Women of Abstract Expressionism logo and black and white photos of 4 women abstract artists

12 Fascinating Facts about the Women of Abstract Expressionism

We put together the following list in honor of the 12 artists whose artworks are on view in Women of Abstract Expressionism. Learn more about these artists in upcoming lectures and talks.)

  1. Three of the 12 artists are still living: Mary Abbott, Sonia Gechtoff, and Judith Godwin.
  2. Helen Frankenthaler developed the technique of staining, which is pouring thinned paint onto raw, unprimed canvas to create bleeds of color. Her work led to future artists creating Color Field painting.
  3. Elaine de Kooning was commissioned by the White House to paint President Kennedy’s portrait in 1963.
  4. Though Mary Abbott was also a model who appeared on magazine covers, including Glamour, she wanted people to respect her as the serious artist she was.
  5. Jay DeFeo was at the Six Gallery (co-founded by Deborah Remington) on October 7, 1955 when Allen Ginsberg read his famous poem Howl for the first time. Beat writer Jack Kerouac played drums.
  6. Deborah Remington studied with Clyfford Still.
  7. Perle Fine was one of the first female members of the Eighth Street Club in New York City, which was started by a handful of abstract artists.
  8. Grace Hartigan held kite-making and kite-flying parties for friends.
  9. Lee Krasner loved to dance. Her partner was sometimes artist Piet Mondrian. She said Jackson Pollock (her husband) had two left feet.
  10. The Denver Art Museum now has eight new acquisitions and three promised gifts by women abstract expressionist artists in our collection.
  11. Jazz was important to many of the artists. You can learn more about their relationship to this genre in the exhibition and listen to jazz in the lounge section of the exhibition.
  12. Most of the artists were based in New York, but Jay DeFeo, Sonia Gechtoff, and Deborah Remington worked in San Francisco, and said the art scene was supportive of women. Gechtoff and Remington later moved to New York, where they encountered gender bias. (Learn more at the September 21st lecture "The Advantages of Obscurity: San Francisco Women Abstract Expressionists."

Danielle St. Peter is the interpretive specialist for modern and contemporary art at the Denver Art Museum, as well as the manager of tour programs. She has been with the DAM since June 2013.