Throughout history, emphasis has been placed on male artists. Textbooks, documentaries, and entire courses cover Van Gogh, Klimt, and Picasso. However, just as many women have created revolutionary art. These four artists are a small taste of the many women whose work you should seek out and enjoy.
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887 – 1986)
Few people have contributed as much to modern art as Georgia O’Keeffe. She studied painting at the Art Students League and at the Art Institute of Chicago. She began experimenting with abstract art soon after, specializing first in paintings of skyscrapers, and then in colorful, abstract depictions of flowers. These paintings, which strongly evoke the beauty of the female body, are what O’Keeffe is most known for today. However, she created a number of other works, many celebrating the beauty and culture of the Southwest.
Betye Saar (1926 – Present)
Betye Saar is a pioneer in assemblage. She grew up in Los Angeles and studied design at UCLA. It wasn’t until her 30s, however, that she began her career as an artist. Her early work was in printmaking, but in 1967, she became fascinated by assemblage. She began creating art that reflected her experience as a black woman in 1960s America. Her seminal work is “Black Girl’s Window.” She continues to make art that reflects on the black experience and racism.
Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)
Frida Kahlo is a feminist icon as well as one of the most famous artists in Mexico’s history. She began painting after a serious accident that left her impaired. The bus she was traveling on crashed into a streetcar. A steel bar went through her hip, fracturing her pelvis and parts of her spine. During her recuperation, she painted her first self-portrait. It is these bold, colorful portraits that created her legacy.
Yayoi Kusama (1929 – Present)
Yayoi Kusama is a prolific contemporary artist who uses multiple mediums for her art. She was born in Nagano, Japan, and attended the Kyoto City University of Arts. In the late 50s, she moved to New York City — right in time for the cultural revolution of the 1960s. She became known for her avant-garde art installations like the famous “Infinity Mirrored Room.”