Influential Female Artists Throughout History


Time to celebrate some of the great women artists in history. While things have gotten better over the centuries, it is still much harder for women than men to achieve and sustain success in the art world. Perhaps getting to know a few giants will encourage you to support and invest in the female artists of today.

Mary Cassatt

Impressionism (1844-1926)
View all Mary Cassatt oil paintings

Mary Cassatt was an American painter whose father was a successful stockbroker and land speculator. Although Cassatt's family supported her living expenses, they refused to pay for art supplies, hoping to discourage her from seeking an independent living. Therefore, although born in Pennsylvania, she lived mainly in France, where Edgar Degas befriended her and helped her exhibit among the Impressionists. Cassatt's work portrays social and private moments in the lives of women. She was particularly adept at capturing intimate moments between mothers and children that lived on in her works.

Tamara de Lempicka

Art Deco (1890-1980)

Tamara de Lempicka was born in Poland and was a glamorous and beautiful artist whose boldly sensuous paintings reflect the progressive spirit of the roaring 20s. There is a jazzy, confident element to her portrait 'Four Nudes' which borders on pornographic.

Artemisia Gentileschi

Renaissance, chiaroscuro (1597-1651)
View all Artemisia Gentileschi oil paintings

Artemisia Gentileschi, whose father was a renowned Roman artist, was one of the first women artists to be recognized in the male-dominated Renaissance art world. She was the first woman to paint major historical, mostly religious, themes.

After art academies refused her, she studied under Agostino Tassi, who later raped her. The trauma of the rape took life in graphic depictions in her art. Her heroines, especially Judith, are powerful women who get revenge on male evildoers.

Elisabetta Sirani

Baroque (1638-1665)
View all Elisabetta Sirani oil paintings

Elisabetta Sirani was an Italian Baroque painter who died mysteriously at age 27. Despite her short life she was the most famous woman artist in Bologna, where she established an academy for women artists.

Trained by her father, Giovanni Andrea Sirani, a painter of the School of Bologna, she took over her family's art studio while still a teenager. Under her tenure, the studio was incredibly successful. Bologna was progressive at the time. Women artists were welcome, even celebrated. She trained a number of men and women artists before her early death, likely caused by peptic ulcers.

Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun

Neo-classical (1755-1842)
View all Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun oil paintings

Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun painted in Revolutionary France. Among her patrons was the notorious Marie Antoinette, who Vigee-Lebrun painted several times. These portraits helped mark her as one of the most important women artists of all time. As a self-taught portraitist with exceptional skills, she achieved success during one of the most turbulent eras of European history.

Final Thoughts

It should be apparent from the artists that we surveyed here that the mark of female painters needs to be painted with a wide brush. Making reproductions of art by great women in history is one way to commemorate and popularize their talent.

Another way we are supporting the success of female artists is by offering a 10% discount on their artwork, forever, no coupon code needed. Buy an oil painting from a female artist on our site and instantly save 10%! It is our hope that this will, in some small way, help break down the barriers that the male dominated art world has erected. Thus, with this discount, aims to do their small part to correct this historic evil.