A movement in French painting which was at its height from the late 1860s to mid 1880s, and whose influence was felt until 1900.
Turning away from the stress on fine finish and realistic rendering in academic art, French Impressionists sought new ways to describe effects of light and movement, often using rich colors. Drawn to modern life, they often painted the city, but they also captured landscapes and scenes of middle-class leisure-taking in the suburbs.
A term coined by critic Roger Fry to describe various reactions against Impressionism which began around 1886. The movement encompassed Symbolism and Neo-Impressionism before ceding to Fauvism around 1905
Post-Impressionists turned away from effects of light and atmosphere to explore new avenues such as color theory and personal feeling.
A movement in French painting that began around 1898 but reached its peak and quickly dissolved around 1906
Evolving out of Post-Impressionism and Symbolism, the loosely affiliated group of artists developed a decorative, anti-naturalistic style to express personal feelings towards their subjects. Formally, their work is characterized by vivid, often unmixed color, striking surface design and a bold approach to execution.
Maurice de Vlaminck
The movement began with the founding of the Die Brücke group in Dresden in 1905, but its influence was later felt throughout Germany and beyond until at least 1920.
Reacting against Impressionism, but influenced by Symbolism, the Expressionists focussed on communicating spirituality and feeling in art. Drawn to primitivism and to modern life, they employed distorted imagery and a rich palette to convey profound emotion.
The most important Italian avant-garde art movement of the 20th century was driven by a group of chiefly Milanese painters, after the writer Tommaso Marinetti published the Futurist Manifesto in a French newspaper in 1909.
Futurism celebrated advanced technology and urban modernity. Its members wished to destroy older forms of culture and to demonstrate the beauty of modern life - of the machine, speed, violence and change. Although there were some Futurist architects, most of its adherents were artists who worked in traditional media such as painting and sculpture, and in an eclectic range of styles inspired by Post-Impressionism. Nevertheless, they were interested in embracing both popular and avant-garde media.
Developed by Picasso and Braque around 1907, the approach influenced artists on an international scale into the early 1920s and well beyond.
Narrowly conceived, the approach focussed on a new way of describing space, volume and mass in art, and led to the development of important new pictorial devices. More generally, Cubism pointed new paths towards abstract art, and suggested ways of describing the appearance and experience of life in the modern urban world.
The Russian abstract art movement was the brainchild of Kazimir Malevich. It grew out of Russian Futurism and the ideas of avant-garde poets, and also literary critics of the early 1910s who were interested in the functioning of language and the nature of literature as an art.
An interest in the nature of language encouraged Suprematists to reduce art to its essentials. They devised a radically abstract art composed mostly of simple geometric forms. Generally expressed through painting, it often emphasised the texture of the paint as one of the fundamental, irreducible characteristics of the medium. Although inspired by rational enquiry, the movement occasionally took on a strange, absurdist tone, and its devotion to abstraction made it sometimes seem mystical.
Launched in Zurich in 1916 and quickly inspired similar groups in New York, Berlin, Cologne, Paris and elsewhere. Its influence waned after the Paris group collapsed and ceded to Surrealism.
Inspired by revulsion at the carnage of WWI, the artistic and literary movement developed an anarchic opposition to nationalism, rationalism and all dominant bourgeois values. All the various Dada groups opposed realism and embraced avant-garde shock tactics, but their tone differed; German Dada was far more political than the bohemian French strain.
Constructivism was the last and most influential modern art movement to flourish in Russia in the 20th century. It evolved as the Bolsheviks came to power in the October Revolution of 1917, and initially acted as a lightning rod for the hopes and ideas of many of the most advanced Russian artists who supported the revolution's goals.
Constructivism borrowed ideas from Cubism, Suprematism and Futurism, but bent them into a new approach to making objects, one which sought to abolish the traditional artistic concern with composition, and replace it with 'construction.' It stressed the inherent physical characteristics of materials, rather than any symbolic associations they might support. While seeking to express the dynamism of the modern world, and that of the rapidly changing Russian society, Constructivists also hoped to develop ideas that could be put to use in mass production.
Developed out of the collapse of the Paris Dada movement in 1924, it remained powerful until WWII and maintained a presence through the mid-1960s.
Surrealism shared the anarchic rejection of conventional bourgeois values that motivated the Dada movement. Powerfully influenced by Freudian theories, Surrealists sought ways to challenge reality by expressing the unconscious in art.
The most influential movement in post-war abstract painting, it flourished in New York in the 1940s and 1950s.
The Abstract Expressionists were committed to an expressive art of profound emotion and universal themes. They were interested in myth and archetypal symbols, and understood painting as a struggle between self-expression and the chaos of the unconscious. Sometimes called the ‘New York School,’ they included both color field painters and painters of gestural abstraction.
Kinetic art has its roots in the Dada and Constructivists movements, but it flourished as a style following the exhibition “Le Mouvement” at a Paris Gallery in 1955, after which it attracted an international following.
Kinetic art – art that depends on movement for its effects – was launched as a style by artists seeking to create more interactive relationships with the viewer, and new visual experiences. It inspired new kinds of art that went beyond the boundaries of the traditional, hand-crafted, static object, encouraging the idea that the beauty of an object could be the product of optical illusions or mechanical movement. The style is closely related to Op art.
A term designating a trend within Abstract Expressionism. It was coined by Clement Greenberg in the essay "American-type Painting", 1955, and his support for it encouraged its survival into the 1970s.
Greenberg believed that there was a tendency in modern painting to apply color in fields, and some recent painters were bringing that to a climax. Some early color field painting suggested grand and lyrical moods, while later work bearing geometric motifs bordered on Conceptual and Pop art.
The movement developed simultaneously in various cities in the mid 1950s. Its influence is still felt in contemporary art.
London's Independent Group may have been the first to consciously explore popular subject matter in their art, but Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg also made use of popular imagery as a route away from Abstract Expressionism, and towards a Neo-Dada style in the late 1950s. The movement truly flourished in New York in the 1960s, but it also saw manifestations in Paris, with Nouveau Realisme, and in the work of German artists such as Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter.
Op art may have its roots in artists’ age-old fascination with the nature of perception, with optical effects and illusions. But Op only flourished as a style in the late 1950s, becoming the object of great popular enthusiasm in the mid-1960s.
Op art was propelled by fascination with the links between perception, technology and psychology. Some artists embraced it out of enthusiasm for research and experiment, some with the hope that the effects they mastered might find a wide public and hence integrate modern art into society in new ways. To many, it seemed the perfect style for an age defined by the onward march of science, by advances in computing, aerospace, and television.
A term coined by critic Jules Langsner in 1959 to describe the developments of a few California painters.
In the wake of Abstract Expressionism many painters began to move towards greater clarity of design, and to eschew the grandeur and melancholy of much gestural painting. Langsner observed this first in California, but the trend was widespread and attracted more adherents as the 1960s developed.
A loosely affiliated group of mostly New York-based artists began to work in a similar mode in the early 1960s.
An approach to art - principally sculptural - which stressed anonymous, industrial manufacturing and austere, geometric forms. Led by articulate spokesmen such as former critic Donald Judd, the movement became a highly self-conscious attempt to overturn previous conventions of sculpture, to create objects with simple, indivisible forms, and to reject the appearance of art.
The term derives from the title of an exhibition organized by critic Clement Greenberg in 1964.
Post-painterly abstraction designates a variety of developments in painting in the wake of Abstract Expressionism, many of which moved towards greater clarity of design and color. The term embraces the 'hard-edge' painting of Frank Stella, Larry Poons and Ellsworth Kelly; the 'color field' painting of Helen Frankenthaler and Jules Olitski; and 'Washington Color Painters' such as Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland.
Developed simultaneously in the mid 1960s in the United States, Latin America and Europe. The movement waned in the mid 1970s but its influence is still profound.
The movement is marked by a focus on ideas and communication rather than visual perception. Some of its practitioners have been drawn to a highly intellectual critique of the institution of art itself. Many eschew objects altogether, yet others have created a diverse output of media, from maps and found objects to texts and photographs.
Born almost simultaneously in the mid-1960s with the movement that fathered it, Minimalism, Post-Minimalism was less a coherent avant-garde than a splintered collection of tendencies including Process art, Performance, Land art and Body art.
Post-Minimalism describes a collection of reactions against the abstraction, austerity, and formalism of the Minimalist style. But it also describes work that extended its ideas: some Process artists pushed further its interests in the materiality of sculpture; some elaborated its notion that sculpture could expand beyond the object – they developed new ideas about the placement of sculpture, and pioneered Land art; and others, including many feminist artists, reintroduced qualities of emotional expression into Minimalism’s highly impersonal style.
Performance was first embraced by Futurism and Dada, but it has been exploited by many avant-gardes. It flourished as a movement itself in the 1960s and found exponents internationally. Performance art of this period was particularly focused on the body and is often referred to as Body Art.
Performance is a genre in which art is presented "live," usually by the artist but sometimes with collaborators or performers. Artists have turned to it whenever they have become disenchanted with conventional media such as painting and sculpture, and are seeking to rejuvenate art. In the 1960s, the movement reflected widespread attempts to escape the boundaries of the traditional art object. In some ways it extended the “action painting” of the Abstract Expressionists, in other ways it gave expression to politics, to the rise of feminism and the anti-war movement.
Neo-Expressionism can be traced to the rise of German artist Georg Baselitz and his Neue Wilden group from the late 1960s, but it flourished internationally in the 1980s.
Disaffected with the intellectualism of Minimalism and Conceptual Art, many artists returned to painting in an expressionist style which reasserted the creative power of the individual. This took place almost simultaneously throughout the world and was marked by interests in primitivism, graffiti, and the revival of historical styles.
Art Nouveau rose to prominence when visual artists, designers and architects began adopting modern and naturalistic modes of decoration, as opposed to the ornateness of Victorian-era design. This "new art" stemmed from the Arts & Crafts movement and aspects of Japonisme.
During its brief reign, Art Nouveau went by several different names: Jugendstil, stile Liberty and Sezessionsstil, which can be attributed to the style's vast influence and number of practitioners throughout Europe, yet all represented a decidedly modern take on decorative design. Simple floral patterns and "whiplash" curves are common throughout, regardless of medium. The movement's influence remains widely evident today, surviving in definitive 20th-century architecture, furniture and jewelry design, and most notably the paintings of Gustav Klimt.
Louis Comfort Tiffany
The Bauhaus was an art school in Weimar, Germany, founded by Walter Gropius in 1919, that opened to promote a comprehensive and multi-disciplined approach to the arts, encouraging students to practice not just the visual arts, but craft and interior design, architecture, industrial design and typography.
Although a formal school, the name Bauhaus eventually became equated with modern German design from the early 20th century, predating the rise of the Nazis. The Bauhaus style, aka the International Style, was promoted by such luminaries as Gropius and Mies van der Rohe as an approach to design that gave equal measure to form and function, thus doing away with ornate decoration and frills. Those associated with the Bauhaus include Gropius, van der Rohe, Josef Albers, Marcel Breuer, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian.
The Arte Povera ("poor art") movement emerged in 1960s Italy, when an artist collective adopted a radical stance against all established modes of aesthetic order and widely accepted artistic taste. A key influencer of the movement was Italian art critic Germano Celant, whose 1967 book, Arte Povera, promoted ideas of a new art, free from convention.
Prominent Arte Povera artists, such as Alighiero Boetti, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz and Michelangelo Pistoletto, practiced everything from painting and embroidery to conceptual art and performance, all designed to represent an utterly original phase in modern art, away from the dominance of pure abstraction. The artists' common ground was a stance against a market-driven art world, wherein the need for commerce trumped the importance of individual expression.
Born in New York City out of the huge popularity and academism of Abstract Expressionism, the artists in this loose movement wanted to open up the possibilities of art-making.
Artists such as Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg aimed to shift the focus of art away from the existential angst of the artist, and towards the audience, the influence of popular culture, and an overall interpretation of ambiguous meaning. This shift proved important in paving the way to most of the contemporary art that followed.