Modern: 20th Century Art

By Catarina Wilk

What comes to your mind when you think of 20th-century art? The term ‘modern art’ flashed through your mind? Brilliant!
Without any doubt, the incredible work of modern artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol and many more had (and, of course, still have!) a major influence on contemporary art, design as well as architecture. Not only for that reason, but also because of their individual work these artists have became known as the modern masters of the 20th century.

The French artist Henri Emile Benoît Matisse, also simply known as Henri Matisse, began his career in art at the very young age of 20 in 1889.
With a background in law, the young man discovered his true passion right after finishing school. Thankfully he did not further perceive a career in law because otherwise we would have never seen his colourful paintings!

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Parrot tulips (1905)

“From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves.” – Matisse

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Decorative Figure on an Ornamental Ground (1925-1926)

Pablo Picasso is another name that we all easily connect with 20th-century art.
The Spanish artist, is considered to be one of the most important figures of modern art and its art movements. One could even say that “there had been no other artists, prior to Picasso, who had such an impact on the art world, or had a mass following of fans and critics alike, as he did”.
It is striking that Picasso’s art works and styles extremely vary. While Pablo Picasso’s ‘Blue Period’ (1900 – 1904) is far more popular and better known by the public today, his ‘Rose Period’ (1904 – 1906) is of greater importance in terms of art history.

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Blue Nude (1902)

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Boy with a Pipe (1905)

The painting ‘Girl Before a Mirror’ shows Picasso’s young mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter who was one of his favourite subjects and therefore, constantly reoccurring in the early 1930s.

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Girl Before a Mirror (March 1930)

Picasso’s masterpiece and most famous painting ‘Guernica’ is an example of his personal way of promoting peace through art. It is believed that ‘Guernica’ is an anti-war painting which was painted as an immediate reaction to the bomb attacks by German and Italien warplanes on the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War to mirror the horrible results and tragedies of war.

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Guernica (1937)

What would the art world be without the works of the American artist Andrew Warhola…better known as Andy Warhol. Being the leading figure of the visual art movement, also known as pop art, Warhol influenced and shaped the art world especially during the 1950s and 1960s.

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Two Elvis (1963)

From hand drawing, painting, printmaking, silk screening, photography, sculpture, film to music, Warhol used many types of media to create his art and his New Yorker studio, called the Factory, was a place where intellectuals, playwrights, Hollywood celebrities, drag queens and other wealthy people came together to have a great time.

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Campbell’s Soup (1969)

When speaking of modern artists one cannot forget the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí.
Known for his rather bizarre images and unusual techniques regarding his surrealistic works, Dalí’s artistic repertoire ranged from film, sculpture to photography.

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The Persistance of Memory (1931)

Strikingly, Dalí, known for being an eccentric artist, did not only enjoy creating unusual art works but also became known for his “attention-grabbing public actions” and his passion for luxury.

The City of Cannes continues to explore the work of two of the great masters of the twentieth century. Marc Chagall, the colors of life (13 novembre 2015 – 24 avril 2016), presented at the Art Centre Malmaison. “They will enter the universe of the painter whose mastery of color combined with the poetic themes of his work are an essential piece of the historiography of the twentieth century engraving. Found throughout the exhibits themes that are dear to him: the mythology around the Bible, shared his love for his first wife Bella, Russian landscapes of his native village”.
The second exhibition, Salvador Dali, the borders of reality (14 novembre 2015 – 14 février 2016) will be presented at the Miramar area as part of Cannes on the theme of Love.

It becomes obvious that the 20-century art world was extremely diverse. Each artist had its unique characteristics which contributes to the fact that 20-century art is utterly fascinating.

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