Suzan Pitt (1943-2019)
was a painter and animator, whose career lasted more than four decades. She was
known for her acclaimed surrealist films.
Her first film was released in 1970, and
her best-known work, Asparagus, debuted in 1979 at the Whitney Museum of
American Art. She was also a professor at the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts
at Harvard, and later at the California Institute of the Arts.
Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962) was a Russian avantgarde artist, working in a number of
genres, including painting, costume design and illustration. She was one of the
founders of the Rayonist movement, a style of abstract art which developed in
the early 20th century.
was a prominent and influential artist, bridging the gap between Eastern and
Western traditions, and participating in numerous avantgarde groups. Her 1909
painting Picking Apples sold in 2007 for $9.8 million, a record for any
female artist at the time. Her work can be admired today at the Guggenheim and
MoMA, among others.
de Valois (1898-2001) was a dancer, choreographer
and director of classical ballet. She is known as the ‘godmother’ of English
and Irish ballet.
She started dancing from an early age, and
in 1927 established her own Academy of Choreographic Art in London. She went on
to establish the Royal Ballet, one of the most important companies of its kind
in the 20th century.
Agnès Varda (1928-2019) was a Belgian-French
photographer and filmmaker. She was a pioneer of the French New Wave film
movement during the 1950s and 1960s.
She made her first
film, La Pointe Courte, in 1954, and
continued working in the cinematic industry for more than five decades,
establishing her reputation as the ‘mother’ of the New Wave movement. She received
numerous awards and honours for her work, including the first Academy Honorary
Award for a female director.
Mee (1909-1988) was an English botanical artist.
She specialised in plants from the Amazon rainforest, and was one of the first
environmentalists to warn about the dangers of destroying this ecosystem.
She studied art in London and obtained her diploma
in 1950, moving to Brazil soon after. It was there she became an artist for the
Botanical Institute in Sao Paulo, and created more than 400 folios of plant
illustrations, many of which were newly discovered. A trust in her name was set
up for education and research on the Amazonian rainforest.
Käsebier (1852-1934) was a photographer, active in the 19th and 20th
centuries. She is best known for her images of Native Americans and portraits
She was a homemaker until the age of 37, when she started attending the
Pratt Institute of Art and Design, and later went to study the chemistry of
photography in Germany. Her first exhibition was at the Boston Camera Club in
1895. She cultivated a close friendship with the Sioux and photographed many
Native Americans in her studio. In 1910, she founded the Women’s Professional
Photographers Association of America.
Brooks (1874-1970) was a painter who specialised in
portraits. She is best known for her paintings of women in masculine or
She started studying art in Rome, where she
was the only female student in her life drawing class – a very unusual place for
a woman at the time. She later moved to Capri, where she lived and worked in
poverty; she found success later on, in the art circles of Paris. She was also
well known for her uninhibited lifestyle and sexuality, and the love triangle
she formed with Natalie Clifford Barney and Lily de Gramont.
Hinkson (1925-2014) was a dancer and choreographer,
best known for her collaboration with the Martha Graham Dance Company. She was
credited with breaking racial boundaries in ballet and modern dance.
She obtained formal training at the
University of Wisconsin and was recruited into Martha Graham’s company in 1951.
Two years later, she obtained the role of principal dancer in the production Bluebeard’s Castle. She was also a
teacher with the Juilliard School of Music and the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
was one of the most important sculptors working in New York City. She was the
author of the first public monument in the city created by a woman.
She had a thriving career and was mostly
known for her animal sculptures, which are now on display in many places across
the United States, including for example Columbia University, Central Park and
the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her statue of Joan of Arc was the first
monument in New York dedicated to a woman in history.