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The 20th century witnessed a revolution in the art world, and women painters played a key role in this transformation. Despite the obstacles and gender discrimination they faced, these talented artists challenged established norms and left their mark on art history.

In this blog, we will explore the life and work of 10 outstanding women painters of the 20th century who became pioneers and changed the artistic landscape forever.

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954):

Frida Kahlo, renowned for her surrealist style and emotive self-portraits, is one of the most influential painters of the 20th century. Her work reflects her physical and emotional pain, as well as her Mexican identity and her struggle for gender equality.

Museo del Prado

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986):

Georgia O’Keeffe is known for her large paintings of abstract flowers and landscapes. Her distinctive style and focus on form and texture made her a leading figure in the American modernist movement.

Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980):

Tamara de Lempicka was a Polish painter noted for her art deco style and elegant portraits. Her works captured the elegance and sophistication of the era, and her focus on the female figure challenged social conventions.

Lee Krasner (1908-1984):

Lee Krasner was an important figure in Abstract Expressionism. Her energetic, gestural style and commitment to artistic experimentation made her one of the most innovative painters of her generation.

Museo del Prado

Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011):

Helen Frankenthaler was an influential painter associated with the colourfield painting movement. Her works are notable for their bold and expressive use of colour, creating abstract compositions of great emotional impact.

Remedios Varo (1908-1963):

Remedios Varo was a Spanish surrealist painter who stood out for her mysterious works full of symbolism. Her boundless imagination and technical mastery made her one of the most outstanding artists of her time.

Yayoi Kusama (1929):

Yayoi Kusama, a contemporary Japanese artist, is known for her installations and paintings full of repetitive patterns. Her unique style and her exploration of psychology and sexuality have made her an influential figure in contemporary art.

Museo del Prado

Marlene Dumas (1953- ):

Marlene Dumas, a South African painter, is known for her expressionist portraits. Her works explore themes such as identity, gender and politics, and have generated debates and questions in the art world.

Agnes Martin (1912-2004):

Agnes Martin was an abstract painter known for her minimalist and subtle works. Her focus on simplicity and spirituality made her one of the most prominent figures in 20th century minimalist art.

Bridget Riley (1931- ):

Bridget Riley is a British painter known for her optical artworks. Her abstract paintings in black and white or vibrant colours create optical illusions and play with the viewer’s perception.

Museo Sorolla


These 10 women painters of the 20th century defied expectations and left a lasting legacy in the art world. Their works broke artistic barriers, opened doors for future generations and continue to inspire artists around the world.

It is important to recognise their valuable contribution and celebrate their contribution to the history of art.