Top 5 – female artists

Here is the follow up to my Top 5 male artists – the female version. Again, they are not in order.

  • Frida Kahlo – perhaps the most famous Mexican artist, next to her mural painting husband Diego Rivera. She was involved in a car accident as a teenager and drawing and painting formed the majority of her therapy – it was then that she discovered her talent for art. The majority of her work deals with her physical condition ( she had permanent spine damage for the rest of her life) and her tumultuous marriage and the affair she had with Leon Trotsky – all of these inspired her wide breadth of works.


  • Marina Abramovic – A Yugoslavian performance artist who is best known for her silent performance where audience members were invited to sit opposite her and make eye contact without saying anything. The most emotional part of this work was when her ex-lover sat opposite her – she broke her expressionlessness and began to cry – this was the trigger for them getting back together. She is considered the ‘grandmother of performance art’.


  • Hannah Hochone of the pioneering Dada artists during the Weimar period – she expounded the use of photomontage, using pictures from contemporary newspapers and photo journals – she often, inside of signing her works, put a picture of her face somewhere in her work. Her work criticised the upper classes and the state of hyperinflation in Germany at this time. Her most famous work is probably Cut with the Kitchen knife.


  • Vanessa Bell – a member of the bohemian Bloomsbury group in 1910’s  England. She was sister to Virginia Woolf. She was inspired by Post-Impressionism but later turned to Abstractionism. She married Clive Bell and and formed a professional relationship with Duncan Grant with whom she ran the Omega Workshop between 1913 and 1919.


  • Berthe Morisot – one of the three major female forces in the Impressionist group of the late 1800’s and was considered one of the ‘trois grandes dammes’ of the movement alongside Mary Cassat and Marie Bracquemond . She married Edouard Manet’s brother Eugene. Her paintings depict domestic scenes – with an importance on the use of light in her works. She had a daughter who often a subject in the paintings of Renoir and Edouard.

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