Three Avant-Garde Women Artists Worth Knowing

Painters who saw the world their own way

Christopher P Jones
8 min readApr 28, 2024


Harvesters (1905) by Anna Ancher. Oil on canvas. 56.2 × 43.4 cm. Skagens Museum, Denmark. Image source Wikipedia

There’s nothing more exciting than coming across artists whose work you’ve never seen before, especially when your attention is so thoroughly grabbed.

I had this recently with a trio of lesser-known painters whose works are only just finding the wider audience they deserve.

Despite hailing from different parts of the globe, Anna Ancher, Dora Carrington and Natalia Goncharova defied the same societal expectations and entrenched gender roles to pursue their creative calling, producing works that possess both visceral and progressive qualities.

By shining a light on their lives and a selection of their paintings, I hope to reveal why they should be regarded as artists of pioneering significance.

Anna Ancher

The maid in the kitchen (1883–86) by Anna Ancher. Oil on canvas. 87.7 × 68.5 cm. Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark. Image source Wikimedia Commons

Anna Ancher is rightly considered one of Denmark’s greatest painters.

A piece like The maid in the kitchen (1883–86) justifies the claim: a “realist” genre scene in a domestic setting, the painting is elevated by an astute description of sunlight coming in through the window…