Sapphic Artists

"Creativity takes courage" Matisse. For some of these ladies being a Sapphic painter or Sapphic sculptor takes courage too

Male Artists   |   Sapphic Artists   |   Sapphic Sculptors   |   Sapphic Photographers

Woman Painters & Sculptors

Whilst compiling this page I was shocked to realise how lucky I, as a girl, to have been able to study at university. For art, historically woman who wanted to be creative had to do so without becoming part of a guild or academy, or studying life drawing. of course, noble women (wives, widows and daughters) would often be educated to read and write, learn and practice the arts, and play musical instruments. For those less fortunate convents were places where women could learn how to read, paint and play musical instruments. Obviously this would come with sacrifices which I defo could not have done. Yet some wives and daughters could help in ...

... their husbands' and fathers' workshop or take up home crafts such as needle crafts (embroideries), weaving and pottery.

The 18th Century
Though it was the age of Enlightenment and the Age of Reason most women were still largely banned from formal academic training and exhibiting their work. They relied on private salons hosted by wealthy and powerful women and personal connections and informal networks of patronage, support, and training.

The Second Half Of The 19th Century
Women were still excluded from, for example: free training at state-sponsored art schools, life drawing classes, state commissions and purchases, as well as participating within official competitions. When sculptor Anne Whitney began to study art, quite incredulous, in America apparently not only could women not attend life drawing classes, but plaster casts of the human form could not be used in co-educational classrooms and visits to art galleries required that sculptures of nude men needed to have the genitalia covered before the women could enter the gallery. So some women artists studied anatomy to see a... man's willy!

So to attain art training women turned to the studios of established artists or to private academies and "Female only Schools" with life classes consisting of completely dressed men. For example The Society of Female Artists (now called The Society of Women Artists) was established in 1855 in London and has staged annual exhibitions since 1857, when 358 works were shown by 149 women with some women artists using a pseudonym. The new medium of photography, offered new opportunities to women as there were no traditional restrictions, and no established training. The issue of women’s exclusion from arts education was not addressed by the Royal Academy until 1860, when Laura Herford was admitted by accident to the RA Schools after submitting drawings with only her initials, L.H.. This is rather ironic as, the Royal Academy got off to a great start in 1768 as two of its founding members were women, the painters Mary Moser and Angelica Kauffman! Life drawing became available to female students in Paris & Amsterdam in the 1870s, and to London in the 1890s (and their admission to the Royal Academy was strictly controlled to ensure that they didn't outnumber the men).

The rest is history and for sure we all owe thanks to the suffragette movement. Bravo to the woman who pursued their passion in art.

Sapphic Artists: Rosa Bonheur

Rosa Bonheur

Artist: 1822 – 1899

Sapphic Artists: Louise Abbéma

Louise Abbéma

Artist: 1853 – 1927

Sapphic Artists: Elizaveta Sergeyevna Kruglikova

Elizaveta Sergeyevna Kruglikova

Artist: 1865 – 1941

Sapphic Artists: Clare ‘Tony’ Atwood

Clare ‘Tony’ Atwood

Artist: 1866 – 1962

Sapphic Artists: Anna Hope ‘Nan’ Hudson

Anna Hope ‘Nan’ Hudson

Artist: 1869 – 1957

Sapphic Artists: Ethel Sands

Ethel Sands

Artist: 1873 – 1962

Sapphic Artists: Romaine Brooks

Romaine Brooks

Artist: 1874 – 1970

Sapphic Artists: Marie Laurencin

Marie Laurencin

Artist: 1883 – 1956

Sapphic Artists: Anita Clara Rée

Anita Clara Rée

Artist: 1885 – 1933

Sapphic Artists: Gerda Wegener

Gerda Wegener

Artist: 1886 - 1940

Sapphic Artists: Hannah Höch

Hannah Höch

Artist: 1889 – 1978

Sapphic Artists: Marjorie

Marjorie "Marlow" Moss

Artist: 1889 – 1958

Sapphic Artists: Jeanne Mammen

Jeanne Mammen

Artist: 1890 – 1976

Sapphic Artists: Gertrude Sandmann

Gertrude Sandmann

Artist: 1893 – 1981

Sapphic Artists: Hannah ‘Gluck’ Gluckstein

Hannah ‘Gluck’ Gluckstein

Artist: 1895 – 1978

Sapphic Artists: Gerda Wegener

Gerda Wegener

Artist: 1886 - 1940

Sapphic Artists: Nan Mason

Nan Mason

Artist: 1896 – 1982

Sapphic Artists: Annie LeibovitzTamara de Lempicka

Tamara de Lempicka

Artist: 1898? – 1980

Sapphic Artists: Lotte Laserstein

Lotte Laserstein

Artist: 1898 – 1993

Sapphic Artists: Betty Parsons

Betty Parsons

Artist: 1900 - 1982

Sapphic Artists: Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener / Lili Elbe

Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener / Lili Elbe

Artist: 1900 - 1982

Sapphic Artists: Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

Artist: 1907 - 1954

Sapphic Artists: Leonor Fini

Leonor Fini

Artist: 1907 - 1996


Sapphic Sculptors

Sapphic Artists: Emma Stebbins

Emma Stebbins

Emma Stebbins was a neoclassical sculptor and was the first woman to receive a public art commission from New York City for the statue "Angel of the Waters" (1873), aka... more

American Sculptor: 1815 - 1882

Sapphic Artists: Mary Lloyd

Mary Lloyd

Mary studied and worked with French artist Rosa Bonheur. In 1853 with American sculptor Harriet Hosmer, Mary was working in the studio of Welsh sculptor John Gibson in Rome... more

Welsh Sculptor: 1819 – 1896

Sapphic Artists: Anne Whitney

Anne Whitney

Anne Whitney is known for her full-length and bust sculptures of prominent political and historical figures including Harriet Beecher Stowe (American abolitionist and... more

American Sculptor: 1821-1915

Sapphic Artists: Harriet Hosmer

Harriet Hosmer

During the 19th century, Harriet Hosmer was the most distinguished American female sculptor. She created polished Neoclassical sculptures, depicting mythological icons... more

American Sculptor: 1830 - 1908

Sapphic Artists: Edmonia Lewis

Edmonia Lewis

Edmonia Lewis story is an incredible tale of tenacity. Edmonia's father was African-Haitian and her mother was African-American and Mississauga (a branch of... more

African-American Sculptor: 1844 – 1907

Sapphic Artists: Ambrosia Tønnesen

Ambrosia Tønnesen

Ambrosia Tønnesen is regarded as Norway's first female professional sculptor. She studied first in Copenhagen and later in Berlin and then moved to Paris for 20 years. During her lifetime... more

Norwegian Sculptor: 1859 – 1948

Sapphic Artists: Malvina Hoffman

Malvina Hoffman

Malvina Hoffman is well known for her life-size bronze sculptures of people. Commissioned by the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History she created 104 bronze statues of... more

American Sculptor: 1885 – 1966

Sapphic Artists: Sigrid Blomberg

Sigrid Blomberg

Sigrid Blomberg studied sculpture at the Stockholm Art Academy, and furthered her studies in Dresden, Germany. In 1890 she was commissioned to sculpt an ... more

Swedish Sculptor: 1863 – 1941