Modern Artists Full List Political Artists


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Political Artists

Below are biographies and analysis of the work of the modern artists whose work was particularly political in nature and aspirations. More additions are on the way!

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Political Artists: 52 of 355 Total Artists

Serbian-American Artist

Movements and Styles: Performance Art, Feminist Art

Born: November 30, 1946 - Belgrade, Yugoslavia

Marina Abramović's is one of the key artist in the performance art movement. Her work often involves putting herself in grave danger and performing lengthy, harmful routines that result in her being cut or burnt, or enduring some privation.


Chinese Conceptual Artist

Movement: Conceptual Art

Born: August 28, 1957 - Beijing, China

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese Conceptual artist and activist. His pieces explore many themes, including history, society, human rights, and the freedom of speech. Weiwei's open critique of the Chinese government has caused him many problems with Chinese authorities and challenged the establishment in an epic way.


British Graffiti artist, political activist, and film director


Born: c. 1965 - 1974 - Bristol, England

Banksy is a contemporary British Street/Graffiti artist who in recent years has received enormous attention for his politicized and guerilla-style wall murals and large installations. Banksy's style is characterized by its dark humor and an iconic stenciling technique.


American Painter

Movement: Neo-Expressionism

Born: December 22, 1960 - Brooklyn, New York

Died: August 12, 1988 - New York, New York, USA

Jean-Michel Basquiat was an American painter who rose to fame in the 1980s, and was the first African-American artist to gain international acclaim. His emotionally-charged paintings gave rise to graffiti art and the Neo-Expressionist movement, and are still considered among the most avant-garde artworks of the late-20th century.


American Painter and Collagist

Movements and Styles: Cubism, Collage, Harlem Renaissance

Born: September 2, 1911 - Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Died: March 12, 1988 - New York, New York, USA

Romare Bearden celebrated the black American experience, which he integrated into greater American modernism. He found his own voice by creating collages made up of cut and torn photographs found in popular magazines that he then reassembled into visually powerful statements.


Italian Painter, Sculptor, and Theoretician

Movements and Styles: Futurism, Cubism, Neo-Impressionism

Born: October 19, 1882 - Reggio Calabria, Italy

Died: August 17, 1916 - Sorte, Italy

Umberto Boccioni was an Italian painter and sculptor. Like the other Futurists, his work centered on the portrayal of movement, speed, and technology. After moving to Milan in 1907, he became acquainted with the Futurists, including the famous poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, and became one of the movement's main theorists.


French Painter

Movements and Styles: Realism, Impressionism

Born: August 19, 1848 - Paris, France

Died: February 21, 1894 - Gennevilliers, France

Gustave Caillebotte was a nineteenth-century French painter and one of the Impressionist artists, though his style resembled Realism more than Impressionism. Caillebotte was also an early practitioner of using photography for composing his images, a prominent art patron, and an outspoken supporter of other Impressionists like Pissarro, Monet, and Renoir. His vast wealth also allowed Caillebotte to fund several exhibitions of Impressionist art, and to convince the Louvre to acquire many important works.


French Photographer and Filmmaker

Movements and Styles: Modern Photography, Straight Photography, Photojournalism, Documentary Photography

Born: August 22, 1908 - Chantelop-en-Brie, France

Died: August 3, 2004 - Montjustin, France

The French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson defined the field of photojournalism and created some of the most memorable photos of the greatest world events of his era. He also brilliantly captured "the decisive moment", the split second when an intersting and powerful composition is best photographed.


Bulgarian-American Sculptor, Photographer, and Conceptual Artist

Movements and Styles: Nouveau Réalisme, Environmental Art

Born: June 13, 1935 - Gabrovo, Bulgaria

Christo is a Bulgarian land and environmental artist, best known as one half of the married artist team Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Together, Christo and Jeanne-Claude created temporary land art installations, so grand in scale and ambition that controversy often followed. The best known examples of their work include Wrapped Coast (1969) in Little Bay, Australian, Wrapped Reichstag (1995) in Berlin, and The Gates (2004) in New York City.


French Painter

Movement: Realism

Born: June 10, 1819 - Ornans, Doubs, France

Died: December 31, 1877 - La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland

Gustave Courbet was a French painter and chief figure in the Realist movement of the mid-19th century. His paintings often contained an emotional bleakness, and were praised for their precision and use of light. Along with Delacroix, Courbet was a key influence on the Impressionists.

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French Painter, Sculptor, Printmaker, Caricaturist

Movements and Styles: Romanticism, Realism

Born: February 26, 1808 - Marseille, France

Died: February 10, 1879 - Valmondois, France

Honore Daumier was an accomplished artist in several media, but especially well-known for his political caricatures and satirical art and key member of the Realism movement.


French Painter

Movement: Neoclassicism

Born: August 30, 1748 - Paris, France

Died: December 29, 1825 - Brussels, Belgium

Jacques Louis David was a French neoclassical artist who is best known for his historical, iconic paintings include 'The Oath of the Horatii,' 'The Death of Marat' and 'The Coronation of Napoleon.' Beyond tremendous talent and influence, David proved adept at working with multiple political regimes during the turbulent years of the French Revolution.


Flemish Painter, Engraver, Writer, and Musician

Movements and Styles: Realism, Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism, Expressionism

Born: April 13, 1860 - Ostend, Belgium

Died: November 19, 1949 - Ostend, Belgium

James Ensor's complex use of allegory and eccentric subject matter, such as carnivals, puppetry, and skeletons, made him one of the nineteenth century's most innovative and important visual artists.


American Photographer, Writer, and Photojournalist

Movements and Styles: Modern Photography, Straight Photography, Photojournalism

Born: November 3, 1903 - St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Died: April 10, 1975 - New Haven, Connecticut, USA

The photographs of Walker Evans told the story of American working-class life with an exacting frankness that was truly revolutionary for its time. He is best well-known for his documentation of the effects of the Great Depression, especially for the iconic portrait of a Southern farmer's wife.


French Painter

Movement: Romanticism

Born: September 26, 1791 - Rouen, France

Died: January 26, 1824 - Paris, France

Géricault was a French painter and lithographer during the early nineteenth century. Heavily influenced by the Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens and the Baroque paintings of Velasquez, Gericault became a pioneer in the Romantic period of French painting - as highlighted in his master work: Raft of the Medusa.


Russian Painter, Writer, Set and Costume Designer, and Illustrator

Movements and Styles: Rayonism, Russian Futurism, Performance Art, Proto-Feminist Artists

Born: June 21, 1881 - Nagaevo, Tula Province, Russia

Died: October 17, 1962 - Paris, France

Goncharova was part of the Russian avant garde generation involved in a relentless exploration of different visual styles. She also co-founded Rayonism with her life partner Mikhail Larionov.


Spanish Draftsman

Movements and Styles: Cubism, Surrealism, Modern Sculpture

Born: September 21, 1876 - Barcelona, Spain

Died: March 27, 1942 - Arcueil, Paris, France

Julio Gonzalez was a Catalan-Spanish sculptor best known for bronze and iron welding, creating many famous semi-abstract works that often highlighted the horros of war.


Spanish Painter and Printmaker

Movement: Romanticism

Born: March 30, 1746 - Fuendetodos, Spain

Died: April 16, 1828 - Bordeaux, France

Francisco Goya was an eighteenth-century Spanish painter, and is considered by many to be "the father of modern painting." Informed by the Baroque style and the Classicists, Goya's art was part of the Romanticism movement, but also contained provocative elements such as social critiques, nudes, war, and allegories of death. He is considered a major influence on the works of Manet, Picasso, and Dali.


American Photographers, Designers, Activists and Conceptual Artists

Movements and Styles: Feminist Art, Contemporary Art

Born: 1984

The Guerrilla Girls are a radical feminist activist group that agitates for women's equality in museums and the art world. Originating in the 1980s and active to this day, they are famous for their poster designs and the gorilla masks their members wear as disguises.


American Graffiti Artist, Sculptor, and Muralist

Movements and Styles: Graffiti Art, Neo Pop Art

Born: May 4, 1958 - Reading, Pennsylvania

Died: February 16, 1990 - New York, New York

Keith Haring was a crucial part of the 1980s New York City art, performance and street scenes, creating graffiti-inspired works and drawings, often in public places such as the subway.

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Political Artists: 52 of 355 Total Artists

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