Honoring the ten most studied female painters this Women’s History Month

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (© Lola Alvarez Bravo, Vicente Wolf Photography Collection/AP Photo)

In honor of Women’s History Month, we at  Questia have released a list of our library’s top ten most studied female painters, and made the following reference works on each of them available for free this month! Visit our topic page on women artists for additional research.

  1. Frida KahloBorn in 1907 in Coyoacán, Mexico, Frida Kahlo painted her first self-portrait Self-Portrait Wearing a Velvet Dress one year after sustaining serious injuries in a streetcar accident. Later in life, she was awarded the National Prize of Arts and Sciences by the Education Ministry. [Sánchez, Cynthia A. “2: Latin American Women Artists.” Women Artists of Color: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook to 20th Century Artists in the Americas. Ed. Phoebe Farris. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999. 125-230. Questia. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.]
  1. Mary CassattA 19th century American painter, Mary Cassatt studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts before heading to Europe where she was later invited by Degas to join the Impressionists. Many of her paintings focused on women, particularly mothers and their children. [Sweet, Frederick A. Sargent, Whistler, and Mary Cassatt. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1954. Questia. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.]
  1. Georgia O’KeeffeThough Georgia O’Keeffe received training from notable names in the art community, she developed her skill alone through experimentation and introspection. O’Keeffe is quoted as saying “I found that I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say in any other way—things that I had no words for.” [New Art in America: Fifty Painters of the 20th Century. Ed. John I. H. Baur. Greenwich, CT: New York Graphic Society, 1957. Questia. Web. 21 Mar. 2012.]
  1. Artemisia Gentileschi The only (and oldest) daughter of Orazio di Giovanni and Prudentia Montoni, Artemisia’s father taught her how to paint. She completed her first dated painting in 1610 and continued to have a successful career throughout the 17th century. [Hansard-Weiner, Sonja. “(1563-1639 and 1593-1652/1653).” The Age of Milton: An Encyclopedia of Major 17th-Century British and American Authors. Ed. Alan Hager. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004. 144-145. Questia. Web. 21 Mar. 2012.]
  1. Beatrix Potter Famous for her children’s book The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter is also known for her beautiful illustrations of animals, landscapes and science. [Mackey, Margaret. The Case of Peter Rabbit: Changing Conditions of Literature for Children`. New York: Garland, 1998. Questia. Web. 21 Mar. 2012.]
  1. Rosa Bonheur Bonheur is renowned for her paintings of animals, in addition to receiving a great deal of recognition for her adoption of male work attire. Her transgressive behavior towards life and sexuality brought her both praise and ridicule. [Broude, Norma, and Mary D. Garrard, eds. The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1992. Questia. Web. 21 Mar. 2012.]
  1. Ann Mary Robertson Moses (Grandma Moses) Most commonly referred to as Grandma Moses, Ann Mary Robertson Moses was an American Folk Painter who lived from 1860 to 1961. Moses is said to be the most successful self-taught artist of the 20th century and often focused on painting “rural paradise.” [Kogan, Lee, and Gerard C.Wertkin, eds. Encyclopedia of American Folk Art. New York: Routledge, 2004. Questia. Web. 21 Mar. 2012.]
  1. Berthe MorisotMorisot was a 19th century impressionist with terrific credentials, having received an exceptional art education alongside her sister Edma. It is said that only she and Monet adhered to Impressionism throughout their careers. [Clement, Russell T., Annick Houzé, and Christiane Erbolato-Ramsey. The Women Impressionists: A Sourcebook. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000. Questia. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.]
  1. Sofonisba AnguissolaBorn in 1532, Sofonisba Anguissola was an Italian Renaissance painter who specialized in portraits and achieved great fame during her lifetime. Before the age of 30, she was invited to the court of Philip II to serve as a lady-in-waiting and a portrait painter to Elizabeth of Valois. [Jacobs, Fredrika H. “Woman’s Capacity to Create: The Unusual Case of Sofonisba Anguissola.” Renaissance Quarterly 47.1 (1994): 74+. Questia. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.]
  1. Angelica KauffmanMaria Anna Angelika/Angelica Katharina Kauffman was one of the most well-known female artists of the 18th century and specialized in history painting. Considered the most notable form of the art, history painting required extensive knowledge based on education that was not readily available to women, boosting Kauffman further into the spotlight (credit zacharey at dresshead online). [Roworth, Wendy Wassyng. “21 Biography, Criticism, Art History: Angelica Kauffman in Context.” Eighteenth-Century Women and the Arts. Ed. Frederick M. Keener andSusan E. Lorsch. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988. 209-220. Questia. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.]

Does anyone on this list surprise you that they made the top ten? And, who do you think should’ve made the list—who should students be writing papers on that aren’t the typical picks?

Visit the blog by the National Museum of Women in the Arts for more great information on women artists.

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