The world of art history is full of great men, including Pablo Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, and more. Rarely do we hear about the innumerable women who have contributed to the world's art.
This has happened because women were historically prevented from participating in the arts. Fortunately, many great famous female artist painters of the 20th century fought this ideal and have broken barriers for the coming generations.
With Women's History Month nearly over, there's no better time than now to discuss some of the world's leading female painters.
Georgia O'Keeffe (1887–1986)
Georgia O'Keeffe led the American Modernism movement and is one of the most celebrated female artists globally.
Her early work showed bold experiments with abstract, and she used her paintings to express her sentiments towards different ideas. This led to the concept of "Art for Art's Sake" becoming popularized.
Her husband Alfred Stieglitz supported her work stating that American art should be given equal importance to European art, and the works of female artists could equal that of men.
However, because of her husband's ideas about art as an expression of sexuality, O'Keeffe spent most of her career battling her work's interpretation as only a reflection of her as a woman.
She refused to participate in female-only art exhibitions, claiming that she wanted to be defined by her work, not her gender.
Frida Kahlo (1907–1954)
There's no other female artist in the 20th century who is as recognizable as Frida Kahlo. She was well-known for her self-portraits, which depicted themes of suffering, identity, and the human body.
She experienced a tragic accident while young and a problematic relationship with her husband Diego Rivera, but her art has persevered overall.
Kahlo was known only as "Diego Rivera's wife throughout her life," but she received great fame posthumously.
Today, her paintings are displayed in museums worldwide, and her work is a symbol for the feminist, LGBT, and Chicano communities.
Sofonisba Anguissola (1532–1625)
Sofonisba Anguissola was a leading painter during the Italian Renaissance. She was born into a poor noble family but received a complete education that included learning fine arts.
She worked as an apprentice with many local painters and set the standard for future female artists to do so as well.
Anguissola received the attention of Michelangelo, who went on to mentor her work as well. As a female artist, Anguissola wasn't allowed to draw models or study anatomy, but she still had a successful career.
She even served as a painter in the court of King Philip II of Spain for 14 years, during which she mastered official court portraiture and intimate portraits for noble people.
Today, we remember the vibrancy of her work and its spirit around the world in different museums.
These are just three names from an extensive list of female artists who participated in every artistic movement in history. As a woman, it's necessary to remember their talents and carry them forward.
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