FEMALE PAINTERS YOU SHOULD KNOW

In honor of International Women's Day, we've collected some of the most influential American female painters we think deserve your attention. At LES Collection, a female-founded and run company, we are especially proud of our roster of female artists that we are privileged to get to work with every day. Today we celebrate and thank the women who came before us - the women who were bold enough to stand up alongside the men, and the ones who carved out a distinct place of their own within art history. As always, please let us know who we should add to our list!

Mary Cassatt, 1844-1926

Mary Cassatt began her arts education at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, at the early age of fifteen. Cassatt soon moved to Paris, where she studied privately under Jean-Leon Gerome since women could not yet attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. She would stay in France for much of her life, where she was one of the few females, and only Americans, to exhibit alongside the Impressionists. Her work focused on the social and private lives of women, and in particular the relationship between mother and child.

 

Mary Cassatt, Portrait of the Artist, 1878

 

Spanish Dancer Wearing a Lace Mantilla, 1873

 

Lydia Crocheting in the Garden at Marly, 1880

 

 

Lilacs in a Window (Vase de Lilas a la Fenetre), 1880-83

 

 

 

Children Playing on the Beach, 1884

 

Woman Bathing (La Toilette), 1890-91

 

Young Mother Sewing, 1890

 

Mother and Child (The Oval Mirror), 1899

 

 

 

Georgia O'Keeffe, 1887-1986

Born in 1887, Georgia O'Keeffe was an American artist and considered to be the "Mother of American Modernism". She played an important part in the development of modern art in America, becoming the first female painter to gain respect in New York's art world in the 1920s. She pioneered the new Modernist style with her large-format watercolor paintings of natural objects like flowers, animal skulls, and, later in her life, the landscapes near her Santa Fe, New Mexico home. 

Photograph by Philippe Halsman

 

 

 

 

Grey Line With Black, Blue And Yellow, 1923

 

 

Pink Tulip, 1926

 

 

 

Red Poppy, 1927

 

Jack-in-Pulpit Abstraction - No. 5, 1930

 

Cow's Skull: Red, White, and Blue, 1931

 

From the Faraway, Nearby, 1938

 

My Front Yard, Summer, 1941

 

 

Elaine de Kooning, 1918-1989

Elaine de Kooning was an American painter, writer, and teacher. Although she was a major figure in both the Abstract Expressionist and American Figurative Expressionist movements of the 1940s and 1950s, de Kooning eschewed developing a singular style and instead painted in a range of modes from realism to abstraction. A skilled portraitist,  de Kooning was commissioned to paint then. President John F. Kennedy in 1963. 

Photograph by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

 

Joop Pink, 1946

 

 

Self Portrait, 1946

 

Abstract Composition, 1956

 

 

Charging Bull, 1959

 

 

John F. Kennedy, 1963

 

 

The Burghers of Amsterdam Avenue, 1963

 

 

Bacchus #3, 1978

 

 

Cave #54, Sand Wall, 1985

 

 

Helen Frankenthaler, 1928-2011

Helen Frankenthaler, an American and New Yorker, pioneered a new style of abstract expressionist painting in the 1950s. Her signature "soak stain" method, where she combined drip techniques with her own innovation of thinning oil paints to liquid consistency and soaking her canvasses  as in watercolor painting, created penetrating, saturated color. She found success at a young age and within a crowded New York field of talent, including Elaine de Kooning, and Lee Krasner - her seminal work, Mountains and Sea, 1956-59, was finished before her twenty-fourth birthday. 

Photograph by Alexander Liberman

 

 

Painted on 21st Street, 1950

 

 

Jacob's Ladder, 1957

 

 

Mountains and Sea, 1956-59

 

 

Cool Summer, 1962

 

 

Small's Paradise, 1964

 

 

Sea Level, 1976

 

 

Sphinx, 1976

 

 

Grey Fireworks, 1982

 

 

Kara Walker, b. 1969

Kara Walker, born in Stockton, California, is a leading artist in her generation. She works in a variety range of mediums, including prints, drawings, paintings, sculpture, film, and the large-scale silhouette cutouts she is most known for. Her dynamic and provocative work uses contradiction to comment upon the ongoing themes of slavery, sexism, violence, and identity. Walker first gained attention in the 90s, and continues to create and exhibit work today. 

Photograph by Ari Marcopoulos

 

 

Untitled, 1997

 

 

 

Untitled, 2001

 

 

Detail of¬†ÔĽŅThe Ecstasy of St. Kara: Kara Walker, New Work (exhibition), 2016

 

 

Brand X (Slave Market Painting), 2017

 

 

Detail of The Gross Clinician Presents: Pater Gravidam, 2018

 

 

Barack Obama as Othello "The Moor" With the Severed Head of Iago in a New and Revised Ending by Kara E. Walker,¬†ÔĽŅ2019

 

 

Mother and Daughter, 2020

 

 

Book of Hours (Self and other), 2021