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The Phaidon Folio

Great Women Artists: The 400 Most Important Female Artists Over the Last 500 Years


Great Women Artists: The 400 Most Important Female Artists Over the Last 500 Years

When Renée Adams, a professor of finance at Oxford University, showed 2,000 people a selection of paintings, participants (especially wealthy men) consistently rated works by female artists lower than the rest. These works, however, were not actually made by women; instead they were generated by a computer and then randomly assigned fictitious names and genders. This 2017 study confirms that though artworks themselves are not gendered, people—especially those belonging to the demographic most likely to collect art—project their sexism onto the value of art. And the proof is in the pudding.

Last week artnet News reported that women artists make up just two per cent of the art market. "More than $196.6 billion has been spent on art at auction between 2008 and the first five months of 2019. Of this, work made by women accounts for just $4 billion—around 2 percent." Museums aren't doing much better: "Just 11 percent of all acquisitions and 14 percent of exhibitions at 26 prominent American museums over the past decade were of work by female artists," according to a recent investigation by artnet News and In Other Words. These numbers are staggering. And sexist. The grand majority of museum exhibitions, auctions, or art history books might as well have been called Great Men Artists—but they hadn't needed to be; by default, it was already assumed.

Phaidon's newest book, Great Women Artists, acknowledges the rampant exclusion and under-appreciation of women in the art world, creating an overdue paper trail that cements the contributions of 400 women over the last 500 years into the art historical canon. As the title suggests with its strikethrough styling, that though the gender of an artists has no inherent influence on the work she produces (the works featured in this book are incredibly diverse), gender does have an impact on how that artwork can and will be appreciated, historicized, and valued. (Just two per cent of the art market, people! Just two per cent!) Great Women Artists is the most extensive fully illustrated book of women artists ever published.

Great Women Artists is available for $59

The book won't be released October 1st—but the anticipatory enthusiasm is already palpable. "Interview believes every damn day is worthy of celebrating great women, and Great Women Artists makes it easy," writes Devon Ivie for Interview Magazine. "If only all our college art history textbooks were this much fun." Meanwhile, the Culture Whisperer says, "No self respecting art lover should be without a copy." 

Order the book here, and while you wait for it to arrive, check out the list of great women artists who made the cut:

Magdalena Abakanowicz

Berenice Abbott

Nina Chanel Abney

Marina Abramović

Tomma Abts

Carla Accardi

Etel Adnan

Hilma af Klint

Eileen Agar

Eija-Liisa Ahtila

Chantel Akerman

Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Anni Albers

Ellen Altfest

Olga de Amaral

Ghada Amer

Laurie Anderson

Mamma Andersson

Sofonisba Anguissola

Eleanor Antin

Janine Antoni

Ida Applebroog

Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir ('Shoplifter')

Ruth Asawa

Dotty Attie

Gillian Ayers


Jo Baer

Fiona Banner

Phyllida Barlow

Tina Barney

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

Anna Barriball

Yael Bartana

Uta Barth

Maria Bartuszová

Mary Bashkirtseff

Mary Beale

Vanessa Beecroft

Vanessa Bell

Rebecca Belmore

Lynda Benglis

Marie-Guillemine Benoist

Renate Bertlmann

Huma Bhabha

Zarina Bhimji

Dara Birnbaum

Maria Blanchard

Rosa Bonheur

Monica Bonvicini

Dineo Seshee Bopape

Pauline Boty

Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz

Louise Bourgeois

Margaret Bourke-White

Carol Bove

Sonia Boyce

Geta Brãtescu

Candice Breitz

Cecily Brown

Tania Bruguera

Heidi Bucher


Claude Cahun

Sophie Calle

Juno Calypso

Julia Margaret Cameron

Cao Fei

Janet Cardiff

Joan Carlile

Emily Carr

Rosalba Carriera

Leonora Carrington

Mary Cassatt

Jordan Casteel

Elizabeth Catlett

Vija Celmins

Helen Chadwick

Sarah Charlesworth

Constance Marie Charpentier

Judy Chicago

Saloua Raouda Choucair


Lygia Clark

Camille Claudel

Dana Claxton

Prunella Clough

Hannah Cohoon

Renee Cox

Ithell Colquhoun

Grace Cossington Smith

Renee Cox

Petah Coyne

Cui Jie

Imogen Cunningham


Hanne Darboven

Berlinde De Bruyckere

Elaine de kooning

Tacita Dean

Jay DeFeo

Mary Delaunay

Agnes Denes

Rineke Dijkstra

A K Dolven

Tara Donovan

Rosalyn Drexler

Elsie Driggs

Rose-Adélaïde Ducreux

Marlene Dumas

Celeste Dupuy-Spencer

Mabel Dwight


Mary Beth Edelson

Nicole Eisenman

Tracey Emin

Alexandra Exter


Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

Lara Favaretto

Genieve Figgis

Rose Finn-Kelcey

Sylvie Fleury

Ceal Floyer

Lavinia Fontana

Martine Franck

Helen Frankenthaler

Andrea Fraser

Elisabeth Frink

Katharina Fritsch


Anya Gallaccio

Ellen Gallagher

Yishay Garbasz


Artemisia Gentileschi

Isa Genzken

Marguerite Gérard

Vanessa L. German


Nan Goldin

Natalia Goncharova

Eva Gonzalès

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

Catherine Goodman

Dora Gordine

Sheela Gowda

Lauren Greenfield

Katharina Grosse

Guerrilla Girls

Shilpa Gupta

Ike Gyokuran


Elisabeth Haarr

Maggi Hambling

Ann Hamilton

Margaret Harrison

Rachel Harrison

Grace Hartigan

Mona Hatoum

Sharon Hayes

Jacoba van Heemskerck

Susan Hefuna

Mary Heilmann

Annemarie Heinrich

Catharina van Hemessen

Camille Henrot

Barbara Hepworth

Carmen Herrera

Eva Hesse

Sheila Hicks

Susan Hiller

Lubaina Himid

Hannah Höch

Candida Höfer

Nancy Holt

Jenny Holzer

Rebecca Horn

Roni Horn

Shara Hughes

Juliana Huxtable


Cristina Iglesias

Graciela Iturbide

María Izquierdo


Emily Jacir

Chantal Joffe

Gwen John

Joan Jonas

Loïs Mailou Jones

Louise Jopling

Brigit Jürgenssen


Frida Kahlo

Hayv Kahraman

Kan Xuan

Katsushika Ōi

Angelica Kauffman

Mary Kelly

Iris Kensmil

Corita Kent

Bharti Kher


Kiyohara Yukinobu

Emily Kam Kngwarray

Laura Knight

Béla Kolárová

Käthe Kollwitz

Eva Kotátková

Joyce Kozloff

Lee Krasner

Barbara Kruger

Shigeko Kubota

Agnieszka Kurant

Yayoi Kusama

Alicja Kwade


Dorthea Lange

Greer Lankton

Maria Lassnig

Marie Laurencin

Louise Lawler

Deana Lawson

Lee Bul

Nikki S. Lee

Annie Leibovitz

Tamara de Lempicka

Zoe Leonard

Sherrie Levine

Helen Levitt

Edmonia Lewis

Judith Leyster

Liliane Lijn

Maya Lin


Hung Liu

Barbara Longhi

Sarah Lucas

Ana Lupaș


Dora Maar

Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh

Esther Mahlangu

Vivian Maier

Anna Maria Maiolino

Nalini Malani

Jeanne Mammen

Sally Mann

Britta Marakatt-Labba

Cinthia Marcelle

Teresa Margolles


Helen Marten

Agnes Martin

Mary Martin

Julie Mehretu

Ana Mendieta

Marisa Merz

Angelica Mesiti

Annette Messager

Beatriz Milhazes

Lee Miller

Marilyn Minter

Marta Minujin

Aleksandra Mir

Joan Mitchell

Lisette Model

Paula Modersohn-Becker

Tina Modotti

Tracey Moffatt

Louise Moillon

Véra Molnar

Mariko Mori

Berthe Morisot

Mary Moser

Anna (Grandma) Moses

Marlow Moss

Zanele Muholi

Mrinalini Mukherjee

Vera Mukhina

Gabriele Münter

Elizabeth Murray

Wangechi Mutu


Alice Neel

Plautilla Nelli

Senga Nengudi

Shirin Neshat

Rivane Neuenschwander

Louise Nevelson


Georgia O’Keeffe

Lydia Okumura

Yoko Ono

Maria van Oosterwijck

Catherine Opie

Meret Oppenheim


Lucy Orta

Emily Mary Osborn


Pan Yuliang

Gina Pane

Lygia Pape

Cornelia Parker

Katie Paterson

Clara Peeters

Beverly Pepper

Elizabeth Peyton

Susan Philipsz

Heather Phillipson

Patricia Piccinini

Cathie Pilkington

Howardena Pindell

Adrian Piper

Liubov Popova

Liliana Porter

Harriet Powers

Laure Prouvost

Pushpamala N


Lucrezia Quistelli


Carol Rama

Anita Rée

Paula Rego

Lisa Reihana

Lili Reynaud-Dewar

Germaine Richier

Bridget Riley

Faith Ringgold

Pipilotti Rist

Marietta Robusti

Luisa Roldán

Tracey Rose

Martha Rosler

Properzia de’ Rossi

Susan Rothenberg

Mika Rottenberg

Nancy Rubins

Rachel Ruysch

Hannah Ryggen


Betye Saar

Natascha Sadr Haghighian

Kay Sage

Niki de Saint Phalle

Doris Salcedo

Charlotte Salomon

Zilia Sánchez

Augusta Savage

Jenny Saville

Miriam Schapiro

Mira Schendel

Hélène Schneemann

Anna Maria van Schurman

Dana Schutz

Berni Searle

Tschabalala Self

Joan Semmel

Zinaida Serebriakova

Shen Yuan

Amrita Sher-Gil

Amy Sherald

Cindy Sherman

Mary Sibande

Amy Sillman

Laurie Simmons

Taryn Simon

Lorna Simpson

Dayanita Singh

Elisabetta Sirani

Sylvia Sleigh

Kiki Smith

Monika Sosnowska

Marie Spartali Stillman

Jo Spense

Nancy Spero

Frances Stark

Pat Steir

Irma Stern

Florine Stettheimer

Hito Steyerl

Jessica Stockholder

Michelle Stuart


Maud Sulter

Alina Szapocznikow

Sarah Sze


Sophie Taeuber-Art

Atsuko Tanaka

Dorthea Tanning


Lenore Tawney

Anna Dorothea Therbusch

Alma Thomas

Mickalene Thomas

Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler

Rosemarie Trockel

Anne Truitt


Uemura Shōen

Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Amalia Ulman


Suzanne Valadon


Anne Vallayer-Coster

Remedios Varo

Joana Vasconcelos

Cecilia Vicuña

Maria Helena Vieira da Silva

Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun

Marie-Denise Villers

Ursula von Rydingsvard


Kara Walker

Rebecca Warren

Anna Waser

Michaelina Wautier

Gillian Wearing

Carrie Mae Weems

Marianne von Werefkin

Pae White

Rachel Whiteread

Faith Wilding

Hannah Wilke

Jane & Louise Wilson

Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman

Rose Wylie


Xiao Lu

Xing Danwen


Catherine Yaas

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Yin Xiuzhen

Lisa Yuskavage



Fahrelnissa Zeid

Andrea Zittel


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