Artistic Women

By Jill S. Tietjen

Earlier this fall, a retrospective of artist Helen Frankenthaler’s work opened in Buffalo, New York. Earlier this year, her work was exhibited in England. Frankenthaler was known for her “soak stain” technique, which was considered radical when she introduced it in the 1950s. Many works of art by women, including Helen Frankenthaler, have been or are now exhibited at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. Match the woman with her accomplishment:

____ 1. Considered the leading portrait painter in St. Louis and Baltimore during the mid-19th century.

____ 2. The first graduate of Howard University’s art department; later known for her colorful abstract paintings.

____ 3. Known for her large flower canvases and landscapes of New Mexico.

____ 4. Establishes the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

____ 5. An American painter who wins acceptance into the elite circle of French impressionist painters.

A. Mary Cassatt
B. Georgia O’Keeffe
C. Sarah Miriam Peale
D. Alma Thomas
E. Wilhelmina Holladay

In 1824, artists and sisters Anna Claypoole Peale and Sarah Miriam Peale are both elected to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; the first women to be so honored. Anna is a miniaturist while Sarah is primarily a painter of portraits in oil. The Peale sisters are the first women to receive full professional standing and recognition as artists and had careers that lasted for a half-century. Sarah received many commissions for portraits of diplomats, congressmen and other eminent individuals and was considered the leading portrait painter in St. Louis and Baltimore during the mid-19th century. Her work is displayed in the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Mary Cassatt’s paintings were different from the portraits produced by Sarah Miriam Peale. Cassatt focused on the private and social lives of women and children, often painting mothers and their children together. Determined to become a professional artist at a very young age, much to the consternation of her parents, Cassatt took lessons in Pennsylvania before persuading her parents to let her study in Paris. There, her talent was recognized and she was eventually accepted into the circle of French Impressionist painters. Cassatt herself as well as her paintings have been featured on U.S. postage stamps and she has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s artistic themes were quite different from Mary Cassatt’s. O’Keeffe is known for her large flower canvases and her many landscapes of New Mexico. Her first exhibition was in 1916 at Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery 291 in New York City. They married in 1924 and their personal and professional relationship lasted until his death in 1946. At that point, she moved to New Mexico, which she had frequently visited and painted up until then. Her painting of a Red Poppy has been featured on a U.S. postage stamp and she has been …read more

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