Blog 12 – 9/7/18

2 – 9/7/18

When I look at the distribution list for my blogs and when I visit art groups and other arty places, the predominate gender of attendees are female, why is that?


Given that more women than men seem to paint, why is it men seem to dominate the higher echelons of the art world?


This blog is not meant to be political just something I think I have noticed.


As an exercise, name 20 famous male artists.


Now name 20 famous female artists


I know there is the glass ceiling scenario in the boardroom and in industry but surely not in the art world!


Famous male artists off the top of my head are, and here we go:


Monet, Manet, Matisse, Picasso, Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Canaletto, Hirst, Hopper, Constable,Turner, Hockney, van Gogh, Caravaggio, Cezanne, Munch, Pollock, Michaelangelo, Warhol and Dali and loads more.


I am guessing you will recognise all these names if not most of them.


Now famous female artists off the top of my head, and here we go again….


Emin, Knight, Saville, Kerr, Feddon, Frida something or other, er, um!!!!!


I  have checked a few top artists list on the internet including the top 101 important painters of all time’  list and came across Joan Mira at position 29 and I thought eureka, I found a famous female artist on the list, but Joan turns out to be a man.


His most important works are those from the series of “Constellations”, created in the early 40s


The first female artist on the list is FRIDA KAHLO  at position 49


A bit about her. She was born in 1907 and died in 1954, so not very old. – On September 17th, 1925, Kahlo was almost killed in a terrible bus accident. She did not die, but the violent crash had terrible sequels, breaking her spinal column, pelvis, and right leg. After this accident, Kahlo’s self-portraits can be considered as quiet but sad and dour.


I then came across CAMILLE COROT (1796-1875) at position 79. I thought this was an artist of the female persuasion but it was a bloke; I read his first name as Carmella and not Camille. A bit about him – Camille (also known as Carmella) is one of the great figures of French realism in the 19th century and certainly one of the major influences for the impressionist painters like Monet or Renoir, thanks to his love for “plein-air” painting, emphasising the use of light.


The only other female on the ‘’  list is GENTILESCHI, ARTEMISIA (1597-1654) at position 85 – Artemisia was one of the most gifted artists of the early baroque era, she was the first female painter to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence.


So only two female artists in the top 101 and two ladies who are not really household names.


What does this tell us? Are female artists not as good as men at painting and never have been as good as men at painting? I really cannot see that being the case. Then why do women not feature in this top 101 list?


I have just checked a list of the top 10 female artists on the ‘widewalls’ list, no household names there either. One possible household name, Tracey Emin, is not featured on this list!!


So let me introduce our 10 most prominent female artists (arguably, possible, maybe…)


Leonora Carrington who is an ultra surrealist and paints half human and half animal forms and other beastly things, bit odd and a bit spooky in my opinion.


Joan Mitchell uses bold colour.


Etal Adnan does abstract work with thick layers of paint.


Bridget Riley paints pictures of motion and is said her paintings can have a disorientating effect on the viewer.


Paula Rega often uses comic type strips to portray her artwork and has or does produce semi abstract and collage work.


Vija Clemin is a photo realism artist. I find photo realism a fantastic skill to demonstrate although some people say whats the point in doing photo realism when you can have a photo, my response to this is they do it because they can and you probably can’t .


Marlene Duma does figurative work which includes dead people and bodies in mortuaries, a bit Damian Hirst’ish, who had a placement at a mortuary in his younger years which allegedly influenced some of his work.


Elizabeth Peyton paints famous people often standing or sleeping and I guess sometimes her subjects are doing this at the same time. I have been known to stand and sleep at the same time, but that is usually when I am watching a certain football team!!!!


The most famous British female painter (arguably)is Jenny Saville whose work, it is said, ‘can resembles that of celebrated abstract artists’.  I notice this lift from the the ‘widewalls’ list does not say ‘OTHER celebrated abstract artists’


Jane Methuen whose paintings include city landscapes.


Final comment. In other genres of the arts such as writing, singing, dancing, women have continually been to the fore, but not, as it seems to me, painting.


Of  course, I may being seeing this all wrong and missing something.


Cheers Jeff