.

    7. Zinaida Serebriakova (1884–1967)

    17 Painters Who Were Women, Despite Art History Making You Think It Has Always Mostly Been Men (6)

    Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

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    Zinaida Serebriakova was born to a noble and artistic family. For most of her youth, her paintings were optimistic and bold, capturing the beauty of both the Russian landscape and the people who inhabited it. However, the October Revolution in 1917 sent her life into turmoil and she had no income after her husband died. She was eventually commissioned to create a piece of work in Paris and was not permitted to return to the Soviet Union after. She never moved back to the Soviet Union, and her works were not exhibited there until 1966, when they were received with great praise.

    8. Sophie Gengembre Anderson (1823–1903)

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    Sophie Gengembre Anderson was a French-born British artist who also lived in the United States. She was incredibly commercially successful during her life, and her painting "No Walk Today" (on the right), sold for £1 million in 2008.

    9. Maria van Oosterwijck (1630–1693)

    17 Painters Who Were Women, Despite Art History Making You Think It Has Always Mostly Been Men (7)

    Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

    Maria van Oosterwijck was an influential Dutch painter who specialised in still life paintings of flowers. Her studio was opposite that of Willem van Aelst, another influential Dutch flower painter, who courted her. He proposed to her, and not wishing to offend him by rejecting him outright, she told him she would only marry him if he painted every single day for a year. From her studio window, she could see van Aeist at his easel, and would make a mark on her window sill every time he missed a day of painting. After the year passed, van Aeist saw the large amount of marks on her windowsill and conceded defeat; she remained single and very successful as an artist throughout her life.

    10. Louise Abbéma (1853 – 1927)

    Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org, Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

    Louise Abbéma was a French artist who was born into a noble and well-connected family. Her first work that received public recognition was a portrait of her lifelong friend and actress, Sarah Bernhardt, who some speculate was also her lover.

    11. Marie Laurencin (1883 – 1956)

    wikiart.org, Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

    Marie Laurencin was a French artist and one of the few female cubist painters. Her work was influenced by that of other avant-garde painters of the time, but she was differentiated by her focus on female subjects and a unique approach to abstraction.

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    12. Madeleine Jeanne Lemaire (1845 – 1928)

    17 Painters Who Were Women, Despite Art History Making You Think It Has Always Mostly Been Men (8)

    Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

    Madeleine Jeanne Lemaire was a French painter. She was very commercially successful, especially when it came to her paintings of flowers – so much so that she became known as the "Empress of Roses".

    13. Henriette Browne (1829 – 1901)

    17 Painters Who Were Women, Despite Art History Making You Think It Has Always Mostly Been Men (9)

    Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

    Born Sophie de Bouteiller, she took the pseudonym Henriette Browne to keep her personal life and work life separate – it was deemed unseemly for a woman to be an artist at the time. She travelled extensively across much of North Africa, as her husband was a diplomat. Her paintings document much of what she saw across her travels.

    14. Evelyn De Morgan (1855 – 1919)

    Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org, Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

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    Evelyn De Morgan was an English painter influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite movement. She focused on ambitious and cerebral subjects that exhibited spirituality and mythology in her work; most of it fantastical.

    15. Julia Beck (1853 – 1935)

    Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org, Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

    16. Florine Stettheimer (1871 – 1944)

    Florine Stettheimer was an American painter who achieved m uchof her acclaim after her death. She had one solo exhibition during her lifetime, in which she exhibited twelve works, none of which sold. She was cushioned by her wealthy upbringing and continued to pursue painting as a purely private interest and had little need to make money from it; her privileged position is evidenced in her paintings, which often depict society events. Though she wished for all her paintings to be destroyed after her death, this was opposed by her sister, and there have been retrospectives of her work at the MOMA and ICA Boston.

    17. Dame Laura Knight (1877 – 1970)

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    The above painting, "Self Portrait With Nude", was highly controversial when it was first exhibited in 1913 and offended many critics. However, it was a political and radical statement – an artist who was a woman dared to present herself exactly as that, an artist foremost, in her every day clothes, painting her subject. She presented herself in the same way male artists presented themselves in their self-portraits for centuries, rather than in her best clothes, in a flattering pose that is easily-digestible by a patriarchal audience. She was the first woman to be elected as a full member of the Royal Academy in 1936.

    FAQs

    Who is the most famous female artist in art history? ›

    As an artist at the forefront of American Modernism, Georgia O'Keeffe is one of the most celebrated female artists in history.
    ...
    Georgia O'Keeffe (1887–1986)
    Full NameGeorgia Totto O'Keeffe
    MovementAmerican Modernism
    4 more rows
    1 Mar 2021

    Who was the greatest 17th century female painter? ›

    Artemisia is the most celebrated female painter of the 17th century. She worked in Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples and London, for the highest echelons of European society, including the Grand Duke of Tuscany and Philip IV of Spain.

    Who is the most famous female painter alive? ›

    Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) is arguably the most famous female artist alive today. Yayoi Kusama is a contemporary artist known for her profuse use of polka dots and her extensive body of work which includes paintings, sculpture, clothing, art objects, performances, and installations.

    Were there any women painters in the Renaissance? ›

    Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 – 1653)

    Perhaps the most iconic female artist to emerge from the Renaissance, as well as one of the most distinguished artists in history, was Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi.

    Who is the most famous female in history? ›

    Virgin Mary, 1st-century BC–1st-century AD. The mother of Jesus, Mary is venerated by both Christians and Muslims, and is probably the most famous woman in history.

    Who was the first great female painter? ›

    1652) Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi was the first female member of the prestigious Accademia de Arte del Disegno (Academy of Arts of Drawing) in 1616. Trained by her father and fellow artist, Orazio Gentileschi, she learned how to paint at a young age, according to Hall W.

    What challenges were female painters facing in the 18th century? ›

    However, even this founding member of art's most famous movement (and sister-in-law to Manet) faced barriers to recognition based on her gender. Female painters in 18th and 19th century Europe faced similar dilemmas—fame and fortune were possible, but their gender could pose additional barriers to formal training, ...

    What was it like to be a woman artist in Rome during the seventeenth-century? ›

    In comparison to their male counterparts, women artists had limited freedom of movement and suffered serious legal and social restrictions to owning property and running their own affairs.

    What is the meaning of the Self Portrait as the Allegory of Painting? ›

    The scene depicts Gentileschi painting herself, who is in turn represented as the “Allegory of Painting” illustrated by Cesare Ripa. It is now in the British Royal Collection. The painting demonstrates rare feminist themes from a time when women seldom held jobs, let alone were well known for them.

    How do you call a female artist? ›

    Synonyms for female artist
    1. female artist.
    2. woman-artist.
    3. performer.
    4. artist.

    Is Frida Kahlo a feminist? ›

    Despite the harsh gender inequality of the 1900s, Kahlo was honest about being a woman. And that is what that puts her, even now, at the forefront of being a feminist. Never once did she hide, cower or expect to be shielded from the harsh realities of her life.

    Why were female artists overlooked in the past? ›

    Because those who were keeping a record of artistic developments, works of art and the artists who created them often seemingly 'forgot' certain groups or individual people due to their gender, ethnicity, or social standing, among many other things.

    Who were the first female artists? ›

    Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) was an Italian painter of the Mannerist school and one of the most important portraitists in Bologna during the late 16th century.

    Who was the first female Renaissance painter? ›

    A self-taught nun-artist, Plautilla Nelli was the first-known woman Renaissance painter of Florence. A nun of the Dominican convent of St. Catherine of Siena, she was highly influenced by the teaching of Savonarola and by the artwork of Fra Bartolomeo.

    What two female artists became popular during the Renaissance? ›

    noble women with exceptional educations (e.g., Sofonisba Anguissola, Lucia Anguissola, but also most of the nuns above); or. most commonly, women born into a family of artists (e.g., Levina Teerlinc, Catarina van Hemessen, Artemisia Gentileschi, Elisabetta Sirani, Lavinia Fontana)

    Who is a strong woman in history? ›

    1. Sybil Ludington: The Female Paul Revere. On the night of April 26, 1777, 16-year-old Sybil Ludington rode nearly 40 miles to warn some 400 militiamen that the British troops were coming. Much like the ride of Paul Revere, Ludington's message helped Patriot leaders prepare for battle.

    Who is the first woman born in the world? ›

    EVA, EVE is the first woman. There are two stories of the creation of Eve and Adam.

    Who was the first female professional painter in America? ›

    Miniatures were considered most suitable for women painters in the early nineteenth century, as they had been in the eighteenth, when Henrietta Johnston (d. 1728-1729) became the first American professional woman artist.

    Why is Frida Kahlo so famous? ›

    Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter best known for her uncompromising and brilliantly colored self-portraits that deal with such themes as identity, the human body, and death. Although she denied the connection, she is often identified as a Surrealist.

    Why were there so few female artists during the Renaissance? ›

    For centuries in Italy — the cradle of Renaissance masters — women with artistic talent were not allowed to enter academies. And the names of the few female artists from centuries past have mostly faded into oblivion. During the Renaissance, Falcone says, "Women didn't have citizenship.

    Who was the famous female artist who became famous for her colorful scenes of nature? ›

    Georgia O'Keeffe
    O'Keeffe in 1918, photograph by Alfred Stieglitz
    BornGeorgia Totto O'KeeffeNovember 15, 1887 Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, U.S.
    DiedMarch 6, 1986 (aged 98) Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.
    6 more rows

    Why were females painted in profile during the Renaissance? ›

    Commemorative portraiture was arguably the most common form of Renaissance portraiture women were featured in. This can be attributed to the fact that commemorative portraits depicted women as they were to be married; the only time they were to be seen, as publicity was necessary to legitimize a marriage.

    Who are the French painters during 19th century? ›

    Nineteenth century (Impressionism to Fauvism)
    • Camille Pissarro (1830–1903), painter.
    • Étienne-Jules Marey (1830–1904), photographer.
    • Édouard Manet (1832–1883), painter.
    • Gustave Doré (1832–1883), engraver.
    • Edgar Degas (1834–1917), painter, sculptor.
    • Pierre Mallet (1836-1898), painter of ceramics.

    Who was the first professional female artist? ›

    Sofonisba Anguissola (around 1532–1625) was born into an aristocratic family—albeit a financially squeezed one—from Cremona. Fontana is regarded as the first professional female artist. A prolific painter through 11 pregnancies, she supported her family with her art.

    Which artist had females as the center of all his her artworks? ›

    Summary of Artemisia Gentileschi

    Following in the footsteps of Caravaggio, her Baroque paintings were some of the most dramatic and dynamic of her generation and she became known for her realism, her accomplished use of chiaroscuro, and for placing women and their stories at the center of all her images.

    How did baroque art influence society? ›

    Baroque brought images for religious worship back into the public eye after being banned for their glorification of the ethereal and ideal. The movement's leaders professed that art should be easily understood and strongly felt by common people with the effect of encouraging piety and an awe for the church.

    Who is known for the painting titled Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting? ›

    Artemisia Gentileschi (Rome 1593-Naples 1652) - Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting (La Pittura)

    Where is Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting? ›

    What do you call a male painter? ›

    por·trait·ist. (pôr′trə-tĭst) n. A person who makes portraits, especially a painter or photographer.

    How does art represent gender? ›

    In classical art, gender qualities associated with women are beauty, domesticity, and passivity and for males the contrary principles such as power, dominance, and social status.

    Who is a famous girl painter? ›

    Rosa Bonheur was widely recognized as the most famous female painter in France during the 19th century.

    Why did Frida Kahlo look masculine? ›

    Her decision to exaggerate her now famous unibrow, moustache and strong features give her self-portraits an androgynous appearance, which was perhaps her way of documenting the masculine energy she felt present in her spirit.

    Was Frida Kahlo a Genderfluid? ›

    Both of them were involved in extramarital affairs, and Kahlo's lovers were both men and women. She was also very genderfluid in her physical representation—emphasizing her features in a way that invites examination of femininity, masculinity, self-perception, confidence, and more.

    Why did Frida Kahlo have a unibrow? ›

    Why are these features in her paintings? Frida Kahlo had a unibrow as part of her personal and her artistic style. She kept a unibrow and a mustache as a statement on male and female beauty standards. She was encouraged by her husband Diego Rivera, and also depicted herself with these features in her paintings.

    What percent of artists are female? ›

    1. Women make up just under half of all artists nationwide (46 percent), comparable to their percentage of the U.S. workforce. But they are underrepresented in many artist professions.

    Who are some famous female singers? ›

    19 Of The Greatest And Most Famous Female Singers
    • Madonna.
    • Beyoncé
    • Cher.
    • Whitney Houston.
    • Aretha Franklin.
    • Dolly Parton.
    • Tina Turner.
    • Taylor Swift.
    10 Aug 2022

    How does contemporary art challenge art history's study of period and regional styles? ›

    How does contemporary art challenge art history's study of period and regional styles? It lacks unifying visual hallmarks and thematic coherence.

    Why are there not many female artists? ›

    "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" is a 1971 essay by American art historian Linda Nochlin. It was praised for its new slant on feminist art history and theory, and examining the institutional obstacles that prevent women from succeeding in the arts.

    Were there any female artists during the Renaissance? ›

    Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 – 1653)

    Perhaps the most iconic female artist to emerge from the Renaissance, as well as one of the most distinguished artists in history, was Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi.

    Who was the most renowned female painter of the 17th century? ›

    Artemisia is the most celebrated female painter of the 17th century. She worked in Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples and London, for the highest echelons of European society, including the Grand Duke of Tuscany and Philip IV of Spain.

    Who is a Renaissance woman today? ›

    Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, Mae Jemison — to name just a few — can all claim the distinction of being a modern day Renaissance Woman.

    Who were the famous Renaissance artists? ›

    Renaissance

    Who were the pioneers of modern abstract art in the 1950s? ›

    Abstract Expressionism, broad movement in American painting that began in the late 1940s and became a dominant trend in Western painting during the 1950s. The most prominent American Abstract Expressionist painters were Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and Mark Rothko.

    What is the time period known as the Renaissance? ›

    The Renaissance was a fervent period of European cultural, artistic, political and economic “rebirth” following the Middle Ages. Generally described as taking place from the 14th century to the 17th century, the Renaissance promoted the rediscovery of classical philosophy, literature and art.

    Who painted the Sistine Chapel? ›

    2. Contrary to popular belief, Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel in a standing position. When they picture Michelangelo creating his legendary frescoes, most people assume he was lying down.

    Who were the first female artists? ›

    Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) was an Italian painter of the Mannerist school and one of the most important portraitists in Bologna during the late 16th century.

    Who is a famous female painter? ›

    20 Female Artists You Need to Know
    • Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (French, 1755–1842) ...
    • Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926) ...
    • Hilma af Klint (Swedish, 1862-1944) ...
    • Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887-1986) ...
    • Augusta Savage (American, 1892-1962) ...
    • Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907-1954) ...
    • Louise Bourgeois (French, 1911-2010)
    30 May 2020

    Who is the most famous black female painter? ›

    1. Laura Wheeler Waring. What is this? Among the greatest black female artists of the 20th century, few are as well-known as Laura Wheeler Waring.

    Why is Mona Lisa famous? ›

    The Mona Lisa is so famous because it's an oil painting in the style of realism by Renaissance icon, Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci was born in 1452 and grew up to be one of the best painters, architects, and inventors of the Renaissance era.

    Who was the first female Renaissance painter? ›

    A self-taught nun-artist, Plautilla Nelli was the first-known woman Renaissance painter of Florence. A nun of the Dominican convent of St. Catherine of Siena, she was highly influenced by the teaching of Savonarola and by the artwork of Fra Bartolomeo.

    Who was the famous female artist who became famous for her colorful scenes of nature? ›

    Georgia O'Keeffe
    O'Keeffe in 1918, photograph by Alfred Stieglitz
    BornGeorgia Totto O'KeeffeNovember 15, 1887 Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, U.S.
    DiedMarch 6, 1986 (aged 98) Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.
    6 more rows

    Who was the first female American artist? ›

    Miniatures were considered most suitable for women painters in the early nineteenth century, as they had been in the eighteenth, when Henrietta Johnston (d. 1728-1729) became the first American professional woman artist.

    How do you call a female artist? ›

    Synonyms for female artist
    1. female artist.
    2. woman-artist.
    3. performer.
    4. artist.

    Who is the famous painter in the world? ›

    Leonardo da Vinci, probably the most important Renaissance artist, is widely recognized as the most famous artist of all time. He's the genius behind the iconic Mona Lisa painting masterpiece, after all.

    Which artist painted the world famous Girl with a Pearl Earring? ›

    Johannes Vermeer is one of the most famous Dutch painters of the 17th century. He is famous for his intimate household scenes with amazing light. In other paintings by Vermeer, such as the famous Girl with a Pearl Earring and View of Delft, he managed to create a calm, almost timeless atmosphere.

    What is Amy Sheralds most famous painting? ›

    Sherald came to prominence in 2016 when her painting, Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance), won the National Portrait Gallery's Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition along with a $25,000 award.

    How much is the Mona Lisa worth 2022? ›

    Marca reports that as per Stéphane Distinguin, the CEO of the technology company Fabernovel, the Mona Lisa would be sold for nothing less than €50,000 million in 2022. In dollars, that's $53,729,008.08. However, another conflicting report claims that back in 1962, the painting's price was assessed at $100 million.

    Can you buy the Mona Lisa? ›

    Truly priceless, the painting cannot be bought or sold according to French heritage law. As part of the Louvre collection, "Mona Lisa" belongs to the public, and by popular agreement, their hearts belong to her.

    How much is Mona Lisa worth? ›

    The Mona Lisa is believed to be worth more than $850 million, taking into account inflation. In 1962, it was insured for $100 million, holding the Guinness World Record for highest ever insurance value in the art market (corresponding to $870 million in 2021).

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