21 April, 2023

Female artists who have changed the art history

Throughout the history of art evolution, the imprints left by female artists occupy significant positions. They had used brush strokes, dotted on the world map and made a name for themselves because of their contributions, unique thinking, and breaking social prejudices about art.


Rosa Bonheur

During her lifetime, Rosa Bonheur (March 16, 1822 – May 25, 1899) was famous for her animal paintings. This success is the fruit that Bonheur reaped from her devotion to art. Bonheur personally went to slaughterhouses and cattle markets to learn and observe the bodies of animals that she painted on canvas. In that era, the study of anatomy and nudity, which is basic lesson in painting, was forbidden to women. Bonheur even had to ask the police for permission to wear long pants for more convenience. To complete The Horse Fair, Bonheur spent more than a year and a half going to the horse fair and sketching in person, and this became one of Bonheur’s most famous paintings.

The Horse Fair, painted and completed from 1822-1855


Marianne North

Marianne North (October 24, 1830 – August 30, 1890) painted exotic flowers around the world. Marianne traveled far and wide, going as far away from home as possible with the desire to paint a variety of plants. At the age of 26, she and her father went to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and it opened a new page in Marianne’s life. Despite social prejudices at that time forcing women not to travel alone, but only to revolve around the family, take care of husband and raise children, Marianne walked on a lonely journey for a long time, setting foot in the strangest, wildest regions on Earth. Her drawing style also did not follow the usual rules of botanical drawing. Marianne chose oil painting style, bold brush strokes and bold, clear colors, showing the growing space of plants.

Old Banyan Trees at Buitenzorg, Java


Hilma af Klint

Hilma af Klint (October 26, 1862 – October 21, 1944) was one of Switzerland’s most respected artists and one of the pioneers of abstract art. The main subjects in her paintings are lines, patches of color and geometric shapes. However, it was not until 1986 that Klint’s works were officially released to the public through an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The main reason was because Klint was afraid that society at that time would not accept and understand her abstract paintings. She wanted to make the invisible visible, and portray all that is beyond the physical world as we know it.

Evolution Nº 13, Group VI


Florine Stettheimer

Florine Stettheimer (August 19, 1871 – May 11, 1944) possessed the first nude self-portrait, despite taboo standards of gender and race. The American artist’s painting style is imbued with femininity. Stettheimer’s most famous work is a set of four paintings depicting places she considers New York’s “sanctuary”: Broadway, Wall Street, Fifth Avenue, and three key New York art museums. Not only that, but Stettheimer was also an elite poet, stage designer, and she was also the host of the most extravagant parties in New York at that time. Stettheimer’s paintings depicting the high life of New York are often colorful and impressively detailed.

Stettheimer’s painting of New York’s elite


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