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Art Movements

Learn about the many movements that have altered the art world, influenced politics, and changed our way of viewing the world around us.
a data set by art_geek
created May 30, 2017
MovementExampleImageDescriptionCharacterized ByProminent Artist(s)Period
Abstract ExpressionismNumber 1 (Lavender Mist) by Jackson PollockInspired by the legacy of Surrealism and the post-war feelings of trauma and anxiety, it conveys the struggle for self-expression amidst the chaotic unconscious.Abstraction, chaos, color.Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Hans Hofmann1943-1965
Abstract IllusionismU Invert by Ronald DavisA return in abstract art to the tradition of depicting space as opposed to flatness.Abstraction coupled with light sources, cast shadows, and elements of perspective.Frank Stella, James Harvard, Ronald Davis1970s-Present
AestheticismNocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge by James Whistler"Art for Art's sake"; a rebellion against modern industrialism, this movement is about the pursuit of beauty without any obligation to convey a moral message.Use of subdued colors, simple linear forms, and geometric designs.Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Albert Moore, James Whistler1860-1900
Art DecoSpirit of the Wind by René LaliqueAddition of artistic elements to functional objects.Often simple, pleasing to look at, geometric, symmetrical, and streamlined.René Lalique, A.M. Cassandre, Louis Cartier1900-1945
Art NouveauThe Precious Stones, Amethyst by Alphonse MuchaInspired by organic and geometric forms. Intent on reviving good craftsmanship, neglected in favor of the more traditional fine arts.Linear contours and muted colors used to craft beautiful, and functional, pieces of art. Designs often imitate the forms of plants.Gustav Klimt, Alphonse Mucha, Antoni Guadi1890-1905
Arte PoveraGiap's Igloo by Mario MerzNotable for its use of pre-industrial artisanal materials and rejection of abstract painting and any perceived enthusiasm for technology. Absurd juxtaposition of the new and the old, the natural and the man-made. Produced mainly sculptural art.Mario Merz, Pino Pascali1962-1972
Arts and Crafts MovementVase (1922) by Sarah Irvine and Joseph MeyerA reaction to the impersonal and draining nature of a machine-oriented society, this movement focused on creating artisan work that was both beautiful and useful, with a focus on fulfillment and connection.Influenced by forms in nature and medieval art, especially the Gothic style.William Morris1860-1920
Ashcan SchoolHester Street by George Luks"Art for Life's sake"; rejecting the more traditional definition of realism, this movement celebrated personal vision based on actual experience and the vitality and grit of human life.Sketchy images of dark palette, quick, gestural brushwork, and urban subject matter.Robert Henri, George Luks, George Bellows1900-1915
Body ArtEinhorn (Unicorn) by Rebecca HornUsing the body as a canvas, this movement made art personal and intimate, while forcing the viewer to face uncomfortable truths.The use of the body as or on a canvas, performance art, and personal confrontation with the artist.Carolee Schneemann, Yves Klein, Gina Pane1961-1980
British Pop ArtJust what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? by Richard HamiltonStrongly influenced by American advertising, this movement shook traditional art styles by using contemporary culture and sometimes irrational and random imagery.Collage, commercial screen printing, humor, bold colors and ideas.Eduardo Paolozzi, Richard Hamilton, Peter Blake1947-1969
CoBrA MovementQuestioning Children by Karel AppelA movement opposing the classical art, the rationality of geometric abstraction, and anything seen as a limitation. Emphasis on collaborative work, in opposition to individualism.Heavily influenced by the work of children, the mentally ill, and of ancient peoples.Karel Appel, Constant, Asger Jorn1948-1951
Color FieldUntitled by Clyfford StillAn attempt to connect to the emotions tied up in ancient myths without using any symbols or figures. Avoidance of form or mass, space conceived of as a field which continues beyond the edge of the canvas.Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Helen Frankenthaler, Clyfford StillLate 1940s-Mid 1960s
Conceptual ArtOne and Three Chairs by Joseph KosuthPrizing the idea over the visual components of a piece of art, this movement posited that aesthetics, skill, and expression were irrelevant to how art should be judged. Reduced material presence, simplicity, idea oriented.Joseph Kosuth, Walter de Maria, Sol LeWittMid 1960s-Present
Concrete ArtEndless Form by Max BillArtists of this movement wanted their work to come straight from the mind, rather than to reference any part of the natural, visible world. In this way, the movement was different from other abstract movements.Forms and shapes that are non-referential to the natural world, geometric forms, mathematical rather than sensual or sentimental.Theo van Doesburg, Max Bill1930-1960s
ConstructivismTextile Design by Lyubov PopovaBeginning in early Communist Russia, this movement focused on the replacement of composition with construction. Rather than beauty or expression, art should be about using materials within their best capacities to create objects of function.Clear influence from Cubism and Futurism. Geometric shapes, modern construction, and utility.Alexander Rodchenko, Lyubov Popova, Vladimir Tatlin1915-Late 1930s
CubismLes Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo PicassoAn exploration of open form, fluctuating space, and angular planes.Abandonment of perspective and realism in figure modeling.Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Sonia Delaunay1907-1922
Cubo-FuturismTravelling Woman by Lyubov PopovaThese artists were focused on the intrinsic value of painting outside of meaning or narrative.Broken down forms, displaced viewpoints, contrasting colors and textures, and intersecting spacial planes.Kazimir Malevich, Lyubov Popova, Olga Rozanova1910s
DadaLHOOQ by Marcel DuchampA movement in opposition to bourgeois culture, working towards creating art which was barely planned, avant-garde, and often absurd in nature. Formed in part as an anti-war group, this movement vehemently opposed the nationalist and materialist ideals that had led to WWI.Materials that have had little manipulation by the artist (Readymades) and a sense of satire.Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp, Hugo Ball, Hannah Höch1916-1924
Der Blaue ReiterThe Yellow Cow by Franz MarcIn an effort to pursue the more spiritual values of art, this movement paralleled music and painting, explored synesthesia, and color theory.Abstraction and separated/distinct colors.Marianne von Werefkin, Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc1911-1914
De StijlComposition with Large Red Plane, Yellow, Black, Gray, and Blue by Piet MondrianA response to what they saw as the excessive decoration of the Art Deco movement, these artists believed that the use of geometric shapes was the ideal style. Hope for post-war salvation through art, this movement looked for a universal mode of artistic expression.Geometric shapes and primary colors.Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg, Gerrit Rietveld1917-1931
Die BrückeUnder the Trees (Nudes in the Open) by Max PechsteinWorking through "primitive" modes of painting in an effort to confront feelings of alienation from the modern world and the bourgeois in Germany, this movement prioritized authenticity and emotion in their work. Heightened color, simplified forms, clashing colors, and nudity. Fritz Bleyl, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel1905-1913
DivisionismLuxe, Calme et Volupté by Henri MatisseThese artists utilized small dots of primary colors to create secondary colors, with a focus on color theory.Small patches or dots of color.Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Henri-Edmond Cross1884-1904
ExpressionismMad Woman by Chaim SoutineArtists in this movement sought to create art from within themselves, rather than simply reflecting the external world. Distorted forms, strong colors, and swirling, exaggerated brushstrokes.Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Chaim Soutine1905-1933
FauvismMountains at Collioure by André DerainArtists in this movement used color in a new way-not to depict what an object actually looked like, but to establish a mood or emotion. Color was no longer simply representational of the physical, it began to represent the expression of the artist.Intense color and non-representational colors.André Derain, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque1899-1908
Feminist ArtWomanhouse by Judy Chicago and Miriam SchapiroCombining various movements and media, this group of artists created work that opened up new areas of expression for women and minorities.As this movement incorporated so many others, no specific physical characteristics can be attributed in an general form.Judy Chicago, Miriam Shapiro, Barbara Kruger, Carolee Schneemann, Hannah Wilke1960s-Present
FluxusCut Piece by Yoko OnoRejecting the boundaries that they believed had long restrained art, these artists dismissed the idea of "high art" and used humor and everyday objects to create their works.Humor and the use of everyday objects.George Maciunas, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Alison Knowles1959-1978
Funk ArtI'm All A Twit by Jim NuttA reaction against the nonobjectivity of abstract expressionist art, this movement reinstated figures as subject matter. Though popular, many thought of it as unrefined.Found objects, humor.Robert Arneson, Clayton Bailey, Gladys Nilsson, Jim NuttLate 1950s-Mid 1970s
FuturismUnique Forms of Continuity in Space by Umberto BoccioniA movement that celebrated modernity, urban environments, and new technology. Clear Cubist influence, movement, rhythm, and urban subject matter.Natalia Goncharova, Umberto Boccioni1909-Late 1920s
ImpressionismL'Absinthe by Edgar DegasRejecting the use of detail and finish that their contemporaries aspired to, these artists worked to capture the sensation of a scene, what the eye would see in a single moment. Many artists achieved this by painting en plein air, or outside.Loose brushwork, light colors, leisure scenes as subject matter.Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Mary Cassatt1872-1892
IncoherentsThe Joconde smoking pipe by SapeckAt a time when traditional art was being questioned, these artists infused their work with humor and cheekiness that was surprisingly successful. Humor and nonsense, found objects, parodies of famous art.Jules Lévy, Sapeck1882-1895
Kinetic ArtArc of Petals Alexander CalderArtists used movement in their work to engage the viewer. Characterized by widely differing views on technology and machines.Mechanized movement.Vladimir Tatlin, Marcel Duchamp, Alexander Calder1954-Present
Land ArtSpiral Jetty by Robert SmithsonDeveloping out of Conceptualism and Minimalism, artists use the natural landscape to create sculptural art. Ephemerality, natural materials, often in open spaces.Robert Smithson, Walter de Maria, Nancy Holt, Andy Goldsworthy1960s-Present
Les NabisL'Indolence (Laziness) by Félix VallottonThis group was formed like a secret society, where the artist is something like a priest or seer. Focused on the mystical in everything, even everyday life.Style varied widely, but works often delved into the decorative styles that were a precursor to future abstraction and advertising.Paul Gauguin, Pierre Bonnard, Félix Vallotton1880s-1910s
MinimalismDie by Tony SmithA reaction against what they saw as excessive expressionism, these artists focused on the materiality of their works rather than the emotion or symbols they conveyed. Geometric shapes, industrial materials, and removal of expressionCarl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald JuddEarly 1960s-Late 1960s
ModernismThe Black Marble Clock by Paul CézanneDeparting from tradition, this movement was innovative and new. New materials, an increased interest in expression, abstraction, and the imagined over the real were typical.Abstraction, non-traditional materials, departure from traditional realism.Paul Cézanne, Edouard Manet1890-1940
NeoclassicismThe Intervention of the Sabine Women by Jacques-Louis DavidThese artists were inspired by and worked in the tradition of the art of ancient Greece and Rome.In architecture, clean lines and bold, simple shapes. In painting, subject matter that glorified man, a sense of nobility, clear forms, and grandeur.Jacques-Louis David, Joseph-Benoît Suvée17th-19th centuries
Neo-DadaWhite Flag by Jasper JohnsA mass of contradictions, this movement celebrated and mocked consumerism, united the abstract and the realistic, and conformed to no style or media in particular. Use of found objects, mass media, and performance. Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, John Cage1952-1970
Neo-ExpressionismScissors and Butterflies by Francesco ClementeThis movement marked a return to expression, sensuality, and the redemptive aspects of art. Intense color, expressive and textural brushwork, and raw subject matter.Georg Baselitz, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco ClementeLate 1970s-Early 1990s
New ObjectivityThe Regulars' Table by George GroszFounded in Germany after WWI, this movement combined realism and expressionism with a unique cynical outlook. Subject matter was looked at without sentiment, and the ugly was portrayed as easily as the beautiful.Focus on outline, "ugly" subject matter, cynical lense.Otto Dix, George Grosz1925-1935
Nouveau realisme Chopin's Waterloo by ArmanIn an attempt to return to "reality," these artists denied that art had to mean something, without insisting that it be meaningless. Art was simply a reflection, or an active part, of unidealized reality.Destroyed objects, collaboration, and found objects.Yves Klein, Arman1960-1970
Op ArtBlaze by Bridget RileyEmploying stark contrasts (often black and white) and abstract patterns, these artists created effects that incite certain responses from the eye. The natural dovetail out of the Kinetic art movement, this movement focused on virtual rather than real motion.Contrast, abstract patterns, and optical effectsBridget Riley, Victor Vasarely, Frank Stella1964-Present
Performance ArtRhythm 10 by Marina AbromovićThis movement grew (and continues to grow) out of a desire to reinvent art. Focus on the body, action, audience participation, and artist interaction with audience.Yoko Ono, Marina Abramović, Joseph Beuys, Yves Klein1960s-Present
PhotorealismSupreme Hardware by Richard EstesWhile focused on realism as the end goal, these artists work from photographs and therefore are separated in this sense from the real.Affects of photography, perfect realism created by projecting an image onto the canvas, and commonly focused on machinery as subject matter.Chuck Close, Richard Estes, Audrey Flack, Malcolm MorleyEarly 1960s-Present
Pop ArtCampbell's Soup Cans by Andy WarholMoving away from the traditional themes of "high art," these artists celebrated more commonplace, everyday things. Whether an ode to consumerism and media or a critique, art from this movement tends to have an emotional ambivalence to it.Pop culture references, and commonplace subject matter.Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, Claes OldenburgMid 1950s-Early 1970s
PointillismThe Eiffel Tower by Georges SeuratThese artists utilized small dots of primary colors to create secondary colors, with a focus on brushwork.Small patches or dots of color.Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Henri-Edmond Cross
Post-ImpressionismThe Starry Night by Vincent van GoghA response to and continuation of the Impressionist movement, as far as trying to capture the instant your eye sees something on canvas. But it also arrived as art was transitioning from external to internal. Rather than simply portraying the observable world, these artists wished to infuse their work with personal meaning.Optical effects of color and abstract patterns in paint application, fragmented figuration.Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Georges SeuratEarly 1880s-1914
PostminimalismUntitled by Eva HesseIn some ways a continuation of Minimalism, these artists had a wide range of styles and goals. Some wished to continue the impersonality of Minimalism, where other wished to invest their work with emotion and even sexuality. Unprocessed materials, body as subject, and abstraction.Vito Acconci, Joseph Beuys, Chris Burden, Eva Hesse1966-Present
PostmodernismFloor-Burger (Giant Hamburger) by Claes OldenburgA broad term for a set of movements which replaced the avant-garde modernist movements of the late part of the 19th C and the first half of the 20th C. This new group rejected the idea that technology was inherently positive, denounced traditional ideas about the meaning of art, and embraced feminism and equality.Performance, conceptual, video, minimalismAndy Warhol, Marina Abramovic, Claes Oldenburg1950s-Present
Post-painterly abstractionIsis Ardor by Jules OlitskiA reaction to what they saw as the decline of the Abstract Expressionists, these artists created works that were anonymous in style and against the decorative "painterly" forms of the past.Bright colors, lack of detail, open composition, and linear in design.Clement Greenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Ellsworth KellyEarly 1950s-Mid 1970s
PrecisionismNew York Street with Moon by Georgia O'KeeffeOnce called Cubist-Realists, these artists captured urban scenes in a clean, geometric way, without losing realism. This style was influenced by new techniques in photography, such as sharp focus and cropping.Urban subject matter, sharp lines, and geometric influence.Charles Sheeler, Georgia O'Keeffe, Charles Demuth1920s
Pre-RaphaelitesLady Lilith by Dante Gabriel RossettiInspired by the period before the Italian High Renaissance, these artists worked to remove the idealism from the human body and nature. Challenging Victorian moralism, they used the ills of modern society as subject matter, and believed that poetry, spiritualism, and artistic freedom could renew modern life.Natural forms, truth in nature, and red haired women.Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones1848-1890
PurismStill Life by Le CorbusierA variant of Cubism, this movement was a rejection of "decoration" in Cubism and a return to precision and order of form.Clean forms, impersonal objectivity.Amédée Ozenfant, Le Corbusier1918-1925
RayonismRed Rayonism by Mikhail LarionovHeavily influenced by Futurism, this movement was a short-lived but important step in the development of Russian abstract art.Importance of line and color, crossing light rays.Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov1911-1920
RealismA Burial at Ornans by Gustave CourbetThis movement portrayed real life events with the same weight as the idealized historical and allegorical paintings of other artists. Considered the beginning of modern art for its declaration that the everyday was suitable subject matter for art.Unpleasant, sometimes ugly, subject matter and earthy palettes.Gustave Courbet, Jean-Francois Millet, Édouard Manet1840s-1880s
RococoThe Swing by Jean-Honoré FragonardArising from the new wealth among the 18th century French middle class, this movement and style was dominated by a sense of playfulness and elegance.Soft colors, curving lines, and love, nature and youth as subject material.Francois Boucher, Jean-Antoine Watteau, Jean-Honoré Fragonard18th-century
RomanticismThe Lady of Shalott by John William WaterhouseA reaction against restrained academic art, this movement encouraged a return to nature, idealism, and emotion. Many elements of Neoclassicism are present, but with the added element of personal emotion.Plein-air painting, natural and emotive subject matter, and a brooding atmosphere.John William Waterhouse, Henry Fuseli, Caspar David FriedrichLate 18th-Mid 19th centuries
Social RealismDemonstration by Antonio BerniAs part of a politically charged movement, these artists used art as a weapon to fight capitalism and established power structures.Styles vary, but a focus on humanity and its condition is omnipresent.William Gropper, Isamu Noguchi, Antonio Berni1929-Late 1950s
SuprematismBlack Square by Kazimir MalevichComplete abstraction, coupled with a strange mysticism, defined this movement. Artists looked for the point at which art stopped being art.Motifs of squares, crosses, and circles.Kazimir Malevich, Ilya Chashnik, El Lissitzky1913-Late 1920s
SurrealismThe Persistence of Memory by Salvador DalíDriven by the idea that the rational mind suppressed imagination, these artists sought to unlock the unconscious by embracing chance in their work. Dreams were a powerful influence, as was psychoanalysis.Juxtaposition of (rationally) unrelated objects, dreamscapes, outlandish imagery.Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Max Ernst1924-1966
SymbolismJupiter and Semele by Gustave MoreauArtists in this movement used symbols to suggest ideas. Meaning was found in form, line, shape, and color. Efforts were made to give form to such things as dreams and visions.Combination of religious mysticism, the erotic, and the decadent as subject matter, with a focus on the occult, death, and the morbid.Paul Gauguin, Gustave Moreau, James Whistler1880-1910
SynchromismCosmic Synchromy by Morgan RussellAn important movement in the development of American abstract art, these artists believed that sound and color were related, and could be orchestrated in a similar manner.Avoidance of line, movement of colors that corresponded with a scale, rhythmic arrangements.Stanton MacDonald-Wright, Morgan Russell1913-1918
TonalismSummer Landscape by George InnessA forerunner to American Impressionism, this movement was known for its soft, veiled landscapes. The goal of their paintings was primarily aesthetic, to achieve harmony in color.Soft edges, realistic landscapes, soft light and shadows.George Fuller, William Morris Hunt, George Inness, James McNeill Whistler1800-1910
VorticismWorkshop by Wyndham LewisArtists in this movement wanted to create art that expressed the energy and dynamism of the modern world.Fragmented figuration, hard-edged imagery, urban and machine subject matter.Wyndham Lewis, Lawrence Atkinson1914-1919
Young British ArtistsTwo Fried Eggs and A Kebab by Sarah LucasKnown for their shock tactics, these artists routinely pushed the envelope with use of violent, pornographic, and indecent imagery in their works. Open approach to materials.Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Rachel WhitereadLate 1980s-Present
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