Very few art movements in history were so in line with what could be perceived as feminine art than the Impressionist movement of the late 19th century.
The Impressionist artist used loose brushstrokes and started painting outdoors in the 1860s. This was revolutionary and they faced stiff criticism initially.
This gradually changed as some major art dealers started buying Impressionist paintings shortly after they started exhibiting in 1874.
Granted, there had been several famous female artists since the Renaissance, but no art movement featured so many female artists.
So who were the most famous female Impressionist artists? In this article, you’ll find out.
1. Mary Cassatt
Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) was an American artist who lived and worked most of her career in France. It was there that she got to know the revolutionary new art movement when she visited France for the first time in 1866 and she eagerly adopted the style.
Born in Allegheny, an area in the northern part of the metropolitan area of Pittsburgh today, she barely achieved recognition in her home country during the majority of her career. Her paintings were especially feminine as they mainly focused on women, especially mothers with their children.
2. Berthe Morisot
Berthe Morisot (1841-1895) was a French painter who was one of the founding members of the Impressionist art movement. She already made a name for herself in 1864 when her paintings were exhibited for the first time at the prestigious Paris Salon.
She was featured 6 more times before she started exhibiting with the Impressionists in 1874. Her style was more in line with the likes of Paul Cézanne and Edgar Degas so this was a natural choice for her. She contributed to 7 of the 8 Impressionist exhibitions between 1874 and 1886.
3. Marie Bracquemond
Marie Bracquemond (1840-1916) was another French female Impressionist artist who, together with Cassatt and Morisot, has been described as one of “Les Trois Grandes Dames” or the “Three Great Ladies” of Impressionism. She also started her career exhibiting paintings at the Paris Salon.
Bracquemond was a child prodigy who submitted her first paintings to the Salon when she was still a teenager. She was married to printmaker Félix Bracquemond (1833–1914), a man who introduced Japanese art to France, and together they produced ceramic art.
4. Eva Gonzalès
Eva Gonzalès (1849-1883) was another major female Impressionist artist who can be put in the same category as Cassatt, Morisot, and Braquemond. She was the daughter of Emmanuel Gonzalès (1815-1887), a popular French novelist, and was therefore introduced to art circles at an early age.
This is how she eventually met Édouard Manet (1832-1883) in February 1869. She became the model of the influential French painter and eventually his student as well. Her oeuvre can be best described as being in line with Manet’s Spanish period, often featuring a rather dull palette.
5. Anna Ancher
Anna Ancher (1859-1935) was a Danish artist who was born shortly before the Impressionist artists started developing their style. This means that she was heavily influenced by the Impressionists at a time when their art was already held in high regard by art critics.
She was born in Skagen and became one of the leading figures of the Skagen Painters, a group of artists who worked in this village in the utmost northern part of Denmark. Her oeuvre, therefore, consists of the common life of the people who lived in Skagen and features both interior scenes and landscapes.
6. Lilla Cabot Perry
Lilla Cabot Perry (1848-1933) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and moved to Paris in France after the first phase of her career in her home city. Just a few years later, she became acquainted with the paintings of Claude Monet (1840-1926), the founding father of Impressionism.
She visited Monet in Giverny and he became the major influence on her art for the rest of her life. She traveled to Paris again and even spent time in Japan before settling once again in her home country in 1908. Her most notable works are portraits and landscapes that define the American Impressionist style.
7. Cecilia Beaux
Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942) was another female American Impressionist who initially carved out a successful career as a portraitist in her native Philadelphia. Despite her success, she still decided to travel to Paris when she was in her early thirties.
Despite the fact that she is being defined as one of the most famous female Impressionist artists in history, she trained under academic painters Tony Robert-Fleury and William-Adolphe Bouguereau. That’s why her style as a portraitist features somewhat of a constraint regarding Impressionist techniques.
8. Louise Catherine Breslau
Louise Catherine Breslau (1856-1927) was born in Germany but is considered to be a Swiss artist who accidentally became a painter. She picked up drawing while she was bedridden from a severe asthma attack and it was only then that she discovered her immense talent.
She studied at the Académie Julian in Paris and this allowed her to submit her paintings to the exhibition of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. She became a respected female artist in the high society of art in the late 19th and early 20th century and her oeuvre can be compared to that of Edgard Degas.