Famous Modern Artists

Famous Modern Artists

The term "modern art" is used to characterize works of art created in the roughly 1860s to 1970s time frame. Unprecedented growth occurred in the art world during this time period, and artists of this era created some of the most well-known paintings.

Modern artists broke away from historical conventions, and one of the key features of the works they created was to continuously challenge preconceived notions about what constitutes art.


Edouard Manet

One of the most important and influential modern artists of all time is Edouard Manet. Born in France, Manet's family was wealthy, including a high-ranking official in the French Ministry of Justice.

His mother was the goddaughter of a Swedish crown prince. Despite his upbringing, Manet's interest in art grew after he failed two entrance exams for the French navy.

He began taking lessons in art under Thomas Couture, a painter who possessed a deep knowledge of the Louvre.

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Manet copied the great masters of the day and was greatly influenced by Frans Hals, Diego Velazquez, and Francisco Goya.

Later, Manet decided to enroll in a special drawing course, and it paid off soon thereafter, he became friends with Antonin Proust, the future Minister of Fine Arts.

The two remained close throughout their lives. In 1845, Manet's work was shown at the Salon in Paris. His works feature flat, opaque surfaces, sketch-like paintings and outlining of the figures.

Edward Hopper

The work of Edward Hopper depicts a world of angst and loneliness. Hopper's enigmatic landscapes highlight the tension between progress and tradition.

His subject matter ranges from lilies to the landscape of urban and rural landscapes. While Hopper struggled to create well-received work, he was inspired by the works of his teacher, Robert Henri.

His struggle to create a popular and recognizable body of work eventually led him to take up other jobs in order to survive. Aside from the landscapes and still lifes that he created, Hopper also explored the social life of modern America.

For example, his famous painting Nighthawk depicts three people enjoying a late-night meal in a diner. The diner, which is based on a real diner on Greenwich Avenue, became a popular theme for many other artists. A large number of his paintings re-imagined the world of diners.

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Wayne Thiebaud

During the 1950s and 1960s, American painter Wayne Thiebaud began to produce prints, and eventually turned to landscapes and portraiture. His landscapes are dramatic and detailed, often created with flat arrangements of color and form.

While his landscapes are still popular, Thiebaud's portraits are more challenging. They are often reminiscent of a surrealist painting, but are not as literal.

The subjects of Wayne Thiebaud's paintings range from consumer goods to portraits of his friends.

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He also painted the landscapes in the northern Californian countryside, such as the infamous Golden Gate Bridge.

His paintings have thick, luscious brush strokes of paint. One of the most notable of his paintings is Man in Tree, which explores the urban atmosphere.

This painting, created over a period of 32 years, was revisited multiple times as he experimented with its colors and forms. The painting is now regarded as one of the most important pieces of modern art.

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Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo's art journey began at an early age. Her parents crafted a special easel and paints for her, and placed a mirror above her head.

She began spending hours painting in front of the mirror, confronting existential questions that were rooted in her traumatic experiences.

Her parents' paintings, especially those by her father, inspired her to paint. Often, her women's portraits are portrayed in a surreal and graphic manner. Her portraits of people in public places are often based on her own experiences.

In her painting, Broken Column, she is depicted with an open body, reminiscent of a broken ionic column. This image conveys a feeling of pain as the body crumbles and a metal rod pierces the skin.

In 'Self-Portrait', she wore traditional Mexican clothing and a thorn necklace. This necklace symbolizes the pain she felt as a result of her failed marriage and her new identity as a Christian martyr.

Paul Cadmus

After graduating from high school, Cadmus began a career as an advertising layout artist and took art classes at the Art Students League. There, he met painter Jared French, who would influence his work for the rest of his life.

The two became close friends and traveled to Europe, where they would paint and exhibit their work. They were soon recognized as two of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

In addition to his paintings, Cadmus also participated in collaborative projects. He worked with Jared French on the mural of "Our Lady of Saltaire" at the St. Luke Place. In addition, they also met Lincoln Kirstein, who had a profound influence on the artistic scene in New York.

Together, they founded the New York City Ballet, a modern art ensemble that continues to this day. Cadmus personified music, architecture, political ideas, and social issues in his works.

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