Women artists currently make up just 1% of the National Gallery collection in London. This same museum only staged their first major solo exhibition by a historic female artist, Artemisia Gentileschi, in 2020, while 2023 will mark the first time the Royal Academy of Arts has ever hosted a solo exhibition by a woman in their main space (Marina Abramović).
In her new book, curator and art historian Katy Hessel challenges the canon as we know it and showcases the female and gender non-conformist artists who are so often excluded from the history books. Hessel shines a spotlight on the glittering paintings of Sofonisba Anguissola of the Renaissance, the radical work of Harriet Powers in the nineteenth-century US, the astonishing work of post-war artists in Latin America and the women artists defining art in the 2020s.
From the Cornish coast to Manhattan, Nigeria to Japan, The Story of Art Without Men is the history of art as it’s never been told before.
Katy Hessel is an art historian, broadcaster and curator dedicated to celebrating women artists from all over the world. In 2015, Katy founded an Instagram account called @thegreatwomenartists, which has grown to almost 300,000 followers, and hosts a podcast of the same name with over 1.5 million listens.
“It’s a long way before the balance is truly redressed but this is a good start.” Tracey Emin
“Katy Hessel is a brilliant chronicler of the overlooked. I am so thrilled this book exists as an empowering, enlightening guide to the unforgettable vision of these brilliant artists. Essential reading.” Elizabeth Day
“I was not aware how hungry I was for this book until I dropped everything and ate it from cover to cover. I was not aware how angry I was that this book did not exist until it existed. It’s an urgently needed, un-put-downable, joyful, insightful, glorious, perspective-shifting revision of the Story of Art.” Es Devlin
“In this astounding, generous book, Katy Hessel has given us such a gift. Her research is profound, scholarly and wide-ranging, her writing authoritative yet accessible. I found so much to surprise and delight in these pages, so many works of art pulsating with life and intelligence, beauty and power. An astonishing achievement.” Jessie Burton