Modern Artists Full List Modern Artists in Portraiture


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Modern Artists in Portraiture

Below are biographies and analysis of the work of important modern artists that practiced portraiture. We are adding more artists every week, so stay tuned as the most important artists in modern art are given proper coverage.

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Portrait Artists: 100 of 356 Total Artists

American Photographer

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

Born: March 14, 1923 - New York City, New York

Died: July 26, 1971 - New York City, New York

Diane Arbus is recognized for her insightful street-based compositions and black-and-white portraits of marginalized individuals on the fringes of mainstream society, including images of nudists, transvestites, and mentally and physically handicapped people.


American Photographer

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

Born: May 15, 1923 - New York City, New York

Died: October 1, 2004 - San Antonio, Texas

Richard Avedon revolutionized fashion photography by enlivening his models, by showing them in movement. He also excelled in black-and-white portraiture - celebraties and common folk were exhibited in psychologoically revealing ways. His large and powerful body of work makes Avedon one of the most famous photographers of all time.


irish Painter

Movement: Expressionism

Born: October 28, 1909 - Dublin, Ireland

Died: April 28, 1992 - Madrid, Spain

Francis Bacon was an Irish-born, English painter and one of the 20th century's most celebrated and controversial existentialist artists. Bacon favored dark subject matter, often painting slightly abstracted, biomorphic figures, with bodies contorted or in the throes of madness. Painterly themes of Bacon's include the crucifixion, isolation and the mind's fragility. Bacon was also one of the few English artists of any prominence in modern and contemporary circles during the better part of the 20th century.Expressionism Portraiture Erotic Art Abstraction British


French Painter, Illustrator, and Theatrical Set Designer


Born: February 29, 1908 - Paris, France

Died: February 18, 2001 - Rossiniere, Switzerland

Balthus was a Paris-based modern artist whose controversial paintings explored degrees of voyeurism, innocence, and childhood sexuality.


German-American Sculptor, Photographer, Poet, and Performance Artist

Movements and Styles: Dada, Modern Photography, Performance Art, Readymade, Proto-Feminist Artists

Born: July 12, 1874 - Swinemunde, Germany (now Świnoujście, Poland)

Died: December 14, 1927 - Paris, France

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, the provocateur and essential catalyst for New York Dada movement, upended notions of what was considered art.


German Painter, Printmaker, and Sculptor

Movement: Neo-Expressionism

Born: January 23, 1938 - Deutschbaselitz Germany

Georg Baselitz is a 20th-century German painter and sculptor, and was an originator of the Neo-Expressionist group "Neue Wilden," which focused on subject-based painting and the importance of color. Much of Baselitz's work is noted for its provocative subject matter, often sexual or overtly dark in nature.


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.


French Painter

Movements and Styles: Realism, Impressionism

Born: December 5, 1841 - Montepellier, Hérault, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Died: November 28, 1870 - Beaune-la-Rolande, France

Frédéric Bazille was an Impressionist and Realist painter who came from a wealthy background and was able to help his fellow artists, including Monet, Sisley, and Manet with money and materials. His career and life were cut short, dying in battle during the Franco-Prussian War at just 29 years old.


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.


German Painter, Printmaker, and Draftsman

Movements and Styles: Expressionism, New Objectivity

Born: February 21, 1884 - Leipzig, Germany

Died: December 27, 1950 - New York, New York, USA

Max Beckmann was a German artist, writer, and philosopher commonly associated with the Expressionist movement of the early twentieth century. He abhorred the label 'Expressionism', but juxtaposed scenes from reality by layering figures, colors, and shadows.

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American Painter

Movement: Realism

Born: September 17, 1922 - Cambridge, Maryland

Died: September 18, 1991 - New York, New York, USA

Leland Bell was an American painter and founding teacher of the New York Studio School. A contemporary of the Abstract Expressionists, his work nonetheless maintained aquasi-figurative, quasi-abstract style.


American Painter and Muralist

Movements and Styles: American Regionalism, Synchromism

Born: April 15, 1889 - Neosho, Missouri

Died: January 19, 1975 - Kansas City, Missouri

Thomas Hart Benton was an American painter whose rural and industrial subjects, grand-scale murals, and figurative style were hallmarks of American Regionalism.


French Photographer, Writer, and Political Activist

Movements and Styles: Modern Photography, Dada, Surrealism, Proto-Feminist Artists

Born: October 25, 1894 - Nantes, France

Died: December 8, 1954 - St Helier, Jersey, Great Britain

Cahun's photographs are renowned for blurring the lines between gender and sexuality, as illustrated in her Surrealist-inspired and non-gender specific photomontages and self-portraits.


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.


American Sculptor

Movements and Styles: Surrealism, Kinetic Art

Born: July 22, 1898 - Lawnton, Pennsylvania

Died: November 11, 1976 - New York, New York, USA

Alexander Calder was an American artist who made important contributions to abstract sculpture, hanging mobiles, and kinetic art. His work reflects both modern and Surrealist influences.


Italian Painter

Movement: Mannerism

Born: September 29, 1571 - Caravaggio, Lombardy

Died: July 18, 1610 - Porto Ercole, Lombardy

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian Late Renaissance painter who is considered a master of chiaroscuro. He is known for his hot temper and for making powerful portraits and religious scenes.


British Painter and Decorative Artist

Movement: Proto-Feminist Artists

Born: March 29, 1893 - Hereford, England

Died: March 11, 1932 - Newbury, England

Beyond her dramatic biography and personality, Carrington brought a unique blend of styles to her work, drawing from movements as disparate as Impressionism, Primitivism, and Surrealism. Her sensitive rendering of her subjects reveals an artist with a keen eye who made an unrivalled contribution to European art of the early twentieth century.


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.


American Draftsman, Painter, and Printmaker

Movements and Styles: Impressionism, Proto-Feminist Artists

Born: May 22, 1844 - Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, United States

Died: June 14, 1926 - Mesnil-Theribus, Oise, France

Mary Cassatt was an American painter and printmaker active in France in the late nineteenth century. She was closely associated with Impressionism, and her signature subjects were intimate, domestic scenes of women, mothers, and children.


French Draftsman and Painter

Movement: Post-Impressionism

Born: January 19, 1839 - Aix-en-Provence, France

Died: October 22, 1906 - Aix-en-Provence, France

Paul Cézanne was an influential French Post-Impressionist painter whose depictions of the natural world, based on internal geometric planes, paved the way for Cubism and later modern art movements.

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Portrait Artists: 100 of 356 Total Artists

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