Artworks produced during the period from approximately 1860 to the 1970s are categorised as Modern Art, the period predating Contemporary Art. Modern artists were renowned for breaking away from the traditions of the past to create pieces which challenged the prevailing notions of art and these artists are the most celebrated of all.
American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) formed part of the American Modernism movement which was most prevalent between the two World Wars. Known for challenging the boundaries of artistic expression, O’Keeffe combined abstraction and representation and is most famous for Black Iris III (1926).
Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) formed part of the Abstract Expressionism movement which was the first American movement to gain international distinction. Incorporating a variety of styles, Pollock’s work conveyed strong emotion and expression through abstraction was is most famous for Number 5, 1948.
Henri Matisse (1869-1954) is considered to be one of the central figures in the foundation of 20th century Modern Art, along with Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp. Even though he worked with a variety of media, Matisse was most renowned for his works as a painter, most notably Dance (1970).
Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) was a pioneer of abstract art and formed part of both Expressionism and Abstract Art movements. Credited with creating the first abstract watercolour, Kandinsky is most famous for Composition VII (1913).
We believe he may have been a fan of Australian sports betting, but Andy Warhol (1928-1987) also formed part of the last prominent Modern Art movement, Pop Art, whose practitioners used familiar imagery from pop culture in their works. Known as the ‘Pope of Pop’, Warhol explored many different mediums and is most well-known for Marilyn Diptych (1962).
Credited as being the founder of the Impressionist movement, Claude Monet (1940-1926) emphasised the use of vivid colours, candid poses, and most significantly the accurate depiction of light. Considered to be one the greatest painters of all time, Monet is most famous for his Water Lilies series (1896-1926).
By rejecting rationalism and realism, Surrealism became one of the most influential movements within Modern Art. Credited with creating some of the most recognisable and celebrated pieces of Surrealist art, Salvador Dali (1904-1989) is most well-known for The Persistence of Memory (1931).
Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) was also a major contributor to Surrealist art, much of which was inspired by the significant injuries she endured after the bus she was travelling in collided with a street trolley car. Her most famous piece is The Two Fridas (1939).
Vincent Van Gogh
A Post-Impressionist artist who famously cut off his own year, Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) is credited with being a major figure in the development of the Modern Art movement and is most well-known for The Starry Night (1889).
By breaking with the traditions of the past and co-founding the Cubism movement, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) became the most influential artist of the 20th century. Though his style changed throughout his career, Picasso is most well-known for Guernica (1937).