Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Modern Art is a general term, used for most of the artistic production from the late 19th century until approximately the 1970s. (Recent art production is more often called contemporary art). Modern art refers to a new approach to art where it was no longer important to literally represent a subject (through painting or sculpture) -- the invention of photography had made this function of art obsolete. Instead, artists started experimenting with new ways of seeing, with fresh ideas about the nature, materials and functions of art, often moving towards further abstraction.
The notion of modern art is closely related to modernism.
Roots in the 19th century
Modern art began as a Western movement, particularly in painting and printmaking, and then expanding to other visual arts, including sculpture and architecture in the mid 19th century. By the late 19th century, several movements which were to be influential in modern art had begun to emerge: Impressionism, centered around Paris, and Expressionism, which emerged first in Germany.
The influences where varied: from exposure to Eastern decorative arts, particularly Japanese printmaking , to the colouristic innovations of Turner and Delacroix, to a search for greater depiction of common life, as found in the work of painters such as Millet. At the time, the generally held belief about art is that it should be accurate in its depiction of objects, but that it should be aimed at expressing the ideal, or the domestic. Thus the most successful painters of the day worked either through commissions, or through very large public exhibitions of their own work. There were official state sponsored painters' unions, and governments held public exhibitions of new fine and decorative arts regularly.
Thus, breaking with idealization and depicition were not merely artistic statements, but decisions with social and economic results.
These movements did not necessarily identify themselves as being associated with progress, or personal artistic freedom, but instead argued, in the style of the times, that they represented universal values and reality. The Impressionists argued that we do not see objects, but only the light which they reflect, and that therefore painters should paint in natural light rather than in studios, and should capture the effects of light in their work.
Impressionist artists formed a group to promote their work, which, despite internal tensions, was able to mount exhibitions. 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 intergral 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
World War I brought an end to this phase, but indicated the beginning of a number of anti-art movements, such as dada and the work of Marcel Duchamp, and of surrealism. Also, artist groups like de Stijl and Bauhaus were seminal in the development of new ideas about the interrelation of the arts, architecture, design and art education.
Modern art was introduced to America during World War I when a number of the artists in the Montmartre and Montparnasse Quarters of Paris, France fled the War. Francis Picabia (1879–1953), was responsible for bringing Modern Art to New York City. It was only after World War II, though, that the USA became the focal point of new artistic movements. The 1950s and 1960s saw the emergence of abstract expressionism, pop art, op art and minimal art ; in the late 1960s and the 1970s, land art, performance art, conceptual art and photorealism have emerged.
Starting from the postwar period, fewer artists used painting as their primary medium; instead, larger installations and performances became widespread. Since the 1970s, media art has become a category in itself, with a growing number of artists experimenting with technological means -- video art is the most well-known example here.
Chronological list of movements and artist groups, with representatives
End of 19th century
- Romanticism (the Romantic movement) - Francisco de Goya, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
- Realism - Gustave Courbet
- Impressionism - Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet
- Post-impressionism - Georges Seurat
- Symbolism - Gustave Moreau
- the Nabis
- Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec played a special role during this period, with their highly experimental and individual works.
- Important pre- or proto-modern sculptors: Aristide Maillol, Auguste Rodin
Early 20th century (before WWI)
- Art Nouveau and national variants (Jugendstil, Modern Style, Modernisme) - Gustav Klimt
- Expressionism - James Ensor, Oskar Kokoschka, Edvard Munch, Emil Nolde
- Fauvism - André Derain, Henri Matisse, Maurice de Vlaminck and others
- Die Brücke - Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
- Der Blaue Reiter - Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc
- Cubism - Georges Braque, Juan Gris, Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso
- Orphism - Robert Delaunay, Marcel Duchamp
- Futurism - Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrŕ
- Russian abstraction - Naum Gabo, Wassily Kandinsky, El Lissitzky, Kasimir Malevich, Alexander Rochenko , Vladimir Tatlin
- De Stijl - Theo van Doesburg, Piet Mondrian
- Sculpture: Henri Matisse, Constantin Brancusi
- Photography: Pictorialism, Straight photography
Between WWI and WWII
- Exploration of the fantastic - Marc Chagall, Henri Rousseau
- Pittura Metafisica - Giorgio de Chirico, Carlo Carrŕ
- Dada - Jean Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Francis Picabia, Kurt Schwitters
- New Objectivity, Germany - Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz
- Meanwhile, in France, artists like Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso and Chaim Soutine were part of a regression from the pre-WWI experimentation.
- Surrealism - Jean Arp, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte, André Masson, Joan Miró
- Constructivism - Naum Gabo, László Moholy-Nagy
- Bauhaus - Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee
- Sculpture: Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso
- Abstract expressionism - Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock
- Color field painting - Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko
- Postwar European figuration: Francis Bacon, Jean Dubuffet, Alberto Giacometti, Marino Marini, Henry Moore
- Cobra - Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Asger Jorn
- Pop art - Richard Hamilton, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol
- Happenings and environments - Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, George Segal
- New realism - Fernando Botero, Christo, Yves Klein
- Hard-edge painting - Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland
- Shaped canvas - Frank Stella
- Op art - Victor Vasarely
- Arte povera - Luciano Fabro , Mario Merz , Marisa Merz , Michelangelo Pistoletto
- Minimal art - Alexander Calder, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Richard Serra
- Conceptual art - Art & Language, Daniel Buren, Joseph Kosuth, Lawrence Weiner
- Performance art - Laurie Anderson, Joseph Beuys, Gilbert and George, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik
- Land art - Christo, Richard Long, Robert Smithson
- Photorealism - Chuck Close, Duane Hanson
- Soviet art - Alexander Deineka , Alexander Gerasimov , Ilya Kabakov , Dubossarski & Winogradow , Komar & Melomid , Collective Action Group
- Unclassifiable, seminal artists: Louise Bourgeois, Tony Cragg, Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer, Anselm Kiefer, Alexander Ney, Cindy Sherman
Alphabetical list of important modern art exhibitions and museums
- Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
- documenta, five-yearly exhibition of modern and contemporary art, Kassel, Germany
- Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Berlin, Las Vegas, New York, Venice
- Museum of Modern Art, New York
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
- Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
- Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst , Gent, Belgium
- Tate Modern, London
- Venice Biennial
- Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
- Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
- Modern architecture
- List of modern artists
- For more recent developments, see: contemporary art
- Modern art in Quebec, see: Les Automatistes
- Modern Art (game)
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