Twentieth-century art—and what it became as modern art—began with modernism in the late nineteenth century.Nineteenth-century movements of Post-Impressionism (Les Nabis), Art Nouveau and Symbolism led to the first twentieth-century art movements of Fauvism in France and Die Brücke ("The Bridge") in Germany. Fauvism in Paris introduced heightened non-representational colour into figurative painting. Die Brücke strove for emotional Expressionism. Another German group was Der Blaue Reiter ("The Blue Rider"), led by Kandinsky in Munich, who associated the blue rider image with a spiritual non-figurative mystical art of the future. Kandinsky, Kupka, R. Delaunay and Picabia were pioneers of abstract (or non-representational) art. Cubism, generated by Picasso, Braque, Metzinger, Gleizes and others rejected the plastic norms of the Renaissance by introducing multiple perspectives into a two-dimensional image. Futurism incorporated the depiction of movement and machine age imagery. Dadaism, with its most notable exponents, Marcel Duchamp, who rejected conventional art styles altogether by exhibiting found objects, notably a urinal, and too Francis Picabia, with his Portraits Mécaniques.
Parallel movements in Russia were Suprematism, where Kasimir Malevich also created non-representational work, notably a black canvas. The Jack of Diamonds group with Mikhail Larionov was expressionist in nature.
Dadaism preceded Surrealism, where the theories of Freudian psychology led to the depiction of the dream and the unconscious in art in work by Salvador Dalí. Kandinsky's introduction of non-representational art preceded the 1950s American Abstract Expressionist school, including Jackson Pollock, who dripped paint onto the canvas, and Mark Rothko, who created large areas of flat colour. Detachment from the world of imagery was reversed in the 1960s by the Pop Art movement, notably Andy Warhol, where brash commercial imagery became a Fine Art staple. Warhol also minimised the role of the artist, often employing assistants to make his work and using mechanical means of production, such as silkscreen printing. This marked a change from Modernism to Post-Modernism. Photorealism evolved from Pop Art and as a counter to Abstract Expressionists.
Subsequent initiatives towards the end of the century involved a paring down of the material of art through Minimalism, and a shift toward non-visual components with Conceptual art, where the idea, not necessarily the made object, was seen as the art. The last decade of the century saw a fusion of earlier ideas in work by Jeff Koons, who made large sculptures from kitsch subjects, and in the UK, the Young British Artists, where Conceptual Art, Dada and Pop Art ideas led to Damien Hirst's exhibition of a shark in formaldehyde in a vitrine.
The history of painting reaches back in time to artifacts from pre-historic humans, and spans all cultures. It represents a continuous, though periodically disrupted, tradition from Antiquity. Across cultures, and spanning continents and millennia, the history of painting is an ongoing river of creativity, that continues into the 21st century. Until the early 20th century it relied primarily on representational, religious and classical motifs, after which time more purely abstract and conceptual approaches gained favor.
Kazimir Severinovich Malevich was a Russian avant-garde artist and art theorist, whose pioneering work and writing had a profound influence on the development of non-objective, or abstract art, in the 20th century. Born in Kiev to an ethnic Polish family, his concept of Suprematism sought to develop a form of expression that moved as far as possible from the world of natural forms (objectivity) and subject matter in order to access "the supremacy of pure feeling" and spirituality. Malevich is considered to be part of the Ukrainian avant-garde that was shaped by Ukrainian-born artists who worked first in Ukraine and later over a geographical span between Europe and America.
Cubism is an early-20th-century avant-garde art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture. In Cubist artwork, objects are analyzed, broken up and reassembled in an abstracted form—instead of depicting objects from a single viewpoint, the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context. Cubism has been considered the most influential art movement of the 20th century. The term is broadly used in association with a wide variety of art produced in Paris or near Paris (Puteaux) during the 1910s and throughout the 1920s.
Modern art includes artistic work produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the styles and philosophies of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of experimentation. 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.
Abstract art uses visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an attempt to reproduce an illusion of visible reality. By the end of the 19th century many artists felt a need to create a new kind of art which would encompass the fundamental changes taking place in technology, science and philosophy. The sources from which individual artists drew their theoretical arguments were diverse, and reflected the social and intellectual preoccupations in all areas of Western culture at that time.
An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a specific period of time, or, at least, with the heyday of the movement defined within a number of years. Art movements were especially important in modern art, when each consecutive movement was considered as a new avant-garde movement.
The Musée National d'Art Moderne is the national museum for modern art of France. It is located in Paris and is housed in the Centre Pompidou in the 4th arrondissement of the city. It was 12th in the List of most visited art museums in the world in 2020, with 912,803 visitors, a decline of 72 percent from 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is one of the largest museums for modern and contemporary art.
Orphism or Orphic Cubism, a term coined by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire in 1912, was an offshoot of Cubism that focused on pure abstraction and bright colors, influenced by Fauvism, the theoretical writings of Paul Signac, Charles Henry and the dye chemist Eugène Chevreul. This movement, perceived as key in the transition from Cubism to Abstract art, was pioneered by František Kupka, Robert Delaunay and Sonia Delaunay, who relaunched the use of color during the monochromatic phase of Cubism. The meaning of the term Orphism was elusive when it first appeared and remains to some extent vague.
Geometric abstraction is a form of abstract art based on the use of geometric forms sometimes, though not always, placed in non-illusionistic space and combined into non-objective (non-representational) compositions. Although the genre was popularized by avant-garde artists in the early twentieth century, similar motifs have been used in art since ancient times.
The Société des Artistes Indépendants, Salon des Indépendants was formed in Paris on 29 July 1884. The association began with the organization of massive exhibitions in Paris, choosing the slogan "sans jury ni récompense". Albert Dubois-Pillet, Odilon Redon, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac were among its founders. For the following three decades their annual exhibitions set the trends in art of the early 20th century, along with the Salon d'Automne. This is where artworks were often first displayed and widely discussed. World War I brought a closure to the salon, though the Artistes Indépendants remained active. Since 1920, the headquarters is located in the vast basements of the Grand Palais.
Cubo-Futurism was an art movement that arose in early 20th century Russia, defined by its amalgamation of the artistic elements found in Italian Futurism and French Analytical Cubism. Cubo-Futurism was the main school of painting and sculpture practiced by the Russian Futurists. In 1913, the term ‘Cubo-Futurism’ first came to describe works from members of the poetry group ‘Hylaeans,’ as they moved away from poetic Symbolism towards Futurism and zaum, the experimental “visual and sound poetry of Kruchenykh and Khlebninkov”. Later in the same year the concept and style of ‘Cubo-Futurism’ became synonymous with the works of artists within Russian post-revolutionary avant-garde circles as they interrogated non-representational art through the fragmentation and displacement of traditional forms, lines, viewpoints, colours, and textures within their pieces. The impact of Cubo-Futurism was then felt within performance art societies, with Cubo-Futurist painters and poets collaborating on theatre, cinema, and ballet pieces that aimed to break theatre conventions through the use of nonsensical zaum poetry, emphasis on improvisation, and the encouragement of audience participation.
Painting – artwork in which paint or other medium has been applied to a surface, and in which area and composition are two primary considerations.
The history of Western painting represents a continuous, though disrupted, tradition from antiquity until the present time. Until the mid-19th century it was primarily concerned with representational and Classical modes of production, after which time more modern, abstract and conceptual forms gained favor.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the history of painting:
In the visual arts, late modernism encompasses the overall production of most recent art made between the aftermath of World War II and the early years of the 21st century. The terminology often points to similarities between late modernism and post-modernism although there are differences. The predominant term for art produced since the 1950s is contemporary art. Not all art labelled as contemporary art is modernist or post-modern, and the broader term encompasses both artists who continue to work in modern and late modernist traditions, as well as artists who reject modernism for post-modernism or other reasons. Arthur Danto argues explicitly in After the End of Art that contemporaneity was the broader term, and that postmodern objects represent a subsector of the contemporary movement which replaced modernity and modernism, while other notable critics: Hilton Kramer, Robert C. Morgan, Kirk Varnedoe, Jean-François Lyotard and others have argued that postmodern objects are at best relative to modernist works.
20th-century Western painting begins with the heritage of late-19th-century painters Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and others who were essential for the development of modern art. At the beginning of the 20th century, Henri Matisse and several other young artists including the pre-cubist Georges Braque, André Derain, Raoul Dufy and Maurice de Vlaminck, revolutionized the Paris art world with "wild", multi-colored, expressive landscapes and figure paintings that the critics called Fauvism. Matisse's second version of The Dance signified a key point in his career and in the development of modern painting. 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.
Man on a Balcony, is a large oil painting created in 1912 by the French artist, theorist and writer Albert Gleizes (1881–1953). The painting was exhibited in Paris at the Salon d'Automne of 1912. The Cubist contribution to the salon created a controversy in the French Parliament about the use of public funds to provide the venue for such 'barbaric art'. Gleizes was a founder of Cubism, and demonstrates the principles of the movement in this monumental painting with its projecting planes and fragmented lines. The large size of the painting reflects Gleizes's ambition to show it in the large annual salon exhibitions in Paris, where he was able with others of his entourage to bring Cubism to wider audiences.
Composition VII is an abstract oil painting executed in 1913 by Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian-born painter. It is in the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. Art historians have concluded that the work is a combination of the themes of Resurrection, Judgment Day, the Flood and the Garden of Eden.
Caoutchouc is a painting created circa 1909 by the French artist Francis Picabia. At the crossroads of Cubism and Fauvism, Caoutchouc is considered one of the first abstract works in Western painting. The painting is in the collection of Centre Pompidou, Musée National d'Art Moderne.