Women in the arts is not a modern concept. Women have always been involved in some way, shape, or form in the making of art and the shaping of the art community. Throughout history, their work has been historically overlooked and undervalued, and even in some cases, their work has been stolen and wrongfully attributed to male artists because “a woman couldn’t possibly” create something as good as a man could produce.
Women faced many challenges and difficulties obtaining basic education, advanced art training, the financial ability for an art hobby, and the market in which to sell and promote their work. Even with the odds stacked against them, female artists found a way to persevere and leave their mark on history. Here are just a few.
Emily Kame Kngwarreye
Emily Kame Kngwarreye is considered one of the most successful aboriginal Australian artists. She is known for her contemporary Indigenous Australian art that features dots, lines, and bright colors. Not only were her paintings bright with color, but many were oversized and took up whole walls.
Emily Kame Kngwarreye artwork featuring bright coloring on a dark background.
Caterina Van Hemessen
Caterina Van Hemessen is known as the earliest recorded female Flemish Painter. There are a few small scale portraits that have been attributed to her that date to the 1540’s. Obtaining artists training for women during this time in history was extremely difficult due to the role women were expected to play in the household.
Young woman playing a virginal, 1548
Margaret Keane is an American artist known for her paintings featuring subjects with big eyes. Keane’s artwork’s initial success was received under her husband’s name when he tried to pass the artwork off as his own. After a legal battle, she proved her artwork was her own and was able to launch a successful career.
The Garden, 1963
If you enjoyed this glimpse into female artists and their art, and would like to learn more, join us for Art Exploration on March 10th at 2pm and get to follow along with a fun art project inspired by their work.
If you want to know more about Female Artists, explore these fun titles.