Words from 10 famous artistic and iconic women who continue to inspire us

These famous female artists dedicated their lives to their art before becoming world renowned! No longer with us, these talented and passionate women left us some major works of art. But what do we really know about these public women outside their destiny and their passion? What inspired these legendary women in the shadows and behind the curtains? What was their philosophy in life and their state of mind?

I have gathered nearly 200 quotes from 16 famous creative and artistic women who have never stopped inspiring us. These iconic women continue to bring joy to so many people, even after their death.

Through these words, I invite you to step into the inner world of these tremendous female artists, and discover their advice, ideas and vision of life.

Frida Khalo | Painting

Frida Khalo famous artistic and iconic women

Mexican artist and painter (1907-1954).

  • “To create your own paradise, you have to draw from your personal hell.” 
  • “What doesn’t kill me, feeds me.” 
  • “The only good thing I have is that I am beginning to grow accustomed to suffering…”
  • “Every tick-tock is a second of the life that passes, flees, and does not repeat itself.  And there is so much intensity, so much interest, that the problem is just knowing how to live.”  
  • “Why do I need feet when I have wings to fly?” 
  • “I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim.” 
  • “Nothing is absolute.  Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.” 
  • “Surrealism is the magical surprise of finding a lion in a wardrobe, where you were ‘sure’ of finding shirts.” 
  • “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” 
  • “I paint self-portraits because I am the person I know best.” 
  • “Anguish and pain – pleasure and death are no more than a process of existence. The revolutionary struggle in this process is a doorway open to intelligence.” 
  • “They thought I was a surrealist, but I wasn’t.  I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” 

Josephine Baker | Dance

Josephine Baker famous artistic and iconic women

Dancer, singer, actress, cabaret artist and French resistant originally from the United States (1906-975).

  • “Not everyone has the same colour, the same language, or the same customs, but they have the same heart, the same blood, and the same need for love.” 
  • “Surely the day will come when colour means nothing more than the skin tone, when religion is seen uniquely as a way to speak one’s soul; when birth places have the weight of a throw of the dice and all men are born free, when understanding breeds love and brotherhood.”    
  • “Oh yes! I shall dance all my life. . . . I would like to die, breathless, spent, at the end of a dance.”  
  • “I have two loves: my country and Paris.”
  • “All my life, I have maintained that the people of the world can learn to live together in peace if they are not brought up in prejudice.” 
  • “I have never really been a great artist. I have been a human being that has loved art, which is not the same thing.  But I have loved and believed in art and the idea of universal brotherhood so much, that I have put everything I have into them, and I have been blessed.”
  •  “I’m not intimidated by anyone.  Everyone is made with two arms, two legs, a stomach and a head.  Just think about that. And when you poured us together, it was something.” 
  • “Is that what they call a vocation, what you do with joy as if you had fire in your heart, the devil in your body?”   
  • “I don’t judge. I don’t want to be judged. Deep down, we all have enough pain.” 

Nina Simone | Music

Nina Simone famous artistic and iconic women

American musician and singer-songwriter (1933-2003).

  • “I think the rich are too rich and the poor are too poor.”
  • “I’ll tell you what freedom is to me: no fear. I mean really, no fear!” 
  • “Jazz is not just music, it’s a way of life, it’s a way of being, a way of thinking.” 
  • “All I want is equality for my sister, my brother, my people, and me.”  
  • “Having as little to do with human beings as possible – in some weird way, I’m at peace.” 
  • “You’ve got to learn how to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.” 
  • “I know I’m different, but I don’t think about it.” 
  • “The look of love is saying so much more than these words.” 
  • “What kept me sane was knowing that things would change.” 
  • “This is the world you have made yourself, now you have to live in it.”  
  •  “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” 
  • “I’m a real rebel with a cause.” 

Louise Bourgeois | Visual art

Louise Bourgeois famous artistic and iconic women

French and American visual artist, sculptor, illustrator and engraver, known for her sculptures and her monumental installations (1911-2010).

  • “Art is a guarantee of sanity.” 
  • “Some epitaphs should only be written in chalk.” 
  • “Artists are born not made. There’s nothing you can do for them.” “An artist can show things that other people are terrified of expressing.” 
  • “I have been to hell and back, and let me tell you, it was wonderful.” “As an artist I am someone powerful. In real life, I feel like I’m the mouse behind the radiator.”  
  • “The emotions are our angels and our demons who fuel the spirit.”  
  • “You are born alone. You die alone. The value of the space in between is trust and love. That is why geometrically speaking the circle is a one.  “Horizontality is a desire to give up, to sleep. Verticality is an attempt to escape. Hanging and floating are states of ambivalence.” 
  • “I always had the fear of being separated and abandoned. The sewing is my attempt to keep things together and make things whole.” 
  • “Space is something that you have to define. Otherwise, it is like anxiety, which is too vague. A fear is something specific. I like claustrophobic spaces, because at least then you know your limits.”   “It is a great privilege to be able to work with, and I suppose work off, my feelings through sculpture.” 
  • “My childhood has never lost its magic, it has never lost its mystery, and it has never lost its drama.” 
  • “For me, sculpture is the body. My body is my sculpture.” “I was able to exorcise my demons through art.”
  • “The spider is a repairer. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad. She weaves and repairs it.” 
  • “I’ve always had a fascination with the needle, the magic power of the needle.” 

Camille Claudel | Sculpture

Camille Claudel famous artistic and iconic women

Realist and expressionist French sculptor (1854-1943)

  • “I have made a statue of reality, but I would like to do more, I would like to invent.”  
  • “I have no talent for happiness.” 
  • “I have fallen into an abyss. I live in a world so curious, so strange. Of the dream that was my life, this is my nightmare.  There is always something missing that torments me.” 
  • “I tolerate my faults but not at all other people’s.” 

Sarah Bernhardt | Theatre

Sarah Bernhardt

International stage actress and French silent movie actress (1844-1923).

  • “Don’t worry my little one, stage fright will come with talent!” 
  • “Everyone had given me advice. No one had given me any advice.”  
  • “Life is short, even for those who live a long time.” 
  • “We ought to hate very rarely, as it is too fatiguing.” 
  • “Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.” 
  • “To be truly great, you must be willing to take risks and embrace the unknown.”
  • “There is no substitute for hard work, dedication, and a love for what you do.”
  • “He who is incapable of feeling strong passions, of being shaken by anger, of living in every sense of the word, will never be a good actor.” 
  • “It is worth entering life seriously, but cheerfully.” 
  • “My life has been a struggle — a struggle to have my own way where I felt I was in the right.” 
  • “Legend remains victorious in spite of history.” 
  • “My life, which I had first expected to be very short, now seemed likely to be very, very long. It gave me great joy to think of the infernal displeasure that would cause my enemies.  From the time of my return onward, I dedicated myself to my life I resolved to live. I resolved to be the great artist that I wished to be.  From the time of my return onward, I dedicated myself to my life. I resolved to live.” 
  • “The artist’s personality must be left in his dressing-room; his soul must be denuded of its own sensations and clothed with the base or noble qualities he is called upon to exhibit … must leave behind him the cares and vexations of life, throw aside his personality for several hours, and move in the dream of another life, forgetting everything.” 

Marilyn Monroe | Cinema

Marilyn Monroe

American actress who conquered Hollywood (1926-1962).

  • “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” 
  • “If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere.” 
  •  “A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.” 
  • “I don’t want to make money, I just want to be wonderful.”  
  • “Who said nights were for sleep?” 
  • “Just because you fail once doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything.” 
  • “Promises are worse than lies. You don’t just make them believe, you also make them hope.”  
  • “I don’t forgive people because I’m weak, I forgive them because I am strong enough to know people make mistakes.” 
  • “Don’t stop when you’re tired; stop when you’re done.”  
  • “The more I think of it, the more I realize there are no answers.  Life is to be lived.” 
  • “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” 
  • “When it comes down to it, I let them think what they want.  If they care enough to bother with what I do, then I’m already better than them.” 
  • “This life is what you make it.”  
  • “A woman is often measured by the things she cannot control. She is measured by the way her body curves or doesn’t curve, by where she is flat or straight or round.” 
  • Happiness is not in money, but in shopping.” 
  • “Everything happens for a reason.” 
  • “I live to succeed, not to please you or anyone else.” 

Aretha Franklin | Singing

Aretha Franklin

American singer-songwriter of soul, gospel, jazz and rythm’n’ blues and pianist (1942-2018).

  • “I’m the lady next door when I’m not on stage.” 
  • “I’ve never recorded anything I didn’t like.”  
  • “Sometimes, what you’re looking for is already there.”  
  • “It’s the rough side of the mountain that’s the easiest to climb; the smooth side doesn’t have anything for you to hang on to.” 
  • “You cannot define a person on just one thing.  You can’t just forget all these wonderful and good things that a person has done because one thing didn’t come off the way you thought it should come off.” 
  •  “People really don’t have to give you anything, so appreciate what people give you.” 
  • “The love of my life? I’m way too young to answer that question.” 
  • “I think women and children and older people are the three least-respected groups in our society.”  
  • “Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable.” 
  • “Be your own artist, and always be confident in what you’re doing.” 
  • “If you disrespect everybody that you run into, how in the world do you think everybody’s supposed to respect you?” 
  • “It really is an honour if I can be inspirational to a younger singer or person.  It means I’ve done my job.”  
  • “Music changes, and I’m gonna change right along with it.”  
  • “My faith always has been and always will be important to me.” » 
  • Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It’s transporting, for sure. It can take you right back, years back, to the very moment certain things happened in your life.  It’s uplifting, it’s encouraging, it’s strengthening.” »

Coco Chanel | Fashion

Coco Chanel

By Los Angeles Times , CC BY 4.0

French fashion designer, famous for her haute couture creations and perfumes (1883-1971).

  • “Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.” 
  • “A fashion that does not reach the streets is not fashion.” 
  • “Fashion changes, but style endures.” 
  • “No matter the age, a woman who is unloved is lost.” 
  • “Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside.” 
  • “The age of a woman is not important: you can be wonderful in your 20s, amazing in your 40s and stay fabulous for the rest of your life.” 
  • “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” 
  • “Dress shabbily, they notice the dress. Dress impeccably, they notice the woman.” 
  • “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” 
  • “The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive.” 
  • Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” 
  • “The best colour in the whole world is the one that looks good on you.” 
  • “The only beautiful eyes are those which look at you with tenderness.” 
  • “A woman needs independence, not equality. In most cases, equality is a step down.” 
  • “To achieve great things, you must first dream.” 
  • “Nothing makes a woman look so old as desperately trying to look young.” 
  • “Women have always been the strong ones of the world.” 
  • “There are people who are rich and people who have money. They are not the same people.” 
  • “I don’t do fashion. I am fashion.” 
  • “A woman does not become interesting until she is over 40.” 
  • “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself.  Aloud.” 
  • “Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.” 
  • “Creativity is the art of concealing your sources.” 
  • “If you want to be original, be ready to be copied.” 

Agatha Christie | Detective novel

Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie plate -Torre Abbey.jpg: Violetrigaderivative work: F l a n k e r, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

British literary figure, author of several detective novels (1890-1976).

  • “Man was forced to invent work in order to escape the strain of having to think.” 
  • “Time does not dispose of a question – it only presents it anew in a different guise.” 
  • “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.” 
  • “Every murderer is probably someone’s old friend.” 
  • “In moments of great stress, the mind focuses itself upon some quite unimportant matter which is remembered long afterwards with the utmost fidelity, driven in, as it were, by the mental stress of the moment.” 
  • “The people who do us most harm are the people who shield us from reality.” 
  • “If one approaches a problem with order and method there should be no difficulty in solving it — none whatever.” 
  • “A man is responsible for his deeds, and not just the deeds, but for the consequences of those deeds, as well.” 
  • “Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master.” 
  • “To separate the main issue from the side issues is the first task of the orderly mind.” 
  • “Words, mademoiselle, are only the outer clothing of ideas.” 
  • “I may see a mountain where there is only an anthill.” 
  • “It is not the victim who concerns me so much. It is the effect on the character of the slayer.”  
  • “It is my experience that no one, in the course of conversation, can fail to give themselves away sooner or later.”  
  • “One forgets how human murderers are.” “Everyone is a potential murderer – in everyone there arises from time to time the wish to kill – though not the will to kill.” 

So, which of these famous women gave us your favourite quote? Which other famous women do you think deserve to be quoted here? Let me know what you think in the comments!

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