Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order)

Iconic Women Artists

Lisa Congdon’s wistful portraits celebrate Kara Walker, Louise Bourgeois and more.

Historically, major women artists have been excluded from the mainstream art canon. Aligned with the resurgence of feminism in pop culture, Broad Strokes offers an entertaining corrective to that omission. Art historian Bridget Quinn delves into the lives and careers of 15 brilliant female artists in text that’s smart, feisty, educational, and an enjoyable read. Replete with beautiful reproductions of the artists’ works and contemporary portraits of each artist by renowned illustrator Lisa Congdon, this is art history from 1600 to the present day for the modern art lover, reader, and feminist.


Agnes Martin


The artist was a loner and self-critical taskmaster who worked hard to stay positive. “I believe in living above the line,” Martin said. “And above the line is happiness and love.” Martin’s serene, linear paintings have found a symbiotic home inside the iconic gentle coils of the Guggenheim, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  In the cacophony of current events, Martin’s work is a must-see.


Above, a video introduction to the artist from the Guggenheim Museum.  Although the installation has now closed, it’s a reminder of her work and constant striving to “live above the line.”