Top 10 Best Modern Art and Their Masterpieces

What is Modern Art?

Modern art is a new form of art in which artists embraced new ways of creating art by throwing out the old and traditional ways aside. Modern art expands the concept of reality and shifted the focus of art from church and wealthy patrons to society and its current situation. Modern art enabled people to interpret art in different ways based on their creativity. When did modern art emerge and who is the founder of modern art? For how long was modern art sustained and what styles were used in modern art? These questions strike the mind of the reader after knowing what modern art is. So, let’s discuss it briefly.

The Key Themes

The origin and Founder of Modern Art: Modern art emerged in 1863 and the founder of modern art is a French artist, Édouard Manet is the founder of modern art and his artwork ‘Le Déjeuner Sur sherbet is the first modern art, which was exhibited in Salon des Refuses in Paris in 1863.

The Period and Styles of Modern art: The period of modern art is considered from 1860 to 1970. Different styles are used in modern art including Futurism, Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, Surrealism, Abstraction, Art Nouveau, Bauhaus, etc.

Top 10 Modern Art Artist and Their Masterpieces

  1. Pablo Picasso: (1881 – 1973)

Spanish artist Pablo Picasso is considered one of the most remarkable and famous modern art artists. Pablo Picasso is the founding father of cubism and inventor of constructed sculpture. Picasso portrayed the situation of society in a very realistic way, he showed his extraordinary artistic capabilities at a very young age. In his 91 years age, Picasso devoted 80 years to the production of art that resulted in a great contribution to the development of modern artwork in the 20th Century. Throughout his life, Pablo Picasso made 1900 artworks.

A Masterpiece of Pablo Picasso: Guernica (1937)

Guernica is considered the masterpiece of Pablo Picasso which was painted in 1937. 

This painting is titled with the name of the city in Spain that was bombed of the planes of Nazis during the Civil war in Spain, this event resulted in the killing and wounding of hundreds of people and destruction of the ancient town. Pablo Picasso made this painting to portray the destruction that was made by Nazis in that invasion.

2. Vincent Van Gogh: (1881 – 1973)

Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh is considered one of the prominent and most famous artists of modern art in the 20th century. Vincent Van Gogh was a post-impressionist artist who created almost 2100 artworks throughout his life. 

A Masterpiece of Vincent Van Gogh: The Starry Night (1889)

The Starry Night is considered as the masterpiece of Vincent Van Gogh which was painted in 1889 when Vincent Van Gogh was a mental patient in the asylum at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Vincent Van Gogh painted this painting to express his state of shock. The swirling composition of the sky and blue melancholic color make the painting more prominent to evoke emotions. Because of his mental instability, Vincent Van Gough shot himself with a revolver and died two days after that.

3. Frida Kahlo: (1907 – 1954)

Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is considered one of the most famous modern art artists of the 20th century. Frida Kahlo had an accident during her childhood due to which she undergoes an operation and became unable to have children. Frida Kahlo portrayed her life’s physical and mental loneliness in her paintings.

A Masterpiece of Frida Kahlo: The Two Fridas (1939)

Two Fridas are considered as the masterpiece of Kahlo Frida which was painted in 1939, in which she portrays the situation of her life before and after her divorce from Diego Rivera. In the painting, two women are sitting next to each other, the first one is wearing a traditional dress with a broken heart which symbolizes her life before divorce and the second one is wearing a modern dress with independence which reflects her life after divorce.

4. Salvador Dali: (1904 – 1989)

Spanish artist Salvador Dali is one the most famous modern art artists in the 20th century, who favored Surrealism. Salvador Dali is known for exploring subconscious imagery. Salvador Dali died because of heart failure and was buried beneath the museum in Figueres that was made by him. 

A Masterpiece of Salvador Dali: The Persistence of Memory (1931)

The Persistence of Memory is considered as the masterpiece of Salvador Dali painted in 1931. In 1932, The Persistence of Memory was exhibited in Julien Levy Gallery and then taken to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1934. In his painting, Salvador symbolizes the persistence of time to one’s experiences in sleep.

5. Claude Monet: (1904 – 1989)

French artist Claude Monet is considered the founder of the modern art movement Impressionism. The movement is named in his painting Impression, Sunrise. Claude Monet emphasized candid poses, vivid colors, an accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities through Impressionism.

A Masterpiece of Claude Monet: Water Lilies series (1896 – 1926)

The Water Lilies series is considered the masterpiece of Claude Monet. Water Lilies series consist of almost 250 paintings, created from 1896 to 1926. In the Water Lilies series, Claude Monet painted flowers, trees, etc. from his garden. The main purpose of the creation of this series was to reject the traditional use of colors, shapes, and the depiction of light by using it in a new way.  

6. Andy Warhol: (1928 – 1987)

American artist Andy Warhol was one of the famous artists of Pop Art which is the last prominent movement of modern art. In Pop Art, the artists used images from advertisements, comic books, or any other popular culture. Andy Warhol is also known as “Pope of Pop”.

A Masterpiece of Andy Warhol: Marilyn Diptych (1962) 

Marilyn Diptych is considered the masterpiece of Andy Warhol painted in 1967. This painting is a reflection of the contrast between the public life of the most famous star and her private self.

7. Wassily Kandinsky: (1866– 1944)

Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky is one the most famous artist of modern art, who was a pioneer of abstract art. He was not only a painter but a theorist also. 

A Masterpiece of Wassily Kandinsky: Composition VII (1913)

Composition VII is considered is the masterpiece of Wassily Kandinsky painted in 1913. In Composition VII, themes like Resurrection, Judgment Day, the Flood, and the Garden of Eden are combined. Composition VII is inspired by Resurrection, which is highly related to the destruction experienced by Wassily Kandinsky in Germany during WWI.

8. Henri Matisse: (1869 – 1954)

French artist Henri Matisse is also one of the prominent figures like Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, who are the founder of 20th-century modern art. Matisse has contributions in different Media like sculpture and paper cut-outs, but he is famous for his paintings and considered as the leading figure of Fauvism.

A Masterpiece of Henri Matisse: The Dance (1909-1910)

The Dance is considered the masterpiece of Henri Matisse which was painted in 1910. The most prominent feature of this painting is the composition of dancing characters. This new style of composition is considered a key point in Matisse’s contribution to modern painting. This painting was made to display comfort, happiness, and positivity in life.

9. Jackson Pollock: (1912– 1956)

American artist Jackson Pollock is considered the most famous and prominent figure of Abstract Expressionism. Jackson Pollock is a very famous practitioner of drip painting. His action paintings and Expressionist works are widely known in the world.

A Masterpiece of Jackson Pollock: Number 5, 1948

Number 5, 1948 is considered the masterpiece of Jackson Pollock. In this painting, Pollock portrayed a depiction of chaos like a bird’s nest which is a prime example of abstract expressionism. In this painting, Pollock expressed his feelings through colors and lines.

10. Georgia O’Keeffe: (1912– 1956)

American artist George O’Keeffe is considered one of the most famous modern art artists of the 20th century, who deliberately departed from the use of traditional forms of expression. In American modernism, George O’Keeffe became the leading figure by challenging the boundaries of artistic style with her paintings. George O’Keeffe was awarded by Presidential Medal of freedom in 1977 and is also known as the ‘Mother of American Modernism’.

A Masterpiece of Georgia O’Keeffe: Black Iris III (1926)

Black Iris III is considered the masterpiece of Georgia O’Keeffe painted in 1926. Black Iris is used for the meaning of Wisdom, mystery, independence, and rebellion. Linda Nochlin suggested that black iris is used to symbolize the morphological structure of female genitalia 


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