Alma Thomas, Ruth Kainen's Amaryllis, 1976

Women and Abstraction: 1741–Now

Jan. 28, 2023 to
Jul. 30, 2023
Comprised almost entirely of works from the collection, this exhibition explores how women have deployed the visual language and universal formal concerns of abstraction—color, line, form, shape, contrast, pattern, and texture—to create works of art across a wide variety of media (including paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, ceramics, textiles) from the 18th century to the present day.

The important work done over the past decades to illuminate the contributions of historically marginalized and overlooked women has largely concentrated on white painters associated with the postwar, 20th-century New York school’s abstract expressionism. While Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, and others among their contemporaries have rightfully been ensconced in the pantheon of great American abstract artists, many more—from all periods—remain neglected by scholars and museums alike. This exhibition proposes a different way of looking at abstraction in American art. 

Drawn almost entirely from the permanent collection, Women and Abstraction: 1741–Now is not a comprehensive survey. Instead, this installation takes advantage of the Addison’s deep holdings to explore a more nuanced and expansive history of the development of abstraction in America. Through the inclusion of works created hundreds of years before the advent of abstract expressionism as well as objects historically denied the status of fine art, this exhibition explores how women have deployed the visual language and universal formal concerns of abstraction—color, line, form, shape, contrast, pattern, and texture—to create works of art across a wide variety of media (including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, ceramics, and textiles) from the 18th century to the present day. Rejecting chronology, hierarchies of medium, and the restrictive definitions of art movements, Women and Abstraction invites the viewer to draw aesthetic connections across seemingly disparate objects, complicating ingrained notions of what abstraction is and is not.

Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by the Mollie Bennett Lupe and Garland M. Lasater Exhibition Fund and the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.

On view on Level 2, Galleries 201–208

Related Exhibition Materials

Press Release

Women and Abstraction: 1741–Now Presents an Expansive History of Abstraction in America

Digital Portfolio

See the works included in the exhibition


This exhibition includes works by more than 100 artists

Installation Views

Virtual Tour

by Lightshed Photography Studio

Women and Abstraction: 1741-Now

Matterport 3D Showcase. Women and Abstraction: 1741-Now at the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover MA.


Berenice Abbott (1898–1991)
Natalie Alper (b. 1937)
Cándida Alvarez (b. 1955)
Edna Wright Andrade (1917–2008)
Ruth Asawa (1926–2013)
Ellen Banks (1938–2017)
Hannelore Baron (1926–1987)
Jennifer Bartlett (1941–2022)
Abigail Ames Beard (1806–1839)
Lynda Benglis (b. 1941)
Phoebe Denison Billings (1690–1775)
Margaret Bourke-White (1904–1971) 
Marilyn Bridges (b. 1948)
Jennifer Cecere (b. 1950)
Liz Collins (b. 1968)
Linda Stevens Connor (b. 1944)
Marie Cosindas (1925–2017)
Petah Coyne (b.1953)
Imogen Cunningham (1883–1976)
Clara Darden (c. 1829–1910)
Jay DeFeo (1929–1989)
Elizabeth Enders (b. 1939)
Claire Falkenstein (1918–1997)
Perle Fine (1905–1988)
Gisela Fischer (active 20th century)
Louise Fishman (1939–2021)
Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011)
Ellen Gallagher (b. 1965)
Laura Gilpin (1891–1979)
Shirley Goldfarb (1925–1980)
Beverly Hallam (1923–2013)
Grace Hartigan (1922–2008)
Sheila Hicks (b. 1934)
Christine Hiebert (b. 1960)
Fannie Hillsmith (1911–2007)
Dorothy Hood (1918–2000)
Sheila Eaton Isham (b. 1927)
Lotte Jacobi (1896–1990)
Clara Neptune Keezer (1930–2016)
Ida Rittenberg Kohlmeyer (1912–1997)
Blanche Lazzell (1878–1956)
June Leaf (b. 1929)
Dolia Lorian (1909–1952)
Loren MacIver (1909–1998)
Sally Mann (b. 1951)
Libbie Mark (1905–1972)
Agnes Martin (1912–2004)
Maria Martinez (1887–1980)
Julie Mehretu (b. 1970)

Mary Meigs (1917–2002)
Joan Mitchell (1925–1992)
Barbara Morgan (1900–1992)
Maud Morgan (1903–1999)
Elizabeth Murray (1940–2007)
Louise Nevelson (1899–1988)
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986)
Molly Neptune Parker (1939–2020)
Betty Parsons (1900–1982)
Irene Rice Pereira (1902–1971)
Eve Peri (1897–1966)
Rachel Perry (b. 1962)
Judy Pfaff (b. 1946)
Suzan Pitt (1943–2019)
Katherine Porter (b. 1941)
Rosamond Purcell (b. 1942)
Mavis Iona Pusey (1928–2019)
Liz Whitney Quisgard (b. 1929)
Ruth Reeves (1892–1966)
Deborah Remington (1930–2010)
Edda Renouf (b. 1943)
Jeanne Reynal (1903–1982)
Dorothea Rockburne (b. 1932)
Judith Rothschild (1921–1993)
Anne Ryan (1889–1954)
Jackie Saccoccio (1963–2020)
Jo Sandman (b. 1931)
Ramona Sanchez Gonzales (1885–1934)
Zahara Schatz (1916–1999)
Matilda Elizabeth Schmahl (1837–1906)
Carole Seborovski (b. 1960)
Joan Snyder (b. 1940)
Hedda Sterne (1910–2011)
Florine Stettheimer (1871–1944)
Reba Stewart (1930–1971)
Michelle Stuart (b. 1940)
Lois Swirnoff (b. 1931)
Toshiko Takaezu (1922–2011)
Alma Thomas (1891–1978)
Yvonne Thomas (1913–2009)
Dominique Toya (b. 1971)
Unidentified Diné artist
Unidentified Ojibwe artists
Unidentified Pomo artist
Penelope Umbrico (b. 1957)
Charmion von Wiegand (1896–1983)
Clara Wainwright (b. 1936)
Mary Hinkley West (1715– c. 1794)
Sue Williams (b. 1954)
Lynne Woods Turner (b. 1951)

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Bartlett H. Hayes Prize Recipients


Reggie Burrows Hodges

Exhibition | Residency | Publication | Acquisition


Tommy Kha

Exhibition | Residency | Publication | Acquisition