Women Artists A to Z

Melanie LaBarge's debut picture book, Women Artists A to Z, shines a light on female artists from a range of time periods, styles, nationalities and backgrounds. Each spread features the artist, a letter representing an aspect of their artwork for which they're known, illustrations that emphasize their major works and a pithy but lyrical blurb with a short overview of the woman's impact. Some will be more well-known to U.S. audiences, like Georgia O'Keeffe and Frida Kahlo, while a vast swath of the subjects will be new to most readers, such as Maria Martinez, Yayoi Kusama and Helen Zughaib. LaBarge has smartly chosen to highlight creators who have worked in a diversity of mediums. Many of the women used their work to expose and confront injustices, such as Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, a printmaker and collagist whose creations underscore the displacement of Indigenous peoples. Some were scientists and educators, and each of them transformed the field with their unusual way of seeing the world. 

Illustrator Caroline Corrigan interprets the women's body of work with reverence and ingenuity. The textured renderings vary in palette, often reflecting the artist's preferred medium or color scheme: Helen Frankenthaler's spread is full of bright hues, just like her large color field paintings; Agnes Martin's displays the more muted browns and grays of her grid paintings. The impeccable design is eye-grabbing, making this a work of art in itself. The back matter includes more details about each artist's life and prompts that serve as inspiration and impetus for future creators. --Shelley Diaz, supervising librarian, BookOps: New York Public Library & Brooklyn Public Library

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