Ingenious women.
Women Artists and their Companions
14.10.2023 — 28.1.2024

Angelika Kauffmann: Klio, Muse der Geschichtsschreibung, um 1770/75 Schaezlerpalais – Deutsche Barockgalerie, Kunstsammlungen und Museen Augsburg © Kunstsammlungen und Museen Augsburg, Foto: Andreas Brücklmair
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Ingenious women.
Women Artists and their Companions

14.10.2023 — 28.1.2024

With the exhibition Ingenious Women. Women Artists and their Companions, the Bucerius Kunst Forum traces the careers of outstanding women artists from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. For the first time, the family context in which the women artists pursued their careers is addressed and made visible through juxtaposition with works by their fathers, brothers, husbands and fellow painters. Today often forgotten, female artists of their time were able to achieve extraordinary success in a wide variety of family constellations: They became court painters, teachers, entrepreneurs, and even publishers and were awarded the highest honours.

The exhibition presents around 30 women artists and 150 works, by artists including works by Sofonisba Anguissola, Judith Leyster, Marietta Robusti (Tintoretto's daughter) and Angelika Kauffmann. Masterful portraits, still lifes and historical scenes in painting, drawing and prints from all over Europe, ranging from the Renaissance and Baroque periods to early Neoclassicism will be brought together in Hamburg. For the first time, works by women artists will be juxtaposed with those of their male colleagues in such a pointed way that both formal and stylistic similarities and differences will come to the fore.

In the early modern period its was not altogether impossible for women to pursue a career as an artist, but it was definitely outside the norm and therefore always subject to special challenges. Anyone wishing to practise a freelance profession had to join a guild, but some regions denied membership to women, and in others it entailed considerable hurdles and costs. A conspicuous number of women artists of this period came from or married into artistic families. They worked for their fathers, brothers, and husbands, and often in secret. At the royal courts of Europe, the situation was different: with an open mind to artistic achievement  – regardless of origin or gender – women were able to work openly as artists at court. Women artists such as Lavinia Fontana, Anna Dorothea Therbusch, and Rachel Ruysch asserted themselves in their time against social norms captured the attention and earned the esteem of their contemporaries. The fact that they fell into oblivion is also due to the history of art scholarship, in which a male gaze dominated until the advanced twentieth century.

The exhibition shows the unique careers of these pioneering women artists and offers new insights into their lives and work, as well as thought-impulses on contemporary issues such as equality and the reconciliation of work and family

The exhibition will subsequently be shown at the Kunstmuseum Basel, from 2 March to 30 June 2024.

Buy your Early Bird ticket now and get discounted admission to the exhibition!


The exhibition is sponsored by


daily 11:00 am — 7:00 pm
thursday 11:00 am — 9:00 pm

Ticket info 
Adults: 12 Euro
Reduced: 6 Euro
Tuesdays (except holidays): 6 Euro


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