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Modern art

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Title: Modern art  
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Subject: Late modernism, Fauvism, Art movement, Roberto Melli, Scuola Romana
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Modern art

Pablo Picasso, Dejeuner sur l'Herbe
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, At the Moulin Rouge: Two Women Waltzing, 1892
Vincent van Gogh, Country road in Provence by Night, 1889, May 1890, Kröller-Müller Museum
Barnes Foundation
Klimt in a light Blue Smock by Egon Schiele, 1913
Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917. Photograph by Alfred Stieglitz
Wassily Kandinsky, On White II, 1923

Modern art includes artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that era.[1] The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of experimentation.[2] Modern artists experimented with new ways of seeing and with fresh ideas about the nature of materials and functions of art. A tendency away from the narrative, which was characteristic for the traditional arts, toward abstraction is characteristic of much modern art. More recent artistic production is often called Contemporary art or Postmodern art.

Modern art begins with the heritage of painters like André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Jean Metzinger and Maurice de Vlaminck revolutionized the Paris art world with "wild", multi-colored, expressive landscapes and figure paintings that the critics called Fauvism. Henri Matisse's two versions of The Dance signified a key point in his career and in the development of modern painting.[3] It reflected Matisse's incipient fascination with primitive art: the intense warm color of the figures against the cool blue-green background and the rhythmical succession of the dancing nudes convey the feelings of emotional liberation and hedonism.

Initially influenced by Synthetic cubism, practiced by Braque, Picasso, Fernand Léger, Juan Gris, Albert Gleizes, Marcel Duchamp and several other artists into the 1920s. Synthetic cubism is characterized by the introduction of different textures, surfaces, collage elements, papier collé and a large variety of merged subject matter.

The notion of modern art is closely related to Modernism.[4]


  • History of modern art 1
    • Roots in the 19th century 1.1
    • Early 20th century 1.2
    • After World War II 1.3
  • Art movements and artist groups 2
    • 19th century 2.1
    • Early 20th century (before World War I) 2.2
    • World War I to World War II 2.3
    • After World War II 2.4
  • Important modern art exhibitions and museums 3
    • Belgium 3.1
    • Brazil 3.2
    • Colombia 3.3
    • Croatia 3.4
    • Ecuador 3.5
    • Finland 3.6
    • France 3.7
    • Germany 3.8
    • India 3.9
    • Iran 3.10
    • Italy 3.11
    • Mexico 3.12
    • Netherlands 3.13
    • Norway 3.14
    • Qatar 3.15
    • Russia 3.16
    • Serbia 3.17
    • Spain 3.18
    • Sweden 3.19
    • UK 3.20
    • USA 3.21
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8

History of modern art

Édouard Manet, The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe), 1863, Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Roots in the 19th century

Multi-colored portrait of a far eastern cortesan with elaborate hair ornamentation, colorful robelike garment, and a border depicting marshland waters and reeds.
Vincent van Gogh, Courtesan (after Eisen) (1887), Van Gogh Museum
Portrait of a tree with blossoms and with far eastern alphabet letters both in the portrait and along the left and right borders.
Vincent van Gogh, The Blooming Plumtree (after Hiroshige) (1887), Van Gogh Museum
Portrait of a man of a bearded man facing forward, holding his own hands in his lap; wearing a hat, blue coat, beige collared shirt and brown pants; sitting in front of a background with various tiles of far eastern and nature themed art.
Vincent van Gogh, Portrait of Père Tanguy (1887), Musée Rodin

Although modern sculpture and architecture are reckoned to have emerged at the end of the 19th century, the beginnings of modern painting can be located earlier.[5] The date perhaps most commonly identified as marking the birth of modern art is 1863,[6] the year that Édouard Manet showed his painting Le déjeuner sur l'herbe in the Salon des Refusés in Paris. Earlier dates have also been proposed, among them 1855 (the year Gustave Courbet exhibited The Artist's Studio) and 1784 (the year Jacques-Louis David completed his painting The Oath of the Horatii).[6] In the words of art historian H. Harvard Arnason: "Each of these dates has significance for the development of modern art, but none categorically marks a completely new beginning .... A gradual metamorphosis took place in the course of a hundred years."[6]

The strands of thought that eventually led to modern art can be traced back to the Enlightenment, and even to the 17th century.[7] The important modern art critic Clement Greenberg, for instance, called Immanuel Kant "the first real Modernist" but also drew a distinction: "The Enlightenment criticized from the outside ... . Modernism criticizes from the inside."[8] The French Revolution of 1789 uprooted assumptions and institutions that had for centuries been accepted with little question and accustomed the public to vigorous political and social debate. This gave rise to what art historian Ernst Gombrich called a "self-consciousness that made people select the style of their building as one selects the pattern of a wallpaper."[9]

The pioneers of modern art were Romantics, Realists and Impressionists.[10] By the late 19th century, additional movements which were to be influential in modern art had begun to emerge: post-Impressionism as well as Symbolism.

Influences upon these movements were varied: from exposure to Eastern decorative arts, particularly Japanese printmaking, to the coloristic innovations of Turner and Delacroix, to a search for more realism in the depiction of common life, as found in the work of painters such as Jean-François Millet. The advocates of realism stood against the idealism of the tradition-bound academic art that enjoyed public and official favor.[11] The most successful painters of the day worked either through commissions or through large public exhibitions of their own work. There were official, government-sponsored painters' unions, while governments regularly held public exhibitions of new fine and decorative arts.

The Impressionists argued that people do not see objects but only the light which they reflect, and therefore painters should paint in natural light (en plein air) rather than in studios and should capture the effects of light in their work.[12] Impressionist artists formed a group, Société Anonyme Coopérative des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs ("Association of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers") which, despite internal tensions, mounted a series of independent exhibitions.[13] The style was adopted by artists in different nations, in preference to a "national" style. These factors established the view that it was a "movement". These traits—establishment of a working method integral to the art, establishment of a movement or visible active core of support, and international adoption—would be repeated by artistic movements in the Modern period in art.

Early 20th century

Among the movements which flowered in the first decade of the 20th century were Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, and Futurism.

During the years between 1910 and the end of World War I and after the heyday of Song of Love (1914) is one of the most famous works by de Chirico and is an early example of the surrealist style, though it was painted ten years before the movement was "founded" by André Breton in 1924.

World War I brought an end to this phase but indicated the beginning of a number of anti-art movements, such as Dada, including the work of Marcel Duchamp, and of Surrealism. Artist groups like de Stijl and Bauhaus developed new ideas about the interrelation of the arts, architecture, design, and art education.

Modern art was introduced to the United States with the Armory Show in 1913 and through European artists who moved to the U.S. during World War I.

After World War II

It was only after World War II, however, that the U.S. became the focal point of new artistic movements.[14] The 1950s and 1960s saw the emergence of Abstract Expressionism, Color field painting, Pop art, Op art, Hard-edge painting, Minimal art, Lyrical Abstraction, Fluxus, Happening, Video art, Postminimalism, Photorealism and various other movements. In the late 1960s and the 1970s, Land art, Performance art, Conceptual art, and other new art forms had attracted the attention of curators and critics, at the expense of more traditional media.[15] Larger installations and performances became widespread.

By the end of the 1970s, when cultural critics began speaking of "the end of painting" (the title of a provocative essay written in 1981 by Douglas Crimp), new media art had become a category in itself, with a growing number of artists experimenting with technological means such as video art.[16] Painting assumed renewed importance in the 1980s and 1990s, as evidenced by the rise of neo-expressionism and the revival of figurative painting.[17]

Towards the end of the 20th century, a number of artists and architects started questioning the idea of "the modern" and created typically Postmodern works.[18]

Art movements and artist groups

(Roughly chronological with representative artists listed.)

19th century

Early 20th century (before World War I)

World War I to World War II

After World War II

Important modern art exhibitions and museums






















See also


  1. ^ Atkins 1990, p. 102.
  2. ^ Gombrich 1958, p. 419.
  3. ^ Russell T. Clement. Four French Symbolists. Greenwood Press, 1996. Page 114.
  4. ^ "One way of understanding the relation of the terms 'modern,' 'modernity,' and 'modernism' is that aesthetic modernism is a form of art characteristic of high or actualized late modernity, that is, of that period in which social, economic, and cultural life in the widest sense [was] revolutionized by modernity ... [this means] that modernist art is scarcely thinkable outside the context of the modernized society of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Social modernity is the home of modernist art, even where that art rebels against it." Cahoone 1996, p. 13.
  5. ^ Arnason 1998, p. 10.
  6. ^ a b c Arnason 1998, p. 17.
  7. ^ "In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries momentum began to gather behind a new view of the world, which would eventually create a new world, the modern world". Cahoone 1996, p. 27.
  8. ^ Frascina and Harrison 1982, p. 5.
  9. ^ Gombrich 1958, pp. 358-359.
  10. ^ Arnason 1998, p. 22.
  11. ^ Corinth, Schuster, Brauner, Vitali, and Butts 1996, p.25.
  12. ^ Cogniat 1975, p. 61.
  13. ^ Cogniat 1975, pp. 43–49.
  14. ^ CIA and AbEx Retrieved November 7, 2010
  15. ^ Mullins 2006, p. 14.
  16. ^ Mullins 2006, p. 9.
  17. ^ Mullins 2006, pp. 14–15.
  18. ^ Post-Modernism: The New Classicism in Art and Architecture Charles Jencks
  19. ^ David Lander "Fifties Furniture: The Side Table as Sculpture," American Heritage, Nov./Dec. 2006.


  • Arnason, H. Harvard. 1998. History of Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Photography. Fourth Edition, rev. by Marla F. Prather, after the third edition, revised by Daniel Wheeler. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. ISBN 0-8109-3439-6; Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-183313-8; London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-23757-3 [Fifth edition, revised by Peter Kalb, Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall; London: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2004. ISBN 0-13-184069-X]
  • Atkins, Robert. 1990. Artspeak: A Guide to Contemporary Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords. New York: Abbeville Press. ISBN 1-55859-127-3
  • Cahoone, Lawrence E. 1996. From Modernism to Postmodernism: An Anthology. Cambridge, Mass: Blackwell. ISBN 1-55786-603-1
  • Cogniat, Raymond. 1975. Pissarro. New York: Crown. ISBN 0-517-52477-5.
  • Corinth, Lovis, Peter-Klaus Schuster, Lothar Brauner, Christoph Vitali, and Barbara Butts. 1996. Lovis Corinth. Munich and New York: Prestel. ISBN 3-7913-1682-6
  • Frascina, Francis, and Charles Harrison (eds.) 1982. Modern Art and Modernism: A Critical Anthology. Published in association with The Open University. London: Harper and Row, Ltd. Reprinted, London: Paul Chapman Publishing, Ltd.
  • Frazier, Nancy. 2001. The Penguin Concise Dictionary of Art History. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-051420-1
  • Gombrich, E. H. 1958. The Story of Art. London: Phaidon. OCLC 220078463
  • Mullins, Charlotte. 2006. Painting People: Figure Painting Today. New York: D.A.P. ISBN 978-1-933045-38-2

Further reading

  • Adams, Hugh. 1979. Modern Painting. [Oxford]: Phaidon Press. ISBN 0-7148-1984-0 (cloth) ISBN 0-7148-1920-4 (pbk)
  • Childs, Peter. 2000. Modernism. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-19647-7 (cloth) ISBN 0-415-19648-5 (pbk)
  • Crouch, Christopher. 2000. Modernism in Art Design and Architecture. New York: St. Martins Press. ISBN 0-312-21830-3 (cloth) ISBN 0-312-21832-X (pbk)
  • Dempsey, Amy. 2002. Art in the Modern Era: A Guide to Schools and Movements. New York: Harry A. Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-4172-4
  • Hunter, Sam, John Jacobus, and Daniel Wheeler. 2004. Modern Art. Revised and Updated 3rd Edition. New York: The Vendome Press [Pearson/Prentice Hall]. ISBN 0-13-189565-6 (cloth) 0-13-150519-X (pbk)
  • Kolocotroni, Vassiliki, Jane Goldman, and Olga Taxidou (eds.). 1998. Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-45073-2 (cloth) ISBN 0-226-45074-0 (pbk)
  • Ozenfant, Amédée. 1952. Foundations of Modern Art. New York: Dover Publications. OCLC 536109
  • Read, Herbert and Benedict. 1975. A Concise History of Modern Painting. Thames and Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-20141-1

External links

  • Tate Modern
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • Modern artists and art
  • A TIME Archives Collection of Modern Art's perception
  • National Gallery of Modern Art - Govt. of India
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