Category Archives: Women who do art

Women who do art: Marlene Dumas

(I may not hvve enough time to write a whole lot of new blog posts, but I might as well post the ones I’ve already written…)

Marlene Dumas
was born in the small South African farming town Jacobsdal (where her father had a winery) in 1953 and moved to Cape town in 1972. She now lives and works in Amsterdam, mostly with oil on canvas and ink on paper.

According to dear Wikipedia she “uses the human figure as a means to critique contemporary ideas of racial, sexual, and social identity”. Now that sounds interesting, doesn’t it?* She’s also really good with that ink. My mum (who’s an artist) can talk about the way she’s drawn the lines in one of her ink sketches forever.

(Does this remind you a bit of Andy Warhol?)

*ps. I’m not so sure I’m in love with the idea of a white woman using black bodies to critique ideas of identity anymore. I guess the way you think really does change over time…

pps. If you google her name and find one of those woman-from-behind-grabbing-her-own-ass-from-between-her-legs pictures – No, I don’t get them either. They kind of make me cringe actually.


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Women who do art: Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi was born in 1593 and was an Italian Baroque painter.

Here are some interesting facts about Gentileschi (directly quoted) from an article on Mental floss:

Many of Artemisia Gentileschi’s paintings are retellings of biblical stories from the women’s perspectives.
In 1616, she joined the Florentine Academia del Disegno as its very first female member.
When her marriage fell apart, Artemisia became the head of her own household and raised her daughter, Prudenza (who also painted), by herself.
– […] Artemisia was the first woman who managed to live exclusively by her brush. She evidently made “a splendid income,” with patronage from the Medici family and King Charles I.


This is Judith Beheading Holofernes, one of the mentioned retellings of biblical stories:

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Women who do art: Romaine Brooks

Self-portrait (1923)

Romaine Brooks was born 1874 in Rome. She was American but mostly worked in France and Italy.

I hope you forgive me for copying the art-stuff straight from Wikipedia:
“[Brooks] specialized in portraiture and used a subdued palette dominated by the color gray. Brooks ignored contemporary artistic trends such as Cubism and Fauvism, drawing instead on the Symbolist and Aesthetic movements of the 19th century…”

She painted both anonymous models and really famous (rich) ones, and was most famous for portraits of androgynous women, sometimes dressed in “masculine dress” – which seems to mean fancy suits, and the occasional fancy hat (I like!).

File:Romaine Brooks - Peter.jpg
Peter, a young English girl

La France Croisée (The Cross of France)

Una, Lady Troubridge

File:Romaine Brooks - Portrait of Natalie Barney.jpg
Miss Natalie Barney, “L’Amazone”


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Women who do art

A friend of mine asked me if I knew any good female artists (the kind who makes pictures). Since I’m kind of interested in art, she thought I would be a good person to ask.

I wasn’t.

Apparently the only female painter I know.

I realised I couldn’t give her a single name, except Frida Kahlo, whom she already knew (yay for us?). Even though my general knowledge of painters is pretty bad, I know a couple. Like, at least ten. But only one of them is a woman. Not cool. So I’m going to educate myself and find me some female artists. And I’m going to share them with you*. I don’t think I’ll stick to painters – some sculpturers, graphic artists, photographers, and other types of artists may pop in too.

So, eh, let’s get educated! Woop woop.

*Gotta love how I’m already referring to the people who read this blog in the blog posts, even if I probably read my posts more times than they’re read by other people.  It feels a bit like starting your diary entry with “Dear diary”. Except it’s more like starting it with “Dear reader (who is not me)”.


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