The Student News Site of Putnam City North High School

The North Star

Breaking News

The North Star

The Student News Site of Putnam City North High School

The North Star

Forgotten Female Artists


Even though many women have been some of the most profound and influential artists of their generation, they are often overlooked in favor of their male counterparts. Frida Kahlo, now a renowned and fantastic painter recognized worldwide, was often overlooked in favor of her husband, Diego Rivera, while she was alive. With March being women’s history month, it seems pertinent to look back and admire female artists that weren’t recognized properly.

Harriet Powers was an Black American woman who created quilts after being enslaved. Only two quilts of hers have survived, but experts have found she created folk art often depicting biblical stories and local legends. Her work is evocative, with each block on the quilt telling a story via the appliqué method. Today, her quilts are on display in the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

[Bible Quilt, 1886, Harriet Powers]

Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh was a Scottish artist that pioneered the Glasgow Style. Her husband, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, also created art in this style, leading to Margaret Mackintosh to be overshadowed by her male half. Her works have a whimsical and geometric feeling, while maintaining a perfect balance of color. Her art is currently displayed at the National Galleries of Scotland.

[The Mysterious Garden, 1911, Margaret Mackintosh]

Hannah Höch was a German Dadaist artist and one of the originators of ‘photomontage’ (photographs being cut and pasted to form a fuller image). She created political art that critiqued German society and government after World War I. She also used her work to explore the nuisances in identity and gender that became extremely present in Pre-Nazi Germany. Her work is currently featured at the Museum of Modern Art in America. It is eccentric and to some, as intended, off-putting— a clash of color, form, and shape all in one.

[The Father, 1920, Hannah Höch]

Suzanne Valadon was an American artist who apprenticed under Edgar Degas. Eventually, she transitioned from model to painter. Her work was met with fantastic
acclaim, with impressionistic techniques she learned under Degas being put to good use. Her portraits of female nudes transformed gender ideals around portraits in the era. Her work is now displayed at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

[The Girl at the Window, 1930, Suzanne Valadon]

Alma Thomas was an American artist and the first to graduate from Howard University with a degree in Fine Arts. She was massively influential to the American abstract movement, being involved in associations such as the Little Paris Group of artists and Howard U’s Gallery of Art. She was also the first Black woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of

American Art. Her work is colorful and definitive, featuring dots of paint in shape and form. Her art is featured in the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, among others.

[Resurrection, 1966, Alma Thomas]

While all the above mentioned female artists are important, there are still many female artists that are overlooked. Marriane North, an English biologist and botanical painter, Florine Stettheimer, an American modernist, Marie-Gabrielle Capet, a French neoclassical painter, Mira Schendel, a Jewish-Brazilian contemporary, and Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian Baroque artist, just to name a few. Many prolific and influential female artists are lost to history, and it is the people’s job to uncover and reinvigorate the beauty behind them.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The North Star

Your donation will support the student journalists of Putnam City North High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Donate to The North Star

Comments (0)

All The North Star Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *