20 Artists You Should Know (2023)

With the help of Kat Widing, a Christie Contemporary and Postwar Junior Scholar,BAZAR.comJourney through history to select 20 female artists who changed the art world forever.


Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (French, 1755–1842)

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Entirely self-taught, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun became an artist through thick and thin (like all women in late 18th-century Paris) and was active in some of the most turbulent times in European history. Through Marie Antoinette, she was admitted to the French Academy at the tender age of 28 as one of only four female members. Vigée Le Brun was particularly praised for her sympathetic portraits of aristocratic women, which were considered more natural than the works of her contemporaries. Forced to flee Paris during the Revolution, the artist traveled across Europe, receiving impressive commissions in Florence, Naples, Vienna, Saint Petersburg and Berlin before returning to France when the conflict ended.

Im Foto: Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun,Self portrait with straw hat(1782).


Mary Cassatt (americana, 1844-1926)

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One of three women artists and the only American officially associated with Impressionism, Mary Cassatt was also an invaluable advisor in helping to introduce European art to major collectors in the United States. Cassatt strongly believed that painting should reflect modern life. Her modern woman is cleverly represented in the 1878 painting.In the box, the first impressionist work that the artist exhibited in the United States. Many male artists have portrayed women as exhibits in theater boxes, but Cassatt's female lead plays a dynamic role in the act of looking. However, the male gaze prevails, as in the distance a grizzled onlooker looks directly at her through her own binoculars. As observers and spectators, we have come full circle.

Foto posterior: Mary Cassatt,In the box(1878), MFA Boston.


Hilma von Klint (Swedish, 1862-1944)

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It was not until the Guggenheim Museum organized a major survey of her work that Hilma af Klint finally became widely recognized as a leading pioneer of abstract art; Her first abstract compositions were completed years before those of Wassily Kandinsky, Kasimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian. To be viewed from October 2018 to April 2019,"Hilma af Klint: photos for the future' featured a number of large, brilliant and magical-looking abstract works and remains the most visited Guggenheim exhibition of all time.

Born in Stockholm, af Klint attended the city's Royal Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 1887, and later became known for her figurative work, serving as secretary of the Union of Swedish Female Artists. During this period, spiritualism and theosophy gained traction as people, including Af Klint, searched for a way to reconcile religion with the many recent scientific advances. These belief systems inspired the first large group of non-representational and non-objective works of hers. She calledThe paintings for the temple.The 193 paintings were created between 1906 and 1915 and explored a dualistic perception of creation, evolution, and the universe. af Klint was to be installed in a spiral temple and ordered that the works not be exhibited until 20 years after his death. These paintings, along with some of his earlier works, made up the bulk of the exhibition at the Guggenheim, a spiraling shrine unto itself.

Im Bild: Hilma af Klint,Top Ten, #7, Adultez(1907).


Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887-1986)

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A seminal figure in American modernism, Georgia O'Keeffe, in 1915, was one of the first American artists to create a purely abstract work of art, in contrast to the mainstream movement of American Realism. In itMusic, pink and blue. From 1918, O'Keefe abstracts a floral theme through extreme cuts, creating an arch of vibrantly colored petals with a musical energy suggested by the title. The theories of the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky partly inspired O'Keeffe to "explore the idea that music can be translated into something for the eyes" in order to achieve pure expression free from other outside references.

Pictured: O'Keeffe poses withSeries of red and yellow plates(1945) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1960.


Augusta Savage (American, 1892-1962)

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Augusta Savage, a pioneering sculptor associated with the Harlem Renaissance, was also an influential teacher and activist who promoted equal rights for African-Americans in the arts. Born near Jacksonville, Florida, Savage moved to New York City in 1921 to study art at Cooper Union, beating out 142 men on the waiting list for her place at the university. In 1923, Savage applied to a French government-sponsored summer art program, but was ultimately turned down because of her race. She thus began her lifelong fight for the democratization and equality of the arts. One of her first commissions, a bust of W.E.B. DuBois for the Harlem Library, was well received, and Savage shaped other African-American leaders, including Marcus Garvey and William Pickens Sr.

his 1929 sculpture of a Harlem boy, gentle,It brought her wide recognition and helped her obtain a scholarship to study at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris, where she exhibited her work and won numerous awards. Savage returned to the United States in 1931 and founded the Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts in 1932, which became the Harlem Community Art Center. Two years later, she became the first African-American artist to be elected to the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors. For the rest of her life, the artist continued to create innovative works (she was one of four women commissioned for the 1939 World's Fair) and she dedicated her time to communicating art to the people around her.

Pictured: Augusta Savage working on a play, New York, NY, 1938.


Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907-1954)

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André Breton, the founder of surrealism, once described Frida Kahlo's wild self-portraits, with her iconic eyebrow and mustache, as "nooses around a bomb." Indeed, Kahlo's paintings are both seductive and conflicting. In "The Two Fridas (Las dos Fridas)" from 1939, completed shortly after Kahlo's divorce from Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, Kahlo portrays her two personalities: one in traditional Tehuana garb, heartbroken, and the other with a modern, independent and sincere style. Kahlo's constant reshaping and layering of her own identity was an important precursor to identity politics and continues to inspire artists today.

In the photo: Frida Kahlo,the two fridas(1939),see in 2007.


Louise Bourgeois (Francesa, 1911-2010)

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Born in Paris to parents who ran a tapestry restoration business, Louise Bourgeois grew up helping them in the workshop and filling in the missing parts of the designs depicted on the tapestries. Although she studied mathematics and geometry at the Sorbonne, she eventually returned to art, practicing large-scale engraving, painting, and sculpture throughout her long and varied career. While she is not officially affiliated with any particular art movement, she has exhibited with the Abstract Expressionists and her work has explored themes of loneliness, jealousy, anger, sexuality, and the unconscious.

In 1982, at age 70, Bourgeois finally had his moment of glory when the Museum of Modern Art showed a retrospective of his work, which featured distorted humanoid figures suspended by cables; fabric creations from your old clothes; it's hugethe spider sculpture, which she remembers best today.

Im Foto: Louise Bourgeois,murmur(1999), photographed in 2012 in Hamburg, Germany.


Agnes Martin (Canada, 1912-2004)

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Often associated with the minimalist movement, Agnes Martin existed in a league of her own and defies easy categorization. Deeply private and spiritual, Martin explained that her paintings came fully formed, postage stamp-sized, which she transferred to large-format canvases. A shiny golden icon,Amistad from 1963 is a fabulous example of one of the artist's seminal paintings. Martin's delicately incised lines, seemingly perfect but on closer inspection imbued with the feel of the human hand, create an endless field with a haunting quality: the embodiment of a transcendent calm. ARetrospective of Martin's workIt will open in October 2016 at the Guggenheim in New York.

in the photo: Ines Martin,Amistad(1963), exhibited at the Tate Modern in London in 2015.


Leonora Carrington (British-Mexican, 1917-2011)

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Leonora Carrington, an artist and novelist known for her surrealist work, was born in Britain and studied painting at the Chelsea School of Art before transferring to the Ozenfant Academy of Fine Arts in London in 1936. That same year she participated in the International Surrealist exhibition and he was drawn to the work of the German painter Max Ernst. The following year, the two met at a party and began a brief romance, living together in Paris until the outbreak of World War II. At that point, Ernst was arrested by the local authorities and forced to flee the pursuit. He fled to the United States with the help of Peggy Guggenheim, whom he later married.

Shortly after their separation, Carrington was hospitalized with a nervous breakdown and treated with strong medications. After his release, he fled to Mexico, where he was greatly inspired by local folklore, which greatly influenced his work. His highly autobiographical paintings reference sorcery, shapeshifting, and the occult, depicting fantastical creatures and terrifying scenes. In the 1970s, he became involved in the women's liberation movement and designed a poster titledfemale consciousness,for the cause in 1973. In 1986, she won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Women's Caucus for Art Convention in New York for her dedication to her political work.

Im Photo: Leonora Carrington,Owain's test(1959).


Elaine Sturtevant (americana, 1924-2014)

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The works of Elaine Sturtevant (known by her last name) attract doubly attention; What at first glance appears to be an Andy Warhol or Jasper Johns painting is actually her work, adapted to the forms and techniques of the original with astonishing precision. Since 1964, Sturtevant has appropriated the work of her male contemporaries to question gender hierarchy, originality and authorship, as well as the structures of art and culture. In fact, Warhol even agreed to let Sturtevant use her canvas maker to make the very canvas of Marilyn that he used in her own work. Sturtevant recalls that when Warhol was asked about the details of her trial, she told people to "ask Elaine."

In the photo: Elaine Sturtevant,Warhol Diptych(1973), sold by Christie's in 2015.


Betye Saar (American, born 1926)

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One of the most celebrated artists in the medium of assemblage, Betye Saar is a true icon in the field of contemporary art. Born in Los Angeles, she attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where she graduated in 1947 with a degree in design, but with a passion for printmaking. In 1967 she attended an exhibition by the found object sculptor Joseph Cornell, which radically marked her artistic career. She began lining accessory boxes with her own prints and designs and filling them with found objects to create race and topical related pieces.

After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 his work became more overtly political and extreme. In the 1970s, Saar was a member of the Black Arts Movement, made up of poets, writers, artists, and performers who combined activism and art to confront white power structures and give voice to the black experience. his most famous workFreeing Aunt Jemima(1972), features a Mammy doll armed with a gun and a grenade ready to fight prejudice, physical violence, and derogatory stereotypes imposed on black Americans. like the Saarlandexplained, “My goal as an artist is to create works that expose injustice and reveal beauty. The rainbow is literally a spectrum of colors, while spiritually it is a symbol of hope and promise."

Na photo: Betye Saar,bondage girlfriends, published at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California, in 1998.


Helen Frankenthaler (americana, 1928-2011)

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The innovative painting "Stains" by Helen Frankenthaler,mountains and sea,of 1952 played a crucial role in the transition from the grand gesture of Abstract Expressionism to the meditative two-dimensional forms of Color Field painting. Primarily a colourist, Frankenthaler poured paint cans onto raw canvas, allowing the material to seep into the support and sculpt amorphous forms. As a woman of Abstract Expressionism, Frankenthaler broke away from the male-dominated movement and let her own unique artistic voice be heard. Currently, her work is part of a long-awaited exhibition titled Women of Abstract Expressionism, which will open inDenver Art Museumin June 2016 and will travel toThe Coin Museum in CharlotteIt's inPalm Springs Museum of Art.

Na photo: Helen FrankenthalerC. 1956.


Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, born 1929)

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Yayoi Kusama, the queen of polka dots, was a major force in the avant-garde art scene in the 1960s and continues to push the boundaries of artistic creation, including in fashion through her recent collaboration with Louis Vuitton. Her “happenings” in the 1960s were particularly groundbreaking.daffodil gardenof 1966, which the artist presented on the world stage of the Venice Biennale. Funded by fellow artist Lucio Fontana, Kusama collected 1,500 silver spheres - three-dimensional balls - from a lawn and offered them for sale to visitors for 1,200 lira ($2) each, in a critique of the commercialism of the art world.

Na foto: Yayoi Kusama,daffodil garden(1966) on display at Chatsworth House, Chatsworth, England in 2009.


Judy Chicago (American, born 1939)

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Feminist artist, writer, and educator Judy Chicago has gone much further back in time than late-18th-century Paris in her own tribute to notable women in history. In itdie dinner-partyFrom 1974 to 1979, Chicago produced an iconic installation commemorating 1,038 women in history, complete with embroidered entrance banners, a carved floor, and a massive triangular banquet table with place settings for 39 women, with guests ranging from the primordial goddess to Georgia O'Keeffe. . The installation, currently in the Brooklyn Museum's Sackler Center, is a centerpiece of feminist art that emerged during a pivotal period in the 1970s, when female artists grappled head-on with issues of gender.

In the photo: Judy Chicago,die dinner-party(1974-1979), Museo de Brooklyn.


Marina Abramović (Serbia, born in 1946)

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The self-proclaimed grandmother of the performing arts, Marina Abramović, has continued to develop her practice for more than five decades. Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia), to strict parents with close ties to the country's communist regime, she studied painting at the Belgrade Academy of Fine Arts before completing her master's degree at the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts.

She began exploring performance art in the 1970s, eschewing a canvas and transforming herself through the medium to connect more closely with her audience. Consisting of lengthy routines that often expose them to physical danger or pain, their work spans performance, sound, video, photography, and sculpture, and explores themes of trust, resistance, purification, exhaustion, and departure, compelling the viewer to watch as you explore the test. . the limits of your body.

In 1976, Abramović began collaborating with the German artist Ulay, and the two remained artistic and romantic partners until she discovered in 1988 that he had been unfaithful. In 2010, Abramović put on a resistance-based performance at the Museum of Modern Art calledthe artist is present. For two and a half months, she sat at the end of a table, inviting viewers to sit across from her for brief, silent encounters. Ulay surprised Abramović and made her cry and sat down with the two on the other side of the table.shared an emotional momentafter more than 20 years without speaking.

In the photo: Marina Abramovic drivesMarina Abramovic: The artist is presentat the Museum of Modern Art on March 9, 2010 in New York City.


Adrian Piper (American, born 1948)

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“Dear friend, I am black. I'm sure you didn't realize when you made/laughed/agreeed with that racist comment," says Adrian Piper.My vocation (card) #1 from 1986 to 1990. As a conceptual and performance artist, Piper is a trailblazer when it comes to tackling sensitive issues related to gender and race. in thatbe mythicalIn the series, Piper transformed into a lower-class black man and walked the streets of Cambridge to expose the absurdity of society's stereotypes.

As a black Caucasian artist, her confrontational work remains extremely innovative and significant to this day, urging us to question social hierarchy and perceptions of identity. Piper was recently awarded the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 56. Venice Biennale 2015 for his workThe probable trust history, consisting of corporate-style kiosks where visitors can sign contracts agreeing to live by a set of rules that encourage personal responsibility.

In the photo: Adrian Piper receiving his Golden Lion at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015.


Marilyn Minter (American, born 1948)

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Blurring the lines between sensuality and grotesque, Marilyn Minter's photorealistic works address contemporary ideals of beauty, sexuality and the human body in the style of brilliant fashion imagery. Known for her enamel and metal paintings, she has a process of taking photographs on film, processing them in a darkroom, and overlaying some to create a completely new composition on which to base her final painting.

After receiving her BA from the University of Florida in 1970 and her MFA from Syracuse in 1972, Minter moved to New York City and began capturing boring scenes associated with female domestic life, such as the bedroom floor. kitchen and various foods. In the 1980s, she focused her lens on more sensual subjects, such as the female body and pornography. Her sexually explicit work was met with widespread backlash, forcing Minter to investigate why passion, desire, and intimacy were, and are, embroiled in public discomfort. Incorporating sophisticated elements of fashion and beauty photography and vibrant promotional imagery,coinage workjuxtaposes notions of glamor and flawlessness (lipsticks, iridescent stilettos, and glittering eyelids) with less-than-desirable realities (sweat, spit, hair, and dirt).

Photo: Marilyn Minter,crushed orange(2009), screened in his New York studio in 2009.


Cindy Sherman (American, born 1954)

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Cindy Sherman, a key artist for Generation Pictures, a group of early 1970s American artists known for their analysis of media culture, creates photographic self-portraits that critique gender and identity. As a director, makeup artist, hairdresser, stylist, model, set designer, and photographer, the artist transforms into complex characters and photographs herself in equally captivating scenes.

After attending the State University of New York at Buffalo, Sherman moved to New York in 1976 to pursue a career in photography. Shortly after her arrival, she began workingStills from the untitled film(1977-80), her now iconic series, in which she appears in a variety of guises and settings, portraying female stereotypes found in film and media, includingunhappy housewife, aabandoned lover, It is likeFrankly vulnerable. Since then, he has continued to morph into a variety of characters, forcing his audience to confront other common stereotypes and their artificiality.

Throughout his career, Sherman has collaborated with numerous fashion brands such as Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Balenciaga and Marc Jacobs, as well as fashion magazines such asInterviewmiharpists BASE. In 2016 she was the street style star in a moonlight show.satirical functionnobazaarsMarch issue.

Photo na: Cindy Sherman,Untitled #414, (2003), exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in central London in 2016.


Shirin Neshat (Iranian, born 1957)

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Born in Qazvin, Iran, Shirin Neshat moved to the United States in 1974 to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned her BA and MFA in 1983. Shortly after graduation, she moved to New York, where job. her for 10 years in the showcase of art and architecture. Only after her return to Iran in 1993, 14 years after the Islamic Revolution, did she return to creating art.

Known for her work in photography, video, and film, Neshat often explores different opposites in her projects, from Islam and the West to men and women. While theyexplainedin an exhibition ofArt. 19 Fundraising initiative, “I have always believed that artists should be politically conscious and, in my personal case, being born in Iran, a country that has eroded basic human rights, particularly since the Islamic Revolution, I was uncontrollably drawn to making art, which is about with the theme of tyranny, dictatorship, oppression and political injustice. Although I do not consider myself an activist, I believe that my art, whatever its nature, is an expression of protest and a cry for humanity."

His first video installations—Turbulent(1998),ecstasy(1999), mifervor(2000)— examined gender and society, in particular the restrictions of Islamic laws towards women; his first feature filmMahdokht(2004), based on Shahrnush's novel Parsipurwomen without men,similar to theme. Neshat has received an impressive number of awards for his work, including the International Prize at the 1999 Venice Biennale and the Silver Lion for Best Director at the 2009 Venice Film Festival.

Pictured: Shirin Neshat poses in her studio in SoHo, New York, in 2011.


Mickalene Thomas (American, born 1971)

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Best known for her collage paintings, Mickalene Thomas creates vibrant portraits and detailed interiors that address themes of sexuality, race, beauty, and gender, and examine how the representation of women in popular culture influences our definition of femininity. Using rhinestones as an analogy for femininity, Ella Thomas draws attention to specific components of her pieces (hair, shoes, etc.) and invites the viewer to think about what typifies femininity.

Inspired by a variety of movements, including Impressionism, Cubism, and Dadaism, the artist frequently references the figurative work of early modernists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Edouard Manet in her portraits, which depict their women in poses. inspired by those of their male predecessors. . popularized in an effort to undermine her portrayal of women as objects.

A member of the Post-Black Art Movement, a category of contemporary African-American art, Thomas has a BA from the Pratt Institute and an MA from the Yale School of Art, as well as working with photography, video, sculpture, and installation.

Pictured: Mickalene Thomas poses at Artists' Studios in New York in 2008.

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