Few art movements are as synonymous with the image of a paint-splattered male painter than abstract expressionism. Some of art history’s most radical masculine personalities emerged from the period, in which the physicality of the works echoed the ever-present “cult of manhood.” Female abstract expressionists adopted pseudonyms, positioning their work as genderless — often leading to deeply personal conflicts with their roles as women, artists, and occasionally, the wives of the movement’s most celebrated figures. Few were accepted into the circle of men, and most weren’t recognized until their deaths. Continuing our series about female artists, we revisit the work and careers of ten abstract expressionists whose contributions are essential to the movement and whose struggle for legitimacy paved the way for women in the arts.
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