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What Is Modern Art, Top 20 Art Movements That Shaped Modern History

April 14, 2018

Starry-night-vincent-van-gogh-post-impressionism-top-20-modern-arts-Blogs-Artatler.com

Modern art is artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the styles and philosophy of the art produced during that era.(1) Due to its powerful emergence as a force of revolution, modern art represents an evolving set of ideas among a number of painters, sculptors, writers, and performers who - both individually and collectively - sought new approaches to art making.(2)

Art has a profound impact on things whether it is living or inanimate, as well as how human being are interacting with each other on social or psychological level. Artworks of the past have always been the direct and indirect representation on how past artists perceived what they saw, heard, thought and more - these senses assisted them to create such reflection in their artworks. This is also why pricing such artwork can be a daunting task.

Even to these days, modern arts have been a great force to influence the art of today. And this goes beyond art in the form of painting. Many great architects, scientist, lawmakers, civil workers, and other professions are more or less affected by art. They were taught art history or how to implement creativity in their respective field of expertise. They are often take a subset of their surroundings to get ideas for their works.

Let's take a look at these following 20 art movements:

These visual modern art movements are fundamental to understanding the different types of art that shape modern history.(3)

1. Impressionism (c. 1865)

Water-Lilies-Claude-Monet-Impressionism-What-is-modern-art-top-20-Blogs-Artatler.com
Title: Water Lilies by Claude Monet (Photo: Wikipedia)

Impressionism can be considered the first distinctly modern movement in painting. Developing in Paris in the 1860s, its influence spread throughout Europe and eventually the United States. Its originators were artists who rejected the official, government-sanctioned exhibitions, or salons, and were consequently shunned by powerful academic art institutions. In turning away from the fine finish and detail to which most artists of their day aspired, the Impressionists aimed to capture the momentary, sensory effect of a scene - the impressionobjects made on the eye in a fleeting instant. To achieve this effect, many Impressionist artists moved from the studio to the streets and countryside, painting en plein air.(4)

 

2. Post-Impressionism (c. 1885)

Starry-night-vincent-van-gogh-post-impressionism-What-is-modern-art-top-20-Blogs-Artatler.comTitle: Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh (Photo: Wikipedia)

Again originating from France, this type of art developed between 1886 and 1905 as a response to the Impressionist movement. This time, artists reacted against the need for the naturalistic depictions of light and color in Impressionist art. As opposed to earlier styles, Post-Impressionism covers many different types of art, from the Pointillism of Georges Seurat to the Symbolism of Paul Gauguin.

Not unified by a single style, artists were united by the inclusion of abstract elements and symbolic content in their artwork. Perhaps the most well-known Post-Impressionist is Vincent Van Gogh, who used color and his brushstrokes not to convey the emotional qualities of the landscape, but his own emotions and state of mind.(5)

 

3. Art Nouveau (c. 1890)

Polibek-Gustav-Klimt-Art-Nouveau-What-is-modern-art-top-20-art-movements-Blogs-Artatler.com
Title: Polibek by Gustav Klimt (Photo: AOL)

Art Nouveau, ornamental style of art that flourished between about 1890 and 1910 throughout Europe and the United States. Art Nouveau is characterised by its use of a long, sinuous, organic line and was employed most often in architecture, interior design, jewelry and glass design, posters, and illustration. It was a deliberate attempt to create a new style, free of the imitative historicism that dominated much of 19th-century art and design. Art Nouveau developed first in England and soon spread to the European continent, where it was called Jugendstil in Germany, Sezessionstil in Austria, Stile Floreale (or Stile Liberty) in Italy, and Modernismo (or Modernista) in Spain. The term Art Nouveau was coined by a gallery in Paris that exhibited much of this work.(15)

 

4. Fauvism (c. 1900)

Landscape-at-Collioure-Henri-Matisse-Fauvism-What-is-modern-art-blogs-Artatler.com
Title: Landscape at Collioure by Henri Matisse (Photo: MoMA)

Henri Matisse and André Derain studied with the same teachers, shared friendships with other artists, traveled together, and sometimes worked in the same studio. Both admired and collected African sculptures—especially Matisse, who traveled to North Africa in 1906—and that aesthetic influence can be seen in each painter’s stylized treatment of the human figure, pictorial flatness, and fragmented shapes and planes. To make their paintings, they applied thick brushstrokes of vibrant colors, often unmixed from commercially produced tubes of paint. These colors did not correspond to the way things appeared in real life. “My choice of colors does not rest on any scientific theory,” said Matisse. “It is based on observation, on feeling, on the very nature of each experience.”(6)

 

5. Cubism (c. 1920)

Les-Demoiselles-dAvignon-Pablo-Picasso-cubism-What-is-modern-art-top-20-Blogs-Artatler.com
Title: Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso (Photo: Wikipedia)

A truly revolutionary style of art, Cubism is one of the most important art movements of the 20th century. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque developed Cubism in the early 1900s, with the term being coined by art critic Louis Vauxcelles in 1907 to describe the artists. Throughout the 1910s and 1920s, the two men—joined by other artists—would use geometric forms to build up the final representation. Completely breaking with any previous art movement, objects were analyzed and broken apart, only to be reassembled into an abstracted form.

This reduction of images to minimal lines and shapes was part of the Cubist quest for simplification. The minimalist outlook also trickled down into the color palette, with Cubists forgoing shadowing and using limited hues for a flattened appearance. This was a clear break from the use of perspective, which has been the standard since the Renaissance. Cubism opened the doors for later art movements, like Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism, by throwing out the prescribed artist's rulebook.(7)

 

6. Futurism (c. 1920)

swifts-paths-of-movement-dynamic-sequences-giacomo-balla-modern-art-blogs-Artatler.com.jpg
Title: Swifts: Paths of Movement + Dynamic Sequences by Giacomo Balla (Photo: WikiArt)

The most important Italian avant-garde art movement of the 20th century, Futurism celebrated advanced technology and urban modernity. Committed to the new, its members wished to destroy older forms of culture and to demonstrate the beauty of modern life - the beauty of the machine, speed, violence and change. Although the movement did foster some architecture, most of its adherents were artists who worked in traditional media such as painting and sculpture, and in an eclectic range of styles inspired by Post-Impressionism. Nevertheless, they were interested in embracing popular media and new technologies to communicate their ideas. Their enthusiasm for modernity and the machine ultimately led them to celebrate the arrival of the First World War. By its end the group was largely spent as an important avant-garde, though it continued through the 1920s, and, during that time several of its members went on to embrace Fascism, making Futurism the only 20th century avant-garde to have embraced far right politics.(8)

 

7. Vorticism (c. 1920)

the-mud-bath-David-Bomberg-vorticism-What-is-modern-art-top-20-Blogs-Artatler.com
Title: The Mud Bath by David Bomberg (Photo: Tate)

 Vorticism blasted onto the London art scene, becoming England's first radical avant-gardegroup. Embracing contradiction, humor, and ostentatious rhetoric, the Vorticists celebrated the energy and dynamism of the modern machine age and declared an assault on staid British traditions in order to inaugurate a new era where art belonged to all. Rebelling against the genteel semi-abstractions then fashionable among the London bourgeoisie and championed by critics Roger Fry and Clive Bell, the Vorticists developed an abstract style with bold colors, harsh lines, and sharp angles to depict the movement of industrial life. Vorticism encompassed many media, including painting, sculpture, literature, typography, and design in an effort to transform how people interacted with the world. The horrors of World War I, however, dampened their idealization of the machine and dissipated the momentous energy of the group.(9)

 

8. Constructivism (c. 1920)

cartel-de-propaganda-rodchenko-What-is-modern-art-top-20-Blogs-Artatler.com
Title: Cartel de Propaganda by Alexander Rodchenko (Photo: Artnet)

Constructivism was the last and most influential modern art movement to flourish in Russia in the 20th century. It evolved just as the Bolsheviks came to power in the October Revolution of 1917, and initially it acted as a lightning rod for the hopes and ideas of many of the most advanced Russian artists who supported the revolution's goals. It borrowed ideas from Cubism, Suprematism and Futurism, but at its heart was an entirely new approach to making objects, one which sought to abolish the traditional artistic concern with composition, and replace it with 'construction.'

Constructivism called for a careful technical analysis of modern materials, and it was hoped that this investigation would eventually yield ideas that could be put to use in mass production, serving the ends of a modern, Communist society. Ultimately, however, the movement floundered in trying to make the transition from the artist's studio to the factory. Some continued to insist on the value of abstract, analytical work, and the value of art per se; these artists had a major impact on spreading Constructivism throughout Europe. Others, meanwhile, pushed on to a new but short-lived and disappointing phase known as Productivism, in which artists worked in industry. Russian Constructivism was in decline by the mid 1920s, partly a victim of the Bolshevik regime's increasing hostility to avant-garde art. But it would continue to be an inspiration for artists in the West, sustaining a movement called International Constructivism which flourished in Germany in the 1920s, and whose legacy endured into the 1950s.(10)

 

9. Suprematism (c. 1920)

Eight-Red-Rectangles-Kazimir-Malevich-Suprematism-What-is-modern-art-top-20-Blogs-Artatler.com
Title: Eight Red Rectangles by Kazimir Malevich (Photo: ArtPaintingArtist)

Suprematism, the invention of Russian artist Kazimir Malevich, was one of the earliest and most radical developments in abstract art. Its name derived from Malevich's belief that Suprematist art would be superior to all the art of the past, and that it would lead to the "supremacy of pure feeling or perception in the pictorial arts." Heavily influenced by avant-garde poets, and an emerging movement in literary criticism, Malevich derived his interest in flouting the rules of language, in defying reason. He believed that there were only delicate links between words or signs and the objects they denote, and from this he saw the possibilities for a totally abstract art. And just as the poets and literary critics were interested in what constituted literature, Malevich came to be intrigued by the search for art's barest essentials. It was a radical and experimental project that at times came close to a strange mysticism. Although the Communist authorities later attacked the movement, its influence was pervasive in Russia in the early 1920s, and it was important in shaping Constructivism, just as it has been in inspiring abstract art to this day.(11)

 

10. De Stijl (c. 1920)

Composition-with-yellow-blue-and-red-Piet-Mondrian-De-Stijl-What-is-modern-art-top-20-Blogs-Artatler.com
Title: Composition with yellow, blue and red by Piet Mondrian (Photo: Artsy)

Dutch for The Style, Die Stijl was founded in 1917. The artists most recognized with the movement were the painters Theo van Doesburg, who was also a writer and a critic, and Piet Mondrian, along with the architect Gerrit Reitveld. The movement proposed ultimate simplicity and abstraction through which they could express a Utopian idea of harmony and order.

The harmony and order was established through a reduction of elements to pure geometric forms and primary colors. Die Stijl was also the name of a publication discussing the groups theories which was published by van Doesburg. The publication Die Stijl represents the most significant work of graphic design from the movement, but the ideas of reduction of form and color are major influences on the development of graphic design as well.(12)

 

11. Dada (c. 1920)

Fountain-Marcel-Duchamp-Dada-What-is-modern-art-top-20-Blogs-Artatler.com
Title: Fountain by Marcel Duchamp (Photo: SFMoMA)

Dada was a cultural movement that was concentrated on anti-war politics which then made its way to the art world through art theory, art manifestoes, literature, poetry and eventually graphic design and the visual arts. The movement, although Dadaists would not have been happy calling it a movement, originated in Switzerland and spread across Europe and into the United States, which was a safe haven for many writers during World War I.

An anti-art movement, Dadaists attempted to break away from the styles of traditional art aesthetics as well as rationality, of any kind. They produced a great many publications as a home for their writings and protest materials which were handed out at gatherings and protests. The visual aesthetics associate with the movement often include found objects and materials combined through collage.(13)

 

12. Surrealism (c. 1920)

The-persistence-of-memory-salvador-dali-surrealism-What-is-modern-art-top-20-Blogs-Artatler.com
Title: The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali (Photo: Wikipedia)

A precise definition of Surrealism can be difficult to grasp, but it's clear that this once avant-garde movement has staying power, remaining one of the most approachable art genres, even today. Imaginative imagery spurred by the subconscious is a hallmark of this type of art, which started in the 1920s. The movement began when a group of visual artists adopted automatism, a technique that relied on the subconscious for creativity.

Tapping into the appeal for artists to liberate themselves from restriction and take on total creative freedom, Surrealists often challenged perceptions and reality in their artwork. Part of this came from the juxtaposition of a realistic painting style with unconventional, and unrealistic, subject matters.(14)

  

13. Abstract Expressionism (c. 1930)

Convergence-Jackson-Pollock-Abstract-Expressionism-What-is-modern-art-top-20-art-movements-Blogs-Artatler.com
Title: Convergence by Jackson Pollock (Photo: TheHundreds)

The movement comprised many different painterly styles varying in both technique and quality of expression. Despite this variety, Abstract Expressionist paintings share several broad characteristics. They are basically abstract—i.e., they depict forms not drawn from the visible world. They emphasize free, spontaneous, and personal emotional expression, and they exercise considerable freedom of technique and execution to attain this goal, with a particular emphasis laid on the exploitation of the variable physical character of paint to evoke expressive qualities (e.g., sensuousness, dynamism, violence, mystery, lyricism). They show similar emphasis on the unstudied and intuitive application of that paint in a form of psychic improvisation akin to the automatism of the Surrealists, with a similar intent of expressing the force of the creative unconscious in art. They display the abandonment of conventionally structured composition built up out of discrete and segregable elements and their replacement with a single unified, undifferentiated field, network, or other image that exists in unstructured space. And finally, the paintings fill large canvases to give these aforementioned visual effects both monumentality and engrossing power.(16)

  

14. Art Deco (c. 1930)

portrait-of-the-marquis-d-afflito-Tamara-de-Lempicka-Art-Deco-What-is-modern-art-top-20-art-movements-Blogs-Artatler.com
Title: Portrait of the Marquis d'afflito by Tamara de Lempicka (Photo: WikiArt)

The Art Deco style manifested across the spectrum of the visual arts: from architecture, painting, and sculpture to the graphic and decorative arts. While Art Deco practitioners were often paying homage to modernist influences such as Cubism, De Stijl, and Futurism, the references were indirect; it was as though they were taking the end results of a few decades of distilling compositions to the most basic forms and inventing a new style that could be visually pleasing but not intellectually threatening.

The Art Deco style originated in Paris, but has influenced architecture and culture as a whole. Art Deco works are symmetrical, geometric, streamlined, often simple, and pleasing to the eye. This style is in contrast to avant-garde art of the period, which challenged everyday viewers to find meaning and beauty in what were often unapologetically anti-traditional images and forms.(17)

  

15. Photorealism (c. 1960)

big-self-portrait-chuck-close-photorealism-What-is-modern-art-top-20-Blogs-Artatler.com
Title: Big Self Portrait by Chuck Close (Photo: Walkerart)

The name Photorealism (also known as Hyperrealism or Superrealism) was coined in reference to those artists whose work depended heavily on photographs, which they often projected onto canvas allowing images to be replicated with precision and accuracy. The exactness was often aided further by the use of an airbrush, which was originally designed to retouch photographs. The movement came about within the same period and context as Conceptual art, Pop art, Minimalism and expressed a strong interest in realism in art, over that of idealism and abstraction. Ultimately, the Photorealists were successful in attracting a wide audience, but they are often overlooked by art historians as an important avant garde style.(18)

 

16. Minimalism (c. 1960)

red-blue-green-ellsworth-kelly-minimalism-What-is-modern-art-top-20-art-movements-Blogs-Artatler.com
Title: Red Blue Green by Ellsworth Kelly (Photo: WikiArt)

Minimalism emerged in New York in the early 1960s among artists who were self-consciously renouncing recent art they thought had become stale and academic. A wave of new influences and rediscovered styles led younger artists to question conventional boundaries between various media. The new art favored the cool over the "dramatic": their sculptures were frequently fabricated from industrial materials and emphasized anonymity over the expressive excess of Abstract Expressionism. Painters and sculptors avoided overt symbolism and emotional content, but instead called attention to the materiality of the works. By the end of the 1970s, Minimalism had triumphed in America and Europe through a combination of forces including museum curators, art dealers, and publications, plus new systems of private and government patronage. And members of a new movement, Post-Minimalism, were already challenging its authority and were thus a testament to how important Minimalism itself became.(19)

 

17. Pop Art (c. 1960)

Campbells-Soup-Cans-Andy-Warhol-pop-art-What-is-modern-art-top-20-Blogs-Artatler.com
Title: Campbell's Soup Cans by Andy Warhol (Photo: MoMA)

Rising up in the 1950s, Pop Art is a pivotal movement that heralds the onset of contemporary art. This post-war style emerged in Britain and America, including imagery from advertising, comic books, and everyday objects. Often satirical, Pop Art emphasized banal elements of common goods, and is frequently thought of as a reaction against the subconscious elements of Abstract Expressionism.

Roy Lichtenstein’s bold, vibrant work is an excellent example of how parody and pop culture merged with fine art to make accessible art. Andy Warhol, the most famous figure in Pop Art, helped push the revolutionary concept of art as mass production, creating numerous silkscreen series of his popular works.(20)

 

18. Lowbrow / Pop Surrealism (c. 1970)

Into-the-Valley-of-Finks-and-Weirdos-Todd-Schorr-Lowbrow-What-is-modern-art-blogs-Artatler.com
Title: Into the Valley of Finks and Weirdos by Todd Schorr (Photo: Rod Authority)

Lowbrow, also called pop surrealism, is an art movement that grew out of an underground California scene in the 1970s. Traditionally excluded from the fine art world, lowbrow art moves from painted artworks to toys, digital art, and sculpture. The genre also has its roots in underground comix, punk music, and surf culture, with artists not seeking acceptance from mainstream galleries. By mixing surrealism imagery with pop colors or figures, artists achieve dreamlike results that often play on erotic or satirical themes. The rise of magazines like Juxtapoz and Hi-Fructose have given lowbrow artists a forum to display their work outside of mainstream contemporary art media.(21)

 

19. Post Modern (c. 1980)

Drowning-Girl-Roy-Lichtenstein-Postmodern-What-is-modern-art-top-20-Blogs-Artatler.com.jpg
Title: Drowning Girl by Roy Lichtenstein (Photo: Sartle

Post-Modernism is a broad movement in late 20th Century philosophy and the arts, marked in general terms by an openness to meaning and authority from unexpected places, and a willingness to borrow unashamedly from previous movements or traditions. It is often defined negatively as a reaction or opposition to the equally ill-defined Modernism, although some claim that it represents a whole new paradigm in intellectual thought.

The term "Post-Modernism" (literally "after Modernism") originated in architecture to denote a reactionary movement against the perceived blandness and hostility of the Modernist movement, and also against the pretensions of high Modernism, with its pursuit of an ideal perfection, harmony of form and function, and dismissal of frivolous ornamentation. It came to be used in art, music and literature (and, by analogy, in philosophy) for any pluralistic or reactionary style that is often more ornamental than Modernism, and which is not afraid to borrow from previous artistic styles, often in a playful or ironic fashion. It tends to lack a clear central hierarchy or organizing principle, although it often embodies extreme complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity and inter-connectedness or inter-referentiality, and is typically marked by a revival of traditional elements and techniques.(22)

 

20. Contemporary Art (c. 1990)

The-obliteration-room-Yayoi-Kusama-Contemporary-Art-What-is-modern-art-top-20-Blogs-Artatler.com.jpg
Title: The Obliteration Room by Yayoi Kusama (Photo: GlassTire)

In its most basic sense, the term contemporary art refers to art—namely, painting, sculpture, photography, installation, performance, and video art—produced today. Though seemingly simple, the details surrounding this definition are often a bit fuzzy, as different individuals' interpretations of “today” may widely and wildly vary. Therefore, the exact starting point of the genre is still debated; however, many art historians consider the late 1960s (the end of modern art, or modernism) to be an adequate estimate.(23)


References:

  1. en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Modern_art
  2. theartstory.org/ definition-modern-art.htm
  3. mymodernmet.com/ important-art-movements/
  4. theartstory.org/ movement-impressionism.htm
  5. mymodernmet.com/ important-art-movements/
  6. moma.org/ learn/ moma_learning/ themes/ fauvism
  7. mymodernmet.com/ important-art-movements/
  8. theartstory.org/ movement-futurism.htm
  9. theartstory.org/ movement-vorticism.htm
  10. designishistory.com/ 1920/ constructivism/
  11. theartstory.org/ movement-suprematism.htm
  12. designishistory.com/ 1920/ de-stijl/
  13. designishistory.com/ 1850/ dada/
  14. mymodernmet.com/ important-art-movements
  15. britannica.com/ art/ Art-Nouveau
  16. britannica.com/ art/ Abstract-Expressionism
  17. theartstory.org/ movement-art-deco.htm
  18. theartstory.org/ movement-photorealism.htm
  19. theartstory.org/ movement-minimalism.htm
  20. mymodernmet.com/ important-art-movements/2/
  21. mymodernmet.com/ important-art-movements/2/
  22. philosophybasics.com/ movements_postmodernism.html
  23. mymodernmet.com/ what-is-contemporary-art-definition/




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