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Women Impressionists Who Made a Name for Themselves

Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists

Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists

Impressionism is one of the most influential artistic movements in history because of the way it paved the way for contemporary art with its use of bold colours and gestural brushstrokes to express ephemeral moments in time via light, shadow, and colour. Since the beginning of recorded history, male artists have had sway over the art world, leading to the marginalisation or omission of numerous female Impressionists. We have included a selection of 10 well-known women Impressionists and some of their best-known works below.

Initiation into the World of the Women Impressionists

It was uncommon for French women to have access to higher education in the arts in the 19th century. Numerous societal limitations were placed on women. Housework and socialising with other women took up much of their time, and unmarried women were not permitted to go far from their houses, making it difficult for female painters to find inspiration in the natural world.

Women Impressionists, however, discovered a way to work within these constraints, producing works that probed the artists’ inner lives and conveyed revolutionary emotions.

List of Notable Women Impressionists and Their Works

Listed here are ten women who made significant contributions to the Impressionist movement in the 19th and early 20th century, along with examples of their work that capture fleeting colour and light in their own unique ways.

Top 100 Masterpieces – World’s Most Famous Paintings PDF

Bracquemond, Marie (1840 – 1916)

ArtistMarie Bracquemond
When the Artist Lived1840 – 1916
Nationality of the ArtistFrench
Where the Artist LivedFrance
Associated Art MovementsImpressionism

French painter Marie Bracquemond was mostly self-taught due to a lack of financial backing for her artistic pursuits. The artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres provided her with the little art training she got.

Bracquemond, however, quit his studio since he did not put much trust in female artists and gave them mainly portraits, fruit and flower still lifes, and genre painting assignments.

She became noted for her en plein air (outside) paintings of Paris and was invited to exhibit among the Impressionists. She had three exhibitions before her artist husband Félix Bracquemond pressured her into giving up painting.

Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Wikimedia Commons has an image of Marie Bracquemond from about the year 1880 by an Unknown author Unknown authorsource.

The Sèvres Terrace (Sur la terrasse à Sèvres) (1880) written by Marie Bracquemond

Date Completed1880
Dimensions (cm)87.9 x 114.3
MediumOil on canvas
Where It Is Currently HousedPetit Palais, Paris

A beautiful example of the Impressionist style, On the Terrace at Sèvres (Sur la terrasse à Sèvres) captures the changing light with quick, expressive brushstrokes, most notably in the trees and buildings in the distance. On a bright sunny day, three individuals are seen sitting together and looking in various directions. One of the ladies is staring straight ahead, while the other seems to be thinking quietly to herself.

It’s as though the characters in the picture are posing for the painter, giving the impression that the whole thing is staged.

Bracquemond has written a number of additional well-known pieces.

  • Self-Portrait (1870) (1870)
  • Women in hats: three of them (1880)
  • Artist’s Daughter and Sister in a Sevres Garden (1890)
Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Sur la terrasse à Sèvres (On the Terrace at Sèvres), 1880, by Marie Bracquemond (Public domain), through Wikimedia Commons

Berthe Morisot (1841 – 1895)

ArtistBerthe Morisot
When the Artist Lived1841 – 1895
Nationality of the ArtistFrench
Where the Artist LivedFrance
Associated Art MovementsRealism, Modern Art

Upon invitation from her brother-in-law Manet, French painter Berthe Morisot joined the ranks of the Impressionists. She broke new ground with her daring portrayals of private moments in the lives of contemporary Parisian women. She painted them with a lot of depth and character using loose, evocative brushstrokes. Her characters and settings are always mysterious and open to interpretation.

Despite Morisot’s success as an Impressionist and her repeated showings at the Salon in Paris, her male reviewers referred to her work as “charming” and “feminine,” rather than accord her the same status as their male peers.

Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Photograph of Berthe Morisot taken by Charles Reutlinger in 1875; Reutlinger, Charles, Public domain, through Wikimedia Commons

The Cradle (1872) by Berthe Morisot

Date Completed1872
Dimensions (cm)56 x 46
MediumOil on canvas
Where It Is Currently HousedMusée d’Orsay, Paris

One of Morisot’s most well-known works is titled “The Cradle,” and it depicts her sister Edma tending to her sleeping baby. She’s looking thoughtfully at her daughter, whose arm is bent in the same manner as her own, with her face resting on her palm.

Having the mother hold the net over the cradle, creating a hazy partition between the observer and the kid, adds to the painting’s feeling of closeness.

Other well-known pieces by Morisot include:

  • It’s a beautiful summer day (1879)
  • A Female User of the Bathroom (1880)
  • The Artist, His Daughter, and His Garden by Eugène Manet (1883)
Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
 Berthe Morisot,, The Cradle (1872), oil on canvas, public domain, Wikimedia Commons

Mary Cassatt (1844 – 1926)

ArtistMary Cassatt
When the Artist Lived1844 – 1926
Nationality of the ArtistAmerican
Where the Artist LivedAmerica, France
Associated Art MovementsModern art, American Impressionism

Mary Cassatt, an American painter, came from a privileged background that allowed her to pursue a formal art education. Before relocating in France and exhibiting her portraits at the Salon, she studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and then moved to Europe, where she trained with painters including Édouard Frère and Jean-Léon Gérôme. In 1877, Degas encouraged her to exhibit among the Impressionists, and she participated in four shows, rising to prominence as a portraitist and printer.

Even though Cassatt said she wasn’t cut out to be a wife and mother, many of her paintings feature mothers and their children.

Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Artist  Unknown author Unknown author, Mary Cassatt, 1914; Public domain, through Wikimedia Commons

The Boating Party (1893 – 1894) by Mary Cassatt

Date Completed1893 – 1894
Dimensions (cm)90 x 117.3
MediumOil on canvas
Where It Is Currently HousedNational Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The Boating Party by Mary Cassatt features two adult people as well as a baby sitting on a sailboat on the water. Part of the man’s face is obscured so that the focus remains squarely on the mother and kid. Most of our vision is taken up by the boat and people. The beach is positioned at the top of the composition, squashing the horizon and feeling of distance, while the man’s dark back confronts the observer, making the image seem flatter.

The picture’s minimalist colour scheme and flat, geometric patterns are reminiscent of Japanese art.

Other well-known pieces by Cassatt are:

  • One Blue Armchair and a Small Girl (1878)
  • Tea Time at 5 o’clock (1880)
  • A Mom Sitting With Her Child (1890)
Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Photo of Mary Cassatt‘s The Boating Party, ca. 1893–1894, from the public domain section of Wikimedia Commons

Lilla Cabot Perry (1848 – 1933)

ArtistLilla Cabot Perry
When the Artist Lived1848 – 1933
Nationality of the ArtistAmerican
Where the Artist LivedAmerica, France, Japan
Associated Art MovementsAmerican Impressionism

American painter Lilla Cabot Perry began her career following the birth of her third daughter. Her affluent background afforded her the opportunity to study in Paris.

While there, she was profoundly impacted by Claude Monet and the Impressionists, whose art she began collecting and advocating for upon her return to the United States.

Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Approximately 1889-1896, Lilla Cabot Perry, painted this self-portrait, which is now in the public domain and available through Wikimedia Commons.

Lady With a Bowl of Violets (1910) by Lilla Cabot Perry

Date Completed1910
Dimensions (cm)102.23 x 76.2
MediumOil on canvas
Where It Is Currently HousedNational Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

Lady with a Bowl of Violets exhibits Perry’s affinity for bright and strong brushwork. She painted it following her family’s return from Tokyo, and a Japanese woodblock print can be seen behind the subject’s head. Perry was also influenced by Japanese art and included parts of the style in her subsequent work.

The warm orange light from the fire on the left of the composition is reflected off of the woman’s skin and the white lace trim on her gown, which Perry expresses with large brushstrokes of paint to portray texture.

Some of Perry’s other renowned works include:

  • Open Air Concert (1890) (1890)
  • Giverny: A Young Girl Playing in the Lane (1907)
  • Fleshy Fruits from a Tree (1925)
Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Pictured is  Lilla Cabot Perry s “Lady with a Bowl of Violets,” completed in 1910. It is in the public domain and may be accessed via Wikimedia Commons.

Eva Gonzalès (1849 – 1883)

ArtistEva Gonzalès
When the Artist Lived1849 – 1883
Nationality of the ArtistFrench
Where the Artist LivedFrance
Associated Art MovementsImpressionism

French artist Eva Gonzalès painted in the Impressionist style although she never showed her work with the group. Gonzalès, like many French women, was barred from attending the École des Beaux-Arts. However, because to her affluent background, she was allowed to take private painting classes and eventually became Édouard Manet’s only official pupil.

Gonzalès was a master pastel painter who also painted still lifes, portraits, landscapes, and household situations.

While she never made it to Paris to show in the Salon, she did die away in 1883 having accomplished her lifelong ambition. The next year, in 1885, the Salon de la Vie Moderne included a retrospective of 90 paintings by Eva Gonzalès.

Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Pictured is Eva Gonzalès about the year 1870; artist Unknown Unknown . Upload and stitch by Tatesic. Photographed and edited by Tatesic and uploaded to the public domain repository Wikimedia Commons.

Scene from the Loge, Theatre of the Italians, by Eva Gonzalès, 1874

Time of Completion: 1874
Size (in centimetres): 98 x 130
Original medium: oil on canvas Present location: Musée d’Orsay

The Salon first turned down the offer of a Loge at the Théâtre des Italiens. Gonzalès revised and resubmitted the picture in 1879, and this time it was approved. Provocative for its period, the picture has since been widely praised for its boldness. Artist Henri Guérard, who subsequently married Jeanne Gonzalès, is seen in a theatre box with the artist’s sister. Jeanne leans forward and glances to the right as she watches the performance intently, while Guérard’s body turns to face her but his eyes appear to skip straight past her.

Perhaps what made a sensation when the painting was first created was the characters’ seeming indifference to one another.

Other well-known works by Gonzalès include:

  • An Infant and Her Nanny (1877-1878)
  • Woke Up Feminine (1877-1778)
  • Taking Your Books to the Woods (1880)
Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Image by Eva Gonzalèss, titled “A Loge at the Théâtre des Italiens” (1874), available in the public domain through Wikimedia Commons.

Cecilia Beaux (1855 – 1942)

  • Cecilia Beaux, an artist
  • The Years of the Artist’s Life, 1855-1942
  • Artist’s Home Country: United States
  • America, Home of the Artist

Groups of Artists in the Impressionist Style
An American by birth, Cecilia Beaux was in high demand from notable clients like Georges Clemenceau and Theodore Roosevelt due to her portraits’ academic approach blended with an experimental nature. Her photographs were sombre, yet they nevertheless managed to capture the subject’s unique character.

She left for Paris in the height of the Impressionist era to attend classes at the Académie Julian. There, she picked up techniques for painting outdoors with more impressionistic brushwork.

Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Cecilia Beaux, c. 1888; Unknown author Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Cecilia Beaux, Twilight Confidences (1888)

  • Year Finished: 1888
  • Measurements (in centimetres): 59.7 by 71.1 inches (Medium)
  • An oil painting

Currently, It Can Be Found At

The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the beautiful city of Athens.
Two ladies from the Brittany coastal hamlet of Concarneau are seen in Twilight Confidences. They are dressed in the traditional garb of the region, including the wing-shaped hats and white collars. Beaux renders the gentle, radiant sunlight on their skin while capturing the crispness of their headdresses.

The softness of the composition comes from the seascape in the backdrop, which is not as detailed as the humans.

Other well-known works by Beaux are:

  • The Last Days of Childhood (1883-1885)
  • The Dorothea of the Forest (1897)
  • Self-Portrait (1894) (1894)
Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
The Twilight Confidences, 1888, by  Cecilia Beaux,; Cecilia Beaux, Public domain, through Wikimedia Commons.

Catherine Louise Breslau (1856 – 1927)

  • Breslau, Louise Catherine, Artist
  • Years of the Artist’s Life, 1856-1927
  • Artist’s Dual German-Swiss Citizenship
  • Location of the Artist’s Home
  • Three European Powers: Switzerland, Germany, and France

Groups of Artists in the Impressionist Style

Swiss-born artist Louise Catherine Breslau was born in Germany. When she was a little girl, she turned to painting to keep herself occupied when she was bedridden with asthma; this pastime quickly grew into a serious interest, and she eventually went on to study in Paris. She eventually got the opportunity to display a self-portrait at the Salon, and her subsequent works were shown there on a regular basis.

Breslau’s approach was loose and reminiscent of a sketch, and she often worked outdoors. Many people wanted her to paint their portraits, so she set up shop as a professional portrait artist.

Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Photograph of Louise Catherine Breslau working in her studio, 1912; courtesy Agence Rol Public domain, through Wikimedia Commons

In her 1898 work La Toilette, Louise Catherine Breslau

  • It was finished in 1898.
  • Location: Private Estate Size (cm): 62.9 x 65.4 Medium: Oil on canvas

Breslau’s skill in capturing the nuanced expressions on a person’s face is on full display in La Toilette, as is her striated approach to painting. The subject’s back is turned to the spectator as she turns to her left to look at someone in the mirror’s reflection. Her dress and the tablecloth are both depicted with gentle brushstrokes in pastel colours to convey a sense of gentleness.

Her own reflection seems to be the source of the light that illuminates her skin.

Other well-known works by Breslau include:

  • Portrait of Yves sterlind as a Young Boy (Age 9) from an Art History Course (1901)
  • Innocent Girl Sitting at the Window and Reading (1912)
  • Artistic Collaboration Between the Model and the Artist (1921)
Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
La Toilette (1898) by Louise Catherine Breslau; Louise Catherine Breslau, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Ana Ancher (1859 – 1935)

  • Time Period of the Artist Anna Ancher, 1859-1935
  • Artist’s Danish nationality; his or her residence was in Denmark; related artistic currents
  • Conceptual Art, Post-War Realism

Danish painter Anna Ancher was a true artistic genius. There was a group of artists in northern Denmark called the Skagen Painters who were influenced by the French Impressionists, and she was a part of that group. Plein air painting was Ancher’s favourite way to capture the beauty and character of the Skagen landscape and its inhabitants.

Light and colour were major themes in her paintings.

Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
The Royal Library, Denmark, Denmark, public domain, through Wikimedia Commons, has a pre-Prohibition era portrait of Anna Ancher.

Authored by Anna Ancher in 1902, “Srg” means “Grief.”

  • Completion Year: 1902
  • The current home of this oil on canvas masterpiece is the Skagens Museum; its dimensions are 86.3 by 73.8 centimetres.

The piece of art known as Srg received a lot of appreciation. It’s an unusual photo of a naked lady genuflecting before a funeral cross, with an elderly woman in black genuflecting beside her. This might be a metaphor for her life as a devout lady amid the freewheeling Skagen culture.

Another interpretation of the two figures is that they depict the reunion of a mother and a deceased daughter.

Books by Ancher that are also well-known:

Death and a Funeral (1891)
1891’s Solskin I den bl stue (Sunlight in the Blue Room) Harvesters (1905)

Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Sadness (1902) by Anna Ancher; Anna Ancher,; Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

A. Muntz Lyall, Laura (1860 – 1930)


  • A. Muntz Lyall, Laura
  • The Years 1860-1930 When the Artist Was Active
  • Artist is a Canadian who lived in England and Canada.
  • Related Artistic Developments

Painting style popularised in the United States during the Impressionist era

English-born artist Laura Muntz Lyall moved to Canada with her family when she was young. She began her career as a teacher before deciding to follow her true calling and enrolling in the Académie Colarossi in Paris. After years of hard work, she is now recognised as a leading artist with exhibitions in Ontario, Chicago, and Paris.

Lyall’s unique take on Impressionism may be seen in the way she employs dim lighting and a plethora of colours.

Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Before 1931 by Laura Muntz Lyall; Author See page for author available at no cost on Wikimedia Commons

Laura Muntz Lyall’s “Young Girl in a Garden” (1900)

It is now housed in a private collection and was completed in the year 1900. Its dimensions are 45 by 55 centimetres, and the medium is oil on canvas.

Artistically, Laura Muntz Lyall is most well-known for her paintings of women and children, which often include a rosy glow. Her work, Young Girl in a Garden, has a kid resting in the shade against a backdrop of plants that seem like Nasturtiums, and exemplifies this layered colour palette.

The rosy skin of the kid is complemented by the bright colours of the flowers and the contrast between the green leaves and the red and orange ones.

Lyall has written a number of additional well-known pieces.

  • The One Who Is Keeping Tabs (1894)
  • Fascinating Account (1898)
  • The Daffodil (1910)
Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Interesting Story (1898) by Laura Muntz Lyall; Laura Muntz Lyall, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Dame Petrovich (1873 – 1915)

  • Nadezda Petrovi is a Serbian artist.
  • During the Artist’s Lifetime, 1873-1915
  • The artist is a Serbian national who has lived in both Serbia and Germany.
  • Connected Artistic Fauvism

During the Balkan Wars, Serbia’s most prominent female Impressionist painter and a prominent combat photographer, Nadeda Petrovi, made her mark. Before going to art school in Munich, Germany, she taught at the Women’s School of Higher Education. Petrovi introduced a more contemporary style to Serbian painting with his bold use of colour, thick application of paint, and vigorous brushwork.

Her dramatic method and daring aesthetic have been likened to Expressionism and Fauvism.

Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Image of Nadejda Petrovi from 1909, by an Anonymous Unknown author (public domain) from Wikimedia Commons.

Nadezda Petrovi’s Ksenija Atanasijevi (1912)

  • Achieved in 1912
    17 by 22.4 centimetres (medium)
    Paint on cardboard
  • Current Storage Location

Collection of Works Honoring Pavle Beljanski, Housed in Novi Sad, Serbia
Ksenija Atanasijevi, a professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Philosophy who has taught in Geneva, Paris, and Belgrade, is shown in one of Petrovi’s most well-known works. She was an early feminist and the first woman in Serbia to get a doctoral degree.

Petrovi painted her when she was 16; the painting shows her standing in the snow while wearing all black and a large black hat.

Popular works by Petrovi include:

  • The Swirl (1902)
  • Painting of Petrovi as a Self (1907)
  • Outlying Area of Belgrade (1908)
Famous Women Impressionists – Notable Female Impressionists
Nadeda Petrovi’s Ksenija Atanasijevi from 1912 is part of the public domain and freely available on Wikimedia Commons as part of the  Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection Memorial Collection.

In conclusion, Impressionism’s rejection of traditional subject matter and embrace of modernism had a significant effect on the art world and impacted subsequent trends. Although they were ahead of their time, the art world nevertheless passed over women who had made substantial contributions to the field, and we are still fighting to rewrite art history today. If this article has piqued your interest in the work of notable female Impressionists, we strongly suggest reading more about them and seeing more of their works.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Define Impressionism?

The Impressionist painting style of the late 19th and early 20th century, which originated mostly in France, is distinguished by its use of vivid colours and gestural brushstrokes to capture the fleeting effects of light and colour in the scenes it depicts. The resulting artwork was a representation of the artist’s perception of the subject matter at the time. The Impressionists depicted common activities and situations, such as conversations, dances, and garden sitings. Rather of utilising black lines, they employed colour instead to create definition and shadow.

To What Topics Did Female Impressionists Devote Their Art?

Artistic freedom for men in the 19th century meant that they could depict more lively settings, while women were restricted to more sedate subjects. So, a female Impressionist painter would often depict home and interior settings, as well as portraits, still lifes, and landscapes.

Who are the two key woman artist of the Impressionist movement?

Both Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot were highly regarded members of the Impressionist group.

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