To choose the topic of the art of the 20th century and all its famous painters are to choose an exciting, multifaceted, revolutionary period in the history of arts. This period represents the stage in which artists broke away from tradition and forever revolutionize the view of arts. The arts of this century took deep roots in the immediate socio-political reality and highly influential artistic and technological developments from the late 19th century. The Arts created in the 20th century was such that goes beyond its pure visual approach, hides an intellectual theory behind its mystifying façade and reaffirms and denies itself in exceptional ways.
The 20th century recorded vibrant explorations of Expressionism, Fauvism, Cubism and Constructivism, Social Realism, Dadaism, Minimalism and other art movements. Every movement had its famous painters, ones that remain unbeatable as the ultimate creators of new ideas. These painters have continued to influence the upcoming generation of talented individuals who embraced their legacy and continued their contribution to the evolution of contemporary art today. Their intelligence and intellect remain a force to be reckoned with and the very spine of the 21st-century painting. Here is the list of the most influential artist of the 20th century.
KAZIMIR MALEVICH: Kazimir Malevich is also referred to as the Supreme Artist who rebelled against the dominating Social Realism and tradition in painting. He is the legendary creator of Suprematism and colour like White on White and Black Square on White Ground which in the mid-1910s shook the art world to its core. Kazimir Malevich believed that painting had to be free of social or political content, pure aesthetic, focused solely on its own form, line, shape and colour. He also believed that painting should evoke that ultimate subliminal feeling in its viewer. He proclaimed himself a “Cubo-Futurist” artist under the influence of the two movements at their peak in 1912.
PABLO PICASSO: Pablo Picasso is referred to as the Father of Cubism. Pablo Picasso is arguably the a figure of modernism and co-creator of one of the most influential movements; the Cubism. He introduced multiple points of view and various interpretation of a single subject that challenged the way we viewed our entire existence. Pablo Picasso’s art, influenced by French Impressionist art at the beginning of the 20th century, spanned a number of periods such as the Blue and the Rose. He also had a great impact on the further development of painting, sculpture, ceramics and printmaking.
JACKSON POLLOCK: Jackson Pollock is considered as one of the greatest and most prominent American painters. Jackson Pollock was a protégé of one wealthy collector and patron, Peggy Guggenheim. He was also called “Jack the Dripper” and was the pioneer of Abstract Expressionism. He is an artist who dripped and smeared his paint onto the laying canvas through a series of movements and gestures, thus giving life to Action Painting. His artworks ooze with drama, tension and energy, rejecting all the traditional techniques religiously used for centuries prior and inspired by the Mexican muralism and Surrealist automatism. Jackson Pollock artistic career was cut short by his untimely death in a car accident at the age of 44.
GEORGIA O’KEEFFE: Georgia refused to settle for the role of the wife of US photographer Alfred Stieglitz by becoming one of the most famous painters of her country and beyond. Georgia O’Keeffe and her sumptuous semi-abstract flowers in all beauty and glory marked the history of 20th-century art. She was also known for her captivating urban cityscapes, landscapes and still life. Georgia artwork was soaked in sublime colours and reminiscent shapes. Georgia O’Keeffe was an independent artist whose paintings stood out in the slightly hectic modernist scene of her time.
SALVADOR DALI: Salvador Dali is one of the most famous painters whose artworks never seize to amaze and intrigue. Salvador Dali was known for some of the colour pieces that are nothing short of a scrupulous visual representation of dreams and an astonishing creative state of mind. Salvador Dali is also considered the principal innovator of “paranoia criticism”. The paranoia criticism refers to a philosophy of art making that is ”irrational understanding based on the interpretive-critical association of delirious phenomena.” This philosophy is evident in his paintings and artworks.
Other notable artists of the 20th century include;
- Piet Mondrian (Abstract Painter)
- Frida Kahlo (Painful Reality Painter)
- Francis Bacon (The Troubled Irish)
- Andy Warhol (Pop Master)
- Jean Michel Basquiat (The Graffiti King)