Culture The Best Female Painters of All Time  

Ranker Art
320 votes 68 voters 47 items

List Rules Vote up the women you think are the best in the field.

While Picasso and Van Gogh are pretty much household names, many famous female painters have not achieved the same level of worldwide fame. Due to historical suppression and gender bias in the art world, sadly a lot of women painters go unrecognized during their lifetime and beyond. However - with the recent presence of artists like Frida Kahlo in pop culture - there is a newfound interest in all those women who made a big impact on the art world. Who are the best female painters of all time? Help decide below! 

There are plenty of famous female painters of the 21st century that are still churning out new work. Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, for example, is a jack of all trades visual artist who works not only in painting but in installation, sculpture, and fashion. There are also historic female painters, like Mary Beale and Clara Peeters, whose work is now being recognized more than ever. From contemporary painters to historic artists, you'll find some great women artists below. Vote the best female painters to the top of the list! 

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Frida Kahlo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Frida Kahlo Frida Kahlo de Rivera was a Mexican painter who is best known for her self-portraits. Kahlo's life began and ended in Mexico City, in her home known as the Blue House. Her work has been ...more

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Georgia O'Keeffe is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Georgia O'Keeffe Georgia Totto O'Keeffe was an American artist. Born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, O'Keeffe first came to the attention of the New York art community in 1916. She is best known for her paintings ...more

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Agnes Martin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Agnes Martin Agnes Bernice Martin was an American abstract painter. Often referred to as a minimalist, Martin considered herself an abstract expressionist. She was awarded a National Medal of Arts from the ...more

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Louise Bourgeois is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Louise Bourgeois Louise Joséphine Bourgeois, was a French-American artist and sculptor. She was an influential figure in modern and contemporary art, and among her works of art were large spider ...more

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Helen Frankenthaler is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Helen Frankenthaler Helen Frankenthaler was an American abstract expressionist painter. She was a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. Having exhibited her work for over six decades, she ...more

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Yayoi Kusama is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Yayoi Kusama Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist and writer. Throughout her career she has worked in a wide variety of media, including painting, collage, sculpture, performance art, and environmental ...more

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Joan Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Joan Mitchell Joan Mitchell was a "second generation" abstract expressionist painter and printmaker. She was an essential member of the American Abstract expressionist movement, even though much of ...more

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Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun born in Paris, also known as Madame Lebrun, was a French painter, and is recognized as the most important female painter of the 18th century. Her ...more

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Mary Beale is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Mary Beale Mary Beale was an English portrait painter. She became one of the most important portrait painters of 17th-century England, and has been described as the first professional female English

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Berthe Morisot is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Berthe Morisot Berthe Marie Pauline Morisot was a painter and a member of the circle of painters in Paris who became known as the Impressionists. She was described by Gustave Geffroy in 1894 as one of ...more

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Mary Cassatt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Mary Cassatt Toward the end of the 1800s, Cassatt purchased paintings from young impressionists and encouraged others of wealth to do so in order to support the movement.

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Tamara de Lempicka is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Tamara de Lempicka Tamara Łempicka, commonly known as Tamara de Lempicka was a Polish Art Deco painter and "the first woman artist to be a glamour star". Influenced by Cubism, Lempicka became the leading ...more

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Lee Krasner is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Lee Krasner Lee Krasner appeared in Jackson Pollock film.

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Clara Peeters is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Clara Peeters Clara Peeters was a still-life painter of the Flemish school in the early seventeenth century.

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Elizabeth Peyton is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Elizabeth Peyton Elizabeth Joy Peyton is an American painter who rose to popularity in the mid-1990s. She is a contemporary artist best known for stylized and idealized portraits of her close friends and ...more

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Judy Chicago is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Judy Chicago Judy Chicago is an American feminist artist, art educator, and writer known for her large collaborative art installation pieces which examine the role of women in history and culture. Born in ...more

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Adrian Piper is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Adrian Piper Adrian Margaret Smith Piper is an American conceptual artist and philosopher. Her work addresses ostracism, otherness, racial "passing," and racism. She attended the School of Visual ...more

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Lavinia Fontana is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Lavinia Fontana Lavinia Fontana was an Italian painter. She is regarded as the first woman artist, working within the same sphere as her male counterparts, outside a court or convent. She was the first woman ...more

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Marie-Denise Villers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Marie-Denise Villers Marie-Denise Villers was a French painter, who specialized in portraits.

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Marie Bashkirtseff is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Marie Bashkirtseff Marie Bashkirtseff; was a Ukrainian diarist, painter and sculptor.

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Bridget Riley is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Bridget Riley Bridget Louise Riley CH CBE is an English painter who is one of the foremost exponents of op art. She currently lives and works in London, Cornwall and the Vaucluse in France.

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Adélaïde Labille-Guiard is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, also known as Adélaïde Labille-Guiard des Vertus, was a French miniaturist and portrait painter.

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Kara Walker is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Kara Walker Kara Walker appeared in the 2009 documentary film The Black List: Volume Two.

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Julie Mehretu is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Julie Mehretu Julie Mehretu is an artist, best known for her densely layered abstract paintings and prints. She lives and works in New York City. Mehretu shares her New York studio with her partner, the ...more

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Elaine Sturtevant is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Elaine Sturtevant Elaine Frances Sturtevant, also known simply as "Sturtevant", was an American artist. She achieved recognition for her carefully inexact repetitions of other artists' works that ...more

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Cecily Brown is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Cecily Brown Cecily Brown is a British painter. Her style displays the influence of a variety of painters, from Francisco de Goya, Willem de Kooning, Francis Bacon and Joan Mitchell, to Old Masters like ...more

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Marlene Dumas is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Marlene Dumas Marlene Dumas is a South African born artist and painter who lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In the past Dumas produced paintings, collages, drawings, prints and installations. ...more

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Artemisia Gentileschi is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Artemisia Gentileschi Artemisia Gentileschi was an Italian Baroque painter, today considered one of the most accomplished painters in the generation following that of Caravaggio. In an era when women painters were ...more

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Vanessa Bell is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Vanessa Bell Vanessa Bell was an English painter and interior designer, a member of the Bloomsbury group, and the sister of Virginia Woolf.

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Vija Celmins is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Vija Celmins Vija Celmins is an important Latvian-American visual artist best known for photo-realistic paintings and drawings of natural environments and phenomena such as the ocean, spider webs, star ...more

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Judith Leyster is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Judith Leyster Judith Jans Leyster was a Dutch Golden Age painter. Leyster painted genre works, portraits, and still lifes. Her entire oeuvre was attributed to Frans Hals until 1893, when Hofstede de Groot ...more

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Leonora Carrington is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Leonora Carrington Leonora Carrington OBE was a British-born Mexican artist, surrealist painter, and novelist. She lived most of her adult life in Mexico City, and was one of the last surviving participants in the ...more

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Paula Modersohn-Becker is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Paula Modersohn-Becker Paula Modersohn-Becker was a German painter and one of the most important representatives of early expressionism. In a brief career, cut short by an embolism at the age of 31, she created a ...more

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Lois Dodd is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Lois Dodd Lois Dodd is an American painter.

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Esther Inglis is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Esther Inglis Esther Inglis was a skilled member of the artisan class, as well as a miniaturist, who possessed several skills in areas such as calligraphy, writing, and embroidering. She was born in 1571 in ...more

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Jenny Saville is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Jenny Saville Jenny Saville is a contemporary British painter and associated with the Young British Artists. She is known for her large-scale painted depictions of nude women. Saville works and lives in ...more

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Angelica Kauffman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Angelica Kauffman Angelica Kauffman, RA was a Swiss-born Austrian Neoclassical painter who had a successful career in London and Rome. Though born as "Kauffmann", Kauffman is the preferred spelling of ...more

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Frances MacDonald is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Frances MacDonald Frances MacDonald was a Scottish artist whose design work was a prominent feature of the "Glasgow Style" during the 1890s. The sister of better known artist Margaret MacDonald, she was ...more

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Etel Adnan is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Etel Adnan Etel Adnan is a Lebanese-American poet, essayist, and visual artist. In 2003 MELUS, the journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, called Adnan ...more

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Florine Stettheimer is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Florine Stettheimer Florine Stettheimer was an American painter, designer, and poet. Stettheimer preferred to restrict showing her work to a more private audience as opposed to exhibiting publicly. With her ...more

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Aleksandra Ekster is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Aleksandra Ekster Aleksandra Aleksandrovna Ekster, also known as Alexandra Exter, was a Russian-French painter and designer.

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Rosa Bonheur is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Rosa Bonheur Rosa Bonheur, born Marie-Rosalie Bonheur, was a French animalière, realist artist, and sculptor. As a painter she became famous primarily for two chief works: Ploughing in the Nivernais, ...more

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Elizabeth Catlett is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Elizabeth Catlett Elizabeth Catlett was an African-American graphic artist and sculptor best known for her depictions of the African-American experience in the 20th century, which often had the female experience ...more

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Cecilia Beaux is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Cecilia Beaux Cecilia Beaux was an American society portraitist, in the manner of John Singer Sargent. She was a near-contemporary of American artist Mary Cassatt and also received her training in ...more

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Ida Applebroog is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Ida Applebroog Ida Applebroog is an American painter currently living and working in New York. Since the 1970s Applebroog has been known for creating paintings, sculptures, artists' books and several films ...more

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Amy Sillman is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Amy Sillman Amy Sillman is an American painter. Her artistic practice also includes drawings, cartoons, collage, iPhone video, and zines. She lives with her dog Omar in Brooklyn, where she also maintains a ...more

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Fede Galizia is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Female Painters of All Time
Fede Galizia Fede Galizia was an Italian Renaissance painter, a pioneer of the still life genre.