The artistic movements of modern art to know

With the passage to the XXth century, modern art takes off. Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky, Malevich, the Delaunays, and all the others constitute a teeming avant-garde, which is divided into numerous artistic movements during the first half of the century. Experiments are multiplying thanks to painters who always venture further into the unknown ... To find your way among all the artistic trends that punctuate the history of modern art, Artsper offers you a summary this week!


It appeared in 1907, and cubism is the first movement to no longer offer a simple imitation of reality. Cubist artists were inspired by forms of primitive art, which then experienced a resurgence of interest. Now the volume in all it,s dimensions decomposes and reassembles. Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, and Fernand Léger are the main representatives.

Gino Severini, 1919, Bohémien Jouant de L'Accordéon (The Accordion Player), Museo del Novecento, Milan

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Born in Italy in 1909, Futurism is inherited from Cubist forms and thought. It affects literature, painting as well as sculpture. Fascinated by movement, modern society, and machines, futurists like Boccioni, Russolo, or Marinetti try to break them down and represent them on the canvas.

Umberto Boccioni, 1913, Dynamism of a Cyclist (Dinamismo di un ciclista), oil on canvas, 70 x 95 cm, Gianni Mattioli Collection, on long-term loan to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice

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Geometric abstraction

Abstraction, a real revolution in modern art in the 20th century, was born around 1910 under the brushes of Piet Mondrian, Vassily Kandinsky, or Kasimir Malevich. The first abstract works come from spiritual beliefs or take music as a motif, two subjects that figuration cannot represent. In their expression, the artists thus seek purity and simplification through the use of geometric shapes.

František Kupka, Amorpha, Fugue en deux couleurs (Fugue in Two Colors), 1912, oil on canvas, 210 x 200 cm, National Gallery in Prague

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This movement, of which Munch was the precursor, appeared at the beginning of the 20th century in Germany and North’s countries, where it was opposed to academicism. On the eve of the First World War, expressionist works deliver a pessimistic and gloomy vision of the world. The deformation is used at will to reflect the inner feeling of figurative realism. The current splits into two groups: Die Brucke (The Bridge) and Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), which later leads to abstraction.

Franz Marc, Fighting Forms, 1914

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It was Guillaume Apollinaire who in 1912 qualified certain aspects of avant-garde painting as Orphism. It was inspired by the salon’s name in which the first works of the movement were exhibited: the Section d'Or. It is about a simplification of the forms, of which only the colors and the light remain visible, the purpose of the works of Orphism being thus to create a feeling of movement in the canvas. Robert and Sonia Delaunay are its representatives, among others.

Robert Delaunay, Champs de Mars. La Tour rouge. 1911. Art Institute of Chicago.

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In 1924, in his manifesto, André Breton described surrealism as follows: it's miles a "natural psychic automatism, via way of means of which one proposes to express, both verbally, or in writing, or in another way, the real functioning of thought. Dictation of thought, withinside the absence of any, manipulate exercised via way of means of motive, aside from any aesthetic or ethical concern […] ”. Thus this creative motion abolishes the borders between the actual and the unreal. The dream turns into a first-rate supply of inspiration, and artists like Dali, Magritte, Ernst, or Picabia provide their very own concept of the world, which is then distorted in step with everyone's wishes. It is the give-up of the reign of motive in art.

Giorgio de Chirico, The Red Tower (La Tour Rouge), 1913, Guggenheim Museum

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Abstract expressionism

Considered the primary important inventive motion withinside the United States, summary expressionism questions gesture and color. After the second one, the global struggle is its miles divided into faculties that are motion portrays and color-field portray. In the primary, the artists’ paintings on their gestures and their manner of making use of paint, especially through growing the dripping method. The dating among the artist's frame and his canvas intensifies, as evidenced through Jackson Pollock's approach. In the second one, the artists query the flatness in their canvas and need to put off any depth impact. The call color-field comes from the massive flat regions of color representing it and that we discover as an example withinside the works of Rothko.

Armand Guillaumin's Sunset at Ivry, 1873. Demonstrates the Impressionist technique of "loading" paint onto the canvas to create a layered impact.

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Art Brut

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the painter Jean Dubuffet first used the term “art brut” to describe the works produced by people with no artistic culture: children, the mentally ill, and the marginalized in general. This gives rise to productions that are often naive, dark, and contain a symbolic vocabulary.

Art Brut gives rise to productions that are often naive, dark, and contain a symbolic vocabulary.
Art Brut

Lyrical abstraction

Lyrical abstraction, embodied by artists like Nicolas de Staël and theorized in 1951, is a movement that is built in opposition to that of geometric abstraction. The artist's feelings are laid down on the canvas with the help of non-figurative forms, and the works of lyrical abstraction reveal the gestures that led to the birth of forms.

John Hoyland, Lebanon, 2007. John Hoyland (1934–2011), was one of England's leading abstract painters.

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