Strong women in the art world
You cannot think about art without thinking about the strong women who have helped define it. From painters and photographers to muses and models, the art world is powered by women. Discover wall art from, and of, great women at LUMAS.
The American painter Erin Cone is a multi-award-winning artist who has enjoyed a string of celebrated exhibitions in Europe and the USA. Critics have lauded her innovative interpretations of traditional motifs and figures as well as her unique slant on realist art styles. Typified by by dramatic contrasts and a limited color palette, Cone’s works carefully walk the line between realistic and stylized portraiture. This duality is reflected in her subject matter - graceful figures who simultaneously exhibit both stillness and motion.
Anna Halm Schudel
At first glance, the pixelated portraits of Anna Halm Schudel create a bold, unified impression – it’s only by looking closer that the true complexity of the art is revealed. Each main image is painstakingly assembled from thousands of 1cm photographic portraits in a breathtaking digital mosaic. The interplay between proximity and distance lends each artwork a unique charm. Invisible to the naked eye, the artist even includes minute self-portraits among the mosaic tiles – Schudel’s own elusive fingerprint in each of her works.
The Parisian photographer Emmannuelle Descraques stages her young models in deliberately retro settings, contrasting vintage styling with the youthfulness of her subjects. Descraques’s works often recall the sun-drenched color schemes and expressive visual language of her mentor, Kourtney Roy. Expertly balancing both youthfulness and nostalgia, Descraques explores the space between candid documentary-style imagery and carefully staged fashion photography.
Over the past three decades, GABO has made a name for herself an internationally recognized portrait photographer, helping to blaze a trail in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Renowned for her unique skill with people and light, GABO has risen to become one of the fashion world’s most in-demand photographers. Having previously worked as a model in the 1980s, she soon stepped behind the camera and adopted the name “GABO”. Drawing on her own modelling experiences, GABO challenges the male gaze with a distinctly female perspective.
Leila Rose Fanner
Drawing inspiration from Art Nouveau and the wildlife and scenery of her native South Africa, the painter Leila Rose Fanner conjures a transcendent mood through her art. Surrounded by Klimt-like iridescence and richly-colored abstract forms, the bold female figures in Fanner’s works harmonize organically with their natural backgrounds. Through masterful painterly skill, Fanner creates symbolic and engrossing artworks, rich with life and color.
Sabine Dehnel’s multimedia works feature highly individual portraits of influential female artists. Notably, Dehnel crafts every aspect of the artworks herself, from the photography to mosaics and paint. Using the human torso as a canvas, Dehnel applies harmonious colors and materials onto the skin to create uniquely expressive, illustrative artwork. Each of Dehnel’s works is a portrait of, and homage to, a great female artist- and each one makes use of the techniques and color schemes favored by those artists, such as the rich red, blue and gold in the Frida Kahlo-inspired “Frida”. These elements surround the centerpiece of the work, a medallion containing a small but detailed black-and-white portrait of an iconic artist from history.
The spectacular artworks of Berlin-based artist Sandra Rauch take their inspiration from great world cities. When creating a work, the artist meticulously photographs the sights and streets of each city before researching the local history. The photos are then processed and combined with a variety of artistic mediums including screen printing, painting and typography to create one of Rauch’s signature collages. The artist’s work is typified by neon colors, bold symbolism and advertising-style lettering, creating a world between the fantastical and the familiar, the real and the virtual.
The Canadian artist Ysabel Lemay has developed her own inimitable artistic medium over time, which she names “Hypercollage”. In this form of digital collage, Lemay painstakingly combines hundreds of photographs from her travels into one artwork. With meticulous attention to detail, the artist carefully balances elements such as flowers, birds and branches into a heavenly whole. Lemay draws on her experience as an oil painter and graphic designer to lend the digital works an unmistakably painterly character, rich with baroque detail. The resulting artworks recall the maximalist beauty of Rococo-period art.
A brief history of women in art
Centuries of historical and social pressures made it difficult for women artists to gain acceptance and recognition, often overshadowed by their male counterparts. Despite this, female artists throughout history persisted in pushing the form forwards. Some of the most celebrated historical female artists who achieved fame despite these obstacles include the Renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola (1531/1532 – 1625), the illustrator and naturalist Maria Sybilla Merian, (1647 – 1717) and the Neoclassical painter Angelica Kauffmann (1741 – 1807). As well as artists, some of the most influential collectors, patrons and promoters throughout history have been women. Eventually, during the 20th century, a career as an artist started to become a viable option for women. This progress was accelerated by the work of particularly influential female artists such as Frida Kahlo, whose instantly recognizable works showed a powerful artistic sensibility and a mastery of the craft. Her eventful life is reflected in her now world-renowned works. As acceptance slowly grew, even the most conservative critics had to admit that female creatives were equally hard-working, talented and visionary as their male peers, and often more so. The female painters, illustrators and photographers in our portfolio continue this proud tradition, carrying the flame for women in contemporary art.
Women as Muses and Models
The female figure has been a central element of figurative art since prehistory. While women have long been essential forces in advancing the form, both as models and artists, they were often depicted in classical art as decorative objects rather than true subjects. Whether in the form of goddesses, nymphs, nudes or portrait subjects, female motifs are an integral part of the history of art. Many muses were themselves great artists – the painters Gabriele Münter and photographer Dora Maar are just some examples. This is also true of fashion photography, where the elegance and grace of the models reflects the style of the time.