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French Art Movements

These are the important French movements, styles, tendencies, groups, and schools that we currently cover. More are on the way!

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French: 37 of 103 Total Movements
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Not relying on the usual facets of photography - focus, composition, and theme - abstract photography uses color, shade and form as its subject matter, much the way abstract painters do.

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Started: 1900

Ended: 1945

Art Deco was an eclectic style that flourished in the 1920s and '30s and influenced art, architecture and design. It blended a love of modernity - expressed through geometric shapes and streamlined forms - with references to the classical past and to exotic locations.

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Started: 1890

Ended: 1905

Art Nouveau was a movement that swept through the decorative arts and architecture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Artists drew inspiration from both organic and geometric forms, evolving elegant designs that united flowing, natural forms with more angular contours.

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Started: 1830

Ended: 1870

Named after the village of Barbizon, France where the artists gathered, the group of outdoor, Naturalist painters included Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Theodore Rousseau, and Jean-Francois Millet.

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Started: 1907

Ended: 1922

Cubism was first developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque between 1907-1911. Its classic phase has two stages: 'Analytic', in which forms seem to be 'analyzed' and fragmented; and 'Synthetic', in which foreign materials such as newspaper and wood veneer are collaged to the surface of the canvas. The style attracted many adherents, both in Paris and abroad, and it would later influence the Abstract Expressionists, particularly Willem de Kooning.

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Started: 1916

Ended: 1924

Dada emerged in the early twentieth century as a literary and artistic movement that celebrated random chance, readymade artworks, and outragous performances. Its practitioners, including Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, and Marcel Duchamp, scorned bourgeois conventions of high culture, especially the appreciation for artistic intention and skill.

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Started: 1919

Ended: 1960s

This ground-breaking practice of photography was inspired by Dada's improvisational practices and the Surrealist's foray into the unconscious, dream, and fantasy realms. Many artists contributed various works that ultimately stretched the possibilities of the medium.

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Started: 1905

Ended: 1933

Expressionism is a broad term for a host of movements in early twentieth-century Germany, from Die Brücke (1905) and Der Blaue Reiter (1911) to the early Neue Sachlichkeit painters in the 20s and 30s. Many German Expressionists used vivid colors and abstracted forms to create spiritually or psychologically intense works, while others focused on depictions of war, alienation, and the modern city.

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Started: 1899

Ended: 1908

Fauvism was an early twentieth-century art movement founded by Henri Matisse and André Derain. Labeled "les fauves" or "wild beasts" by critic Louis Vauxcelles, the artists favored vibrant colors and winding gestural strokes across the canvas.

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Started: 1960s

Feminist art emerged in the 1960s and '70s to explore questions of sex, power, the body, and the ways in which gender categories structure how we see and understand the world. Developing at the same time as many new media strategies, feminist art frequently involves text, installation, and performance elements.

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Started: 1120

Ended: 1400

Gothic art flourished in Western Europe with monumental sculptures and stained-glass window decorated cathedrals - marked by the pointed Gothic arch.

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Started: 1872

Ended: 1892

Impressionism emerged in the mid-nineteent century in opposition to the finished style of academic painting. It often depicted scenes of daily life, and used painterly strokes and shifting color areas to capture the effects of light and atmosphere.

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Started: 1970s

Installation art is a genre of contemporary art-making in which two- and three-dimensional materials are used to transform a particular site into an immersive space for the visitor. Installations may include sculptural, found, sound-based, and performance elements, and can be permanent or ephemeral.

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Started: 1914

Ended: 1970

The International Style was a style of modern architecture that emerged in the 1920s and '30s. It emphasized balance, the importance of function, and clean lines devoid of ornamentation. Glass and steel buildings, with less emphasis on conrete, is the most common and pure realization of structures in this style.

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Started: 1854

Ended: 1920

Japonism (Japonisme in French) describes the influence of Japanese art, especially woodblock prints, on French artists in the second half of the nineteenth century. Many Post-Impressionists were influenced by the flat blocks of color, the emphasis on design, and the everyday subject matter.

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Started: 1954

Kinetic art is usually a sculptural construction comprised of moving components, powered by wind, a motor or the viewers themselves. Its kinesis is what gives the artwork its overall effect, hence the name. The first artwork generally credited as Kinetic Art was Marcel Duchamp's Bicycle Wheel (1913). Some of the medium's most famous practitioners include Alexander Calder, Naum Gabo and Jean Tingeuly.

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Started: 1880's

Ended: 1910's

Les Nabis were a group of Post-Impressionist artists in 1890s Paris including Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard, and Édouard Vuillard. They combined Impressionist brushstrokes with vivid colors, an at-times mystical or symbolic subject matter, and an interest in patterned and repeating backgrounds.

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Started: 1520

Ended: 1620

Mannerism is an artistic style which developed in the late Renaissance which exaggerated empahisis on proportion, balance, and ideal beauty.

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Started: 1820s

Ended: 1880s

Naturalism is a movement within painting where the human subject is depicted in natural habitats and social milieus, with an emphasis on visual accuracy.

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Started: 1884

Ended: 1935

Neo-Impressionism was founded by Georges Seurat in the 1880s. It brought a new and quasi-scientific approach to the Impressionists' interests in light and color, along with new approaches to the application of paint, sometimes in dots and dashes. Its followers were drawn to modern urban scenes as well as landscapes and seascapes.

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French: 37 of 103 Total Movements

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