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Celeste Woss y Gil: Dominican female artist who broke ceilings.

Updated: Mar 27


Dominican Artist Woss y Gil. "Girl with fig tree" - Oil on canvas
Woss y Gil. "Girl with fig tree" - Oil on canvas.

Celeste Woss y Gil wasn't just the first Dominican woman to become a professional painter; she shattered multiple glass ceilings. She was the first to use live models in Dominican art, became the first woman to hold a solo exhibition in the country, and nurtured the talents of future generations as an influential educator. Among her students were some of the 20th century's most renowned Dominican artists, including Gilberto Hernández Ortega, Delia Weber, Genoveva Báez, Xavier Amiama, and Purita Barón.


We could spend days detailing her accomplishments. The daughter of former Dominican Republic president Alejandro Woss y Gil, Celeste came from a prominent political lineage. Her father led the Blue Party, a progressive faction founded by intellectuals, liberals, and landowners. However, the political landscape shifted dramatically with the rise of Rafael Trujillo. Trujillo, a dictator known for his brutality, ousted Woss y Gil from power and exiled the family. Anywho, this is another story for another day.


Back to Celeste.


Celeste Woss y Gil wasn't just an artist; she was also a champion for women's rights. She passionately advocated for Dominican women to have access to education, voting rights, and the opportunity to live dignified lives. Her art challenged the status quo, infuriating those threatened by a woman who commanded respect and admiration throughout the Americas for her intellect and talent.


Woss y Gil's paintings captured the essence of Dominican life. Her figures' expressions and postures seem to whisper unspoken stories. She actually illustrates specific Dominican mannerisms and emotions through her paintings and this is why I fell in love with her. As a Dominican-American, I find immense comfort in her work, her art offering a window into my heritage.


Enjoy her works of art below.


Woss y Gil. Autoretrato (Self Portrait). Oil on canvas. Completed 1930.
Woss y Gil. Autoretrato (Self Portrait). Oil on canvas. Completed 1930.

Woss y Gil. El Vendedor de Andullo. 1938
Woss y Gil. El Vendedor de Andullo. 1938

Woss y Gil. Woman resting. 1941
Woss y Gil. Woman resting. 1941

Woss y Gil. Paisaje de Nueva York. 1940
Woss y Gil. Paisaje de Nueva York. 1940

1 Comment


Unknown member
Mar 25

Beautiful Art

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