10 Women Artists

Can you name five women artists off the top of your head? I have seen this question before, a few years ago. When I came across it, I did come up with the names of five women artists. But it took me awhile to search my brain to find the answers. For most everyone, even those who are not artists or do not have an art degree, I think it is easy to rattle off five male artists in a very short amount of time. Picasso, Andy Warhol, Leonardo da Vinci, Monet and Matisse and others are prevalent in our culture. Women artists, not so much.

Looking at my art reference books on individual artists, it is woefully lacking in women’s names. In the compilations, they also only cover a small portion of the book. Over the years, I have found just a few art books dedicated to just women. (100 Women Artists, Women and Art.)

It’s national women’s month and the #5WomenArtists campaign asks if you can name five female artists. So here I am going to help the cause and name five prominent women artists. Hopefully, you will see some new ones you may not have heard of. Please leave the names of other female artists in the comments and see how many different ones we can come up with. I have lots of female artists friends and I will list five of them, as well, with links to their sites at the end.

Sonia Delauney (1885 -1979)

Born in the Ukraine, she went to Germany for a few years to study and then to Paris. She started out as a painter and eventually married Robert Delauney, who was also a painter. Her abstract paintings explored color and light. During World War I, the couple spent some time in Spain.

When asked to create costumes for a production and to create fifty designs for a silk manufacturer, she ventured into textiles and fashion design. In the early 1930’s she returned to painting. You can read more about her here.

Sonia Delauney artwork


Sonia Delauney artwork.

Lee Krasner (1908 – 1984)

Years ago, I was not familiar with Lee Krasner or her work. When I saw the name I thought it was a guy. Lee is  short for Lenore (or Lena within the family). Krasner was born in Brooklyn to Russia immigrants. She attended the Woman’s Art School of Cooper Union and then the National Academy of Design.

Later, she married Jackson Pollock and, although they both worked abstractly, his work and eventual fame overshadowed her own art. After his death, she got caught up in the complexities of being his “art widow.” Eventually, she returned to painting and over the years began receiving recognition for her own work. She is considered one of the pioneers of Abstract Expressionism and is one of the few female artists to have had a retrospective show at the Museum of Modern Art.

Lee Krasner artwork.


Lee Krasner artwork.

Maria Helena Vieira da Silva (1908 – 1992)

Vieira da Silva was born in Lisbon to affluent parents. Her father died when she was three years old and this had a profound affect on her. As an only child, she did not go to school and was taught at home. Because of her isolation, she became interested in reading, music, drawing and painting at an early age.

At 19, Vieira da Silva went to Paris to study art. She continued to paint and married a Hungarian artist. In 1940, they moved to Brazil. After the war, she returned to Paris in 1947. They continued to live there and work. Da Silva gained recognition with solo, and other, exhibitions around Europe.

Maria Helena Vieira da Silva artwork.


Maria Helena Vieira da Silva artwork.


Anni Albers (1899 – 1944)

Anni Albers was born in Germany. She was trained in painting in art schools before she joined the Bauhaus School. The school assigned her to the weaving workshop, where all women were placed. She did not mind and is known for her textile designs.

She stayed at the Bauhaus school for seven years and married another artist, Josef Albers. When the Bauhaus school was closed in 1933, the couple were invited to the Black Mountain College in North Carolina. They both taught there for years.

Anni Albers artwork.


Anni Albers artwork.

Barbara Hepworth (1903 – 1975)

Hepworth was an English artist and sculptor. She attended Leeds School of Art where she first met sculptor, Henry Moore. Then she studied for three years at London’s Royal College of Art, where Moore also joined her. After that, she wondered Italy, learned carving from an Italian master and married sculptor John Skeaping. The couple returned to England and they had a son. That marriage deteriorated and later she married the painter, Ben Nicholson, who introduced her to color. In 1934, she had triplets. Although the family stuggled, she continued with her work.

In 1959, she won the first prize at the Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil, where she showed a retrospective of twenty years of her abstract, organic sculptures.

Barbara Hepworth sculpture.


Barbara Hepworth sculpture.


There you have five historical women artists. How many more can you name?

Below is a list of five female artists friends I know, working in different media, along with links to their websites.

Rachel Teannalach – landscape painter

Kathleen Probst – fiber artist

Karen Klinefelter – jewelry

Cassandra Schiffler – printmaking, sculpture, painter

Reham Aarti – mosaics


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