Top 5 Female Artists You Need to Know

The canon of great male artists includes many familiar names, such as Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso. Still, what about all the well-known female artists who have lived? Female artists are more widely lauded today than ever before.

Women from all over the world have made numerous artistic contributions throughout history. Through the years, women have held positions of power as artists, designers, collectors, and museum curators. First of all, unlike their male peers, female artists have historically been denied equal educational opportunities. Few museums and galleries even considered displaying or selling the work of women artists until the late 19th century. They had to either teach themselves or have their fathers teach them because women were not allowed to attend art school. Painting from life, sometimes with unclothed subjects, has long been considered the cornerstone of art education. In the past, painting the human figure was crucial to reaching the pinnacle of creative excellence. However, women weren’t allowed to perform naked body checks for moral reasons. Thus, aspiring female artists were denied the opportunity to acquire knowledge and practice the creation of significant artworks.

Patriarchal social standards that discouraged women from working outside the home were at the heart of this situation. Since they had fewer opportunities, many female artists have resorted to textiles and crafts, fields that male artists have traditionally disregarded as inferior to painting and sculpture. 

There have been a lot of talented women who have been overlooked simply because they were women, and only a select few of them have succeeded in changing that. It seems that their great artistic achievements were mostly ignored or overlooked. Many previously unrecognized artists are now being recognized for their significant contributions to the art world. Learn some history and study the women who changed the course of art.


Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755–1842)

Completely self-taught and active during some of Europe’s most turbulent periods, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun was a trailblazer despite overcoming adversity (as with any woman in late 18th-century Paris). In particular, portraits of aristocratic women by Vigée Le Brun were praised for their warmth and authenticity in comparison to those of her contemporaries.


Mary Cassatt (1844–1926)

Not only was Mary Cassatt the only American and one of just three women artists formally associated with impressionism, but she was also a crucial counselor who helped introduce European art to collectors in the United States. Cassatt insisted that art should reflect the present moment. The first impressionist picture the artist exhibited in the United States, In the Loge (1878), depicts a contemporary woman with great skills.


Augusta Savage (1892–1962)

Augusta Savage was a renowned educator and campaigner for the rights of African-American artists during the Harlem Renaissance, in addition to her inventive sculpture. After Gamin, her Harlem infant sculpture received excellent feedback in 1929, she was awarded a full scholarship to the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris. She gained considerable appreciation and exhibition possibilities after her awards.


Tamara De Lempicka (1898-1980)

Tamara De Lempicka, a Polish artist, is universally hailed as the unrivaled leader of the Art Deco movement. Her self-portraits and those of her subjects capture a classic beauty that transcends time while still adding a sleek, contemporary tubular style. Tamara’s art is displayed at numerous notable institutions, including New York’s renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Mira Schendel (1919–1988)

Mira Schendel, a Jewish Swiss, was widely regarded as one of Latin America’s most prolific artists of the post-war era, and several people give her credit for reviving the language of European Modernism in Brazil. She is well known for her sculptures, canvases, and rice paper drawings.


Here are five amazing women who shaped western art into what it is today. Female artists challenged norms and pushed back against inequality in the arts and beyond, paving the way for future women to do the same. Thanks to these women’s courage and determination, they now have equal opportunities to study at prestigious institutions and join professional guilds and organizations dedicated to their artistic pursuits. Reading about the accomplishments of these extraordinary people can inspire you to pursue your dreams. It’s true that if you want something bad enough, nothing can stand in your way. 


Photo: Cast Of Thousands/Shutterstock


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