national women history museum


It’s Women’s History Month!

Can you name 5 women artists? The National Museum of Women in the Arts is leading a campaign to call attention to the inequity women artists face today, as well as in the past.

Here are some our favorite women artists from the Getty Museum and Getty Research Institute special collections.

  1. Luisa Roldán (called “La Roldana”) - She was a court sculptor and the first woman sculptor recorded in Spain! She married another sculptor, and they worked together to become Luisa’s father’s primary source of income. 
  2. Julia Margaret Cameron - She started her career in photography at age 48 and went on to photograph intellectuals and leaders in Victorian England. She’s well known for her dreamlike photographs of her family, and was drawn to inspiration from literature. 
  3. Giovanna Garzoni - She was one of the first women still life painters. Her work was so well loved that, according to one writer, she could sell her work “for whatever price she wished.” Among her many patrons was the famous Medici family.
  4. Rosa Bonheur - She was a realist painter and sculptor most known for her beautiful and lifelike paintings of animals. Her work was exhibited in the 1848 Paris salon, and today she is considered to have been the most famous female painter of the 19th century. Page through one of her sketchbooks here.
  5. Maria Sybilla Meriaen - She was both a naturalist and scientific illustrator. She published her first book at age 28! Her compositions are dynamic and full of life, not surprising as she was one of the first naturalists to observe insects directly. 

Who is your favorite woman artist? #5WomenArtists


For Women’s History Month, we’re joining our @nmaahc in sharing #HiddenHerstory, stories of women who have often been overlooked throughout history.

In this photo from the museum collection, Daisy Bates meets with seven members of the Little Rock Nine in her home. Bates played a significant role in the integration of the Little Rock Central High School in 1957, despite the death threats she received—one through the window of her home.

Bates, who was elected president of the Arkansas NAACP in 1952, was inspired by the Brown v. Board case to focus on education.

This Women’s History Month, the National Museum of Women in the Arts wants to know: Can you name five women artists? Learn more about their #5WomenArtists campaign, and follow the hashtag all month long. 

This image is part of Martha Rosler’s House Beautiful series, which combines clippings from the home decor magazine with images of the Vietnam War. 

[Martha Rosler. Tract House Soldier from the series House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home. c. 1967-72. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © c. 1967-72 Martha Rosler]

Honoree Tracee Ellis Ross speaks onstage at the National Women’s History Museum 5th Annual Women Making History Brunch presented by Glamour and Lifeway Foods at Montage Beverly Hills on September 17, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.

thoughtsofanantiquechinadoll  asked:

Hi Amy! I was talking to my mom last week about the artists that I study for my art history classes, and it reminded me that outside of specialized classes there are not a lot of women artists studied. I was wondering if perhaps you have a famous woman artist that you could share with me, or perhaps anthologies of female artists? (Also if any of your followers have one's they'd like to share with me they're free to message me). Thanks! Kristin

Hi Kristin! 

You have made an excellent observation. We don’t usually study women artists in most art history classes because art [in the Western world] has historically & traditionally been the domain of men. Women were generally denied access to artistic training and excluded from studios except as models. 

Occasionally, when (or if) a woman did become trained in painting or sculpting and demonstrate talent, it would shock male viewers and collectors to the point that owning a work by, say, Artemisia Gentileschi became a point of pride - of fetish, if I can use that word - because it was made by a female artist, an “Other.” This wasn’t all bad; women artists sometimes received more commissions, steady work, and even high honors (e.g., medals, invitations to exclusive academies, invitations to royal courts, etc.) as a result.

In truth, Linda Nochlin has addressed this issue far better than I ever could in her seminal essay Why have there been no great women artists? I encourage you to give it a read, if you haven’t already (full text linked to). 

There are a few known, successful female artists in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, many trained by their fathers or other relatives; Lavinia Fontana, Sofonisba and Lucia Anguissola, Judith Leyster, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Fede Galizia come to mind as women artists who are beginning to enter the “canon” of art history. 

The National Museum of Women in the Arts has a decent alphabetical list of women artists (in their collection) working in the 18th & 19th centuries, 20th century, and contemporary world. (One of my favorite contemporary female artists who is not listed is Barbara Kruger, who does amazing work, most recently with the Getty. Also check out Judy Chicago.) 

For further reading about feminist art history, look into works by (in alphabetical order): Mieke Bal,   Mary Garrard, Ann Sutherland Harris, Lucy LippardLinda Nochlin, Griselda Pollock, Hilary Robinson, and Freida High W. Tesfagiorgis

I hope this helps!

Related: The book Women Writing Art History in the Nineteenth Century by Hilary Fraser (Cambridge University Press, 2014).