Women Artists

Artsy Advent Calendar: 24 Women Artists to Know

Isla Phillips-Ewen 1 December 2022 min Read

With the festive season approaching, we want to present an advent calendar with 24 women artists to know before Christmas! Explore an array of amazing artists right here, or go further and read the in-depth articles that have helpfully been collated. This is a random and riveting listicle feast for your eyes.

December 1: Pacita Abad

Pacita Abad (1946-2004) was a painter from the Philippines best known for her trapunto paintings, a form of quilting and stitching canvasses.

European Mask 1990 by Pacita Abad 1946-2004

Artsy Advent Calendar: Pacita Abad, European Mask, 1990, Tate, London, UK.

December 2: Mary Blair

Mary Blair (1911-1978) was an American artist, animator, and designer. She was prominent in helping with the concept for many Disney films.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Mary Blair, Cinderella, 1950,

Artsy Advent Calendar: Mary Blair, Cinderella, 1950, Concept art, gouache on board, The Wallace Collection, London, UK. © Disney.

December 3: Tracey Emin

British artist Tracey Emin (b. 1963) is a contemporary British artist who now lives in Margate, Kent. Her artwork is often autobiographical and confessional. Her most famous and controversial work depicted a messy bed.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Tracey Emin, This Was The Beginning, 2020, White Cube Gallery

Artsy Advent Calendar: Tracey Emin, This Was The Beginning, 2020, White Cube Gallery, London, UK.

December 4: Helen Frankenthaler

The Abstract Expressionist Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) is not just known for her postwar American paintings but also for her use of woodblock printing and other innovative techniques.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Helen Frankenthaler, Madame Butterfly, 2000. Courtesy of Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / ARS, NY and DACS, London / Tyler Graphic Ltd., Mount Kisco, New York.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Helen Frankenthaler, Madame Butterfly, 2000. Courtesy of Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / ARS, NY and DACS, London / Tyler Graphic Ltd., Mount Kisco, New York.

December 5: Giovanna Garzoni

Giovanna Garzoni (1600-1670) was an Italian Baroque painter who specialized in small but detailed still-life paintings.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Giovanna Garzoni, Still Life with Cherries, Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy. Detail.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Giovanna Garzoni, Still Life with Cherries, Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy. Detail.

December 6: Maggi Hambling

Maggi Hambling (b. 1945) is a British artist known mainly for paintings but also for (controversial) public sculptures. These include her Scallop at Aldeburgh Beach, Conversation with Oscar Wilde, and her divisive tribute to Mary Wollstonecraft.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Maggi Hambling, A Sculpture For Mary Wollstonecraft, Newington Green in Islington, north London, UK. BBC.

December 7: María Izquierdo

María Izquierdo (1902-1955) was the first ever Mexican woman to have her artworks shown in America. Her paintings often respond to political issues and ideas surrounding Mexican identity.

Artsy Advent Calendar: María Izquierdo, Viernes de Dolores, 1944–55, Blaisten Museum,  Mexico City, Mexico. 

Artsy Advent Calendar: María Izquierdo, Viernes de Dolores, 1944–55, Blaisten Museum, Mexico City, Mexico.

December 8: Ewa Juszkiewicz

The painter Ewa Juszkiewicz (b. 1984) is considered one of the best-known contemporary Polish artists. Faceless female portraits are her signature and she often reimagines famous existing portraiture in strange and unexpected ways.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Ewa Juszkiewicz, Portrait of a lady, 2013

Artsy Advent Calendar: Ewa Juszkiewicz, Portrait of a lady, 2013, private collection. Artist’s website.

December 9: Yayoi Kusama

The world-famous Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) is known for polka dots: in paintings, sculptures, and in exhibition spaces. You might also recognize her work in giant polka-dotted pumpkins.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Yayoi Kusama, All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016

Artsy Advent Calendar: Yayoi Kusama, All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo Singapore and Victoria Miro, London. Photographed by Thierry Bal.

December 10: Edmonia Lewis

The sculptor Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907) has the nickname “Wildfire.” She was the first African American and Native American sculptor to gain international renown. She incorporates themes relating to her ethnicity in her Neoclassical sculptures.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Edmonia Lewis, Hiawatha's Marriage, 1871, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH, USA.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Edmonia Lewis, Hiawatha’s Marriage, 1871, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH, USA. WikiArt.

December 11: Nalini Malani

Nalini Malani (b. 1946) is seen as India’s first generation of video artists. Her artworks are often conceived as a political protest in relation to injustices against women.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Nalini Malani, Mother India: Transactions in the Construction of Pain, video installation, 5 Projections, 5 1/2 mins, 2005, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA.

December 12: Alice Neel

The American painter Alice Neel (1900-1984) was famous for her genuine portraits. Her style brilliantly depicted the emotional and psychological intensity of the sitter.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Alice Neel, Pregnant Woman, 1971, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Alice Neel, Pregnant Woman, 1971, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA.

December 13: Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) was an American painter well known for her blown-up depictions of flowers. O’Keeffe has been named the “Mother of American Modernism.”

Artsy Advent Calendar: Georgia O’Keeffe, Red Cannas, 1927, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX, USA.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Georgia O’Keeffe, Red Cannas, 1927, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX, USA.

December 14: Pan Yuliang

Pan Yuliang (1895-1977) was a renowned painter and the first Chinese female artist to paint in Western style. She lived roughly half her life in China and the other half in Paris.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Pan Yuliang, Self Portrait, 1964, private collection. Sunny Art Centre.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Pan Yuliang, Self Portrait, 1964, private collection. Sunny Art Centre.

December 15: Christina Quarles

Christina Quarles (b. 1985) is a queer Los Angeles-based artist whose paintings question assumptions about racial and gender identities.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Christina Quarles, It's Hardly Sink Or Swim, 2019, private collection. Artsy.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Christina Quarles, It’s Hardly Sink Or Swim, 2019, private collection. Artsy.

December 16: Fiona Rae

Fiona Rae RA (b. 1963) is a Hong Kong-born British artist associated with the YBAs (Young British Artists). Rae’s oeuvre is characterized by her complex humor and restless energy.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Fiona Rae, Wonderland, 2004, Essl Collection of Contemporary Art, Austria. 

Artsy Advent Calendar: Fiona Rae, Wonderland, 2004, Essl Collection of Contemporary Art, Austria.

December 17: Nōguchi Shōhin

Japanese painter Nōguchi Shōhin (1847-1917) lived through both the Edo and Meiji eras. Shōhin was born in Osaka and started painting at a young age.

Noguchi Shōhin, The Gathering at the Orchid Pavillion, Screen, c.1895-1905, Art Institute Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Noguchi Shōhin, The Gathering at the Orchid Pavilion, Screen, c. 1895-1905, Art Institute Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.

December 18: Dorothea Tanning

Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012) was an American painter, printmaker, sculptor, writer, and poet. She was a Surrealist artist involved in a relationship with a fellow Surrealist, Max Ernst.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Dorothea Tanning, Birthday, 1942, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Dorothea Tanning, Birthday, 1942, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

December 19: Doris Ulmann

American photographer, Doris Ulmann (1882-1934), specialized in portraits of the people of Appalachia. Her work documents their life and culture.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Doris Ulmann, Woman Ploughing Field, International Center of Photography, New York, NY, USA.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Doris Ulmann, Woman Ploughing Field, International Center of Photography, New York, NY, USA.

December 20: Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842) was a French royal portrait painter at the service of Queen Marie Antoinette. Her style is associated with Rococo and Neoclassicism.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Self Portrait in a Straw Hat, 1782, National Gallery, London, UK.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Self Portrait in a Straw Hat, 1782, National Gallery, London, UK.

December 21: Kara Walker

Kara Walker (b. 1969) is an American multidisciplinary artist. Her room-size tableaux of black cut-paper silhouettes belong to her most famous artworks. In 2019, Walker took over Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall for the 5th annual Hyundai Commission with a monumental fountain Fons Americanus.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Kara Walker, Fons Americanus, 2019, Tate Modern, London, UK. Flickr.

December 22: Flora Yukhnovich

Contemporary British painter Flora Yukhnovich (b. 1990) puts a modern spin on the Rococo style. In the painting below, the title refers to the film When Harry Met Sally and it clearly evokes the styles of Jean Honore Fragonard and of Francois Boucher.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Flora Yukhnovich, I’ll Have What She’s Having, 2020

Artsy Advent Calendar: Flora Yukhnovich, I’ll Have What She’s Having, 2020, private collection. Artsy.

December 23: Portia Zvavahera

Zimbabwean painter Portia Zvavahera (b. 1985) incorporates block printing with oil painting. At the 2022 Venice Biennale, her expressive and rich works were on display at her country’s pavilion.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Portia Zvavahera, Zvandakaoneswa (What I was made to see), 2021, private collection. Artsy.

December 24: Chila Kumari Singh Burman

Chila Kumari Singh Burman (b. 1957) is an amazing British multidisciplinary artist. This amazing artwork presented below was a stunning technicolor installation for Tate Britain’s iconic winter façade in 2020. The commission references mythology, Bollywood, radical feminism, activism, and personal memories.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Chila Kumari Singh Burman, Tate Winter Commission, 2020, London, UK. Museum's website.

Artsy Advent Calendar: Chila Kumari Singh Burman, Tate Winter Commission, 2020, London, UK. Museum’s website.

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