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In a Nutshell

Modern Art Timeline c.1870 - 1975

Artists, Movements and Styles in Modern Art
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
Impressionism is the name given to a colorful
style of painting in France at the end of the
19th century.

The Impressionists searched for a more exact
analysis of the effects of colour and light in
nature. They sought to capture the atmosphere
of a particular time of day or the effects of
different weather conditions.

They often worked outdoors and applied their
paint in small brightly coloured strokes which
meant sacrificing much of the outline and
detail of their subject.

Impressionism abandoned the conventional
idea that the shadow of an object was made up
from its colour with some brown or black
Claude Monet
Rouen Cathedral - in full sunlight 1893/4
Louvre, Paris
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
Instead, the Impressionists enriched their
colours with the idea that a shadow is broken
up with dashes of its complementary colour.

Among the most important Impressionist
painters were Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste
Renoir,Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Alfred
Sisleyand Henri de Toulouse Lautrec.
Claude Monet
Impression Sunrise (oil on canvas, 1872)
Muse Marmottan, Paris
Overview lecture on Impressionism and Post-
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
The Impressionists
(BBC Drama)
The I mpressionists is a 3 part factual drama
from the BBC, which reconstructs the origins
of the Impressionist art movement.

See it on Youtube!

Episode 1:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Episode 2:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Episode 3:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5a | Part 5b
| Part 6

2010 | Ms Denise Chung
Post Impressionism
The Post Impressionists were a few
independent artists at the end of the 19th
century who rebelled against the limitations of
Impressionism to develop a range of personal
styles that influenced the development of art in
the 20th century. The major artists associated
with Post Impressionism were Paul
Czanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van
Gogh and Georges Seurat.

Czanne was an important influence on
Picasso and Braque in their development of
Cubism. Van Gogh's vigorous and vibrant
painting technique was one of the touchstones
of both Fauvism and Expressionism, while
Gauguin's symbolic color and Seurat's
pointillist technique were an inspiration to Les
Vincent Van Gogh
Caf Terrace at Night, 1888
Krller-Mller Museum
Understand post-impressionism with information
from an art historian, critic and curator in this free
video on art.
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
Fauvism was a joyful style of painting that
delighted in using outrageously bold colours. It
was developed in France at the beginning of
the 20th century by Henri Matisse and Andr

The artists who painted in this style were
known as 'Les Fauves' (the wild beasts), a title
that came from a sarcastic remark in a review
by the art critic Louis Vauxcelles.
Les Fauves believed that colour should be used
at its highest pitch to express the artist's
feelings about a subject, rather than simply to
describe what it looks like.

Fauvist paintings have two main
characteristics: extremely simplified drawing
and intensely exaggerated colour. They were a
major influence on the German Expressionists.
Henri Matisse
The Open Window, Collioure, 1905
The National Gallery of Art, Washington
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
Cubism was invented around 1907 in Paris
by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. It was
the first abstract style of modern art.

Cubist paintings ignore the traditions of
perspective drawing and show you many views
of a subject at one time.

The Cubists believed that the traditions of
Western art had become exhausted and to
revitalize their work, they drew on the
expressive energy of art from other cultures,
particularly African art.

There are two distinct phases of the Cubist
style: Analytical Cubism (pre 1912)
and Synthetic Cubism(post 1912).
Pablo Picasso
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Oil on Canvas
(244 x 234 cm)
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Cubism influenced many other styles of
modern art including Expressionism, Futurism,
Orphism, Vorticism, Suprematism,
Constructivism and De Styjl.

Other notable artists associated with Cubism
were Juan Gris, Fernand Leger, Robert
Delaunay, Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger,
Louis Marcoussis and Marie Laurencin.
Pablo Picasso
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
Ambroise Vollard, 1915
Pushkin Museum of Fine Art
German Expressionism
German Expressionism is a style of art that is
charged with an emotional or spiritual vision
of the world. The expressive paintings of
Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch
influenced the German Expressionists.

Expressionism was a militant spirit. The
German Expressionists saw themselves as
revolutionary shock troops with art as their
They wanted to liberate themselves from the
repressive right-wing social and political
establishment in pre WW1 Germany, but they
were also desperate to free their art from the
shackles of French painting which had
monopolised modern art since Impressionism.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
The Red Tower at Halle, 1915
Folkwang Museum, Essen
Chief Educator Barbara Brown from Milwaukee
Art Museum explains what German
Expressionism is about.
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
German Expressionism
They also drew their inspiration from German
Gothic and 'primitive art'. The Expressionists
were divided into two factions: Die Brcke
and Der Blaue Reiter.

Die Brcke (The Bridge) was an artistic
community of young artists in Dresden who
aimed to overthrow the conservative traditions
of German art.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-
Rottluff were two of its founding members.
Der Blaue Reiter (the Blue Rider) was a group
of artists whose publications and exhibitions
sought to find a common creative ground
between the various Expressionist art
forms. Kandinsky, Marc and Macke were
among its founding members.
Wassily Kandinsky
1866 - 1944
"Der Blaue Reiter" (The Blue Rider), painted 1903
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
Abstract Art
c.1907 onwards
Abstract art is a generic term that describes two
different methods of abstraction: 'semi
abstraction' and 'pure abstraction'. The word
'abstract' means to withdraw part of something
in order to consider it separately. In Abstract art
that 'something' is one or more of the visual
elements of a subject: its line, shape, tone,
pattern, texture, or form.

Semi-Abstraction is where the image still has
one foot in representational art, (see
Cubism and Futurism). It uses a type of
stylisation where the artist selects, develops and
refines specific visual elements (eg. line, color
and shape) in order to create a poetic
reconstruction or simplified essence of the
original subject.

Georges Braque
Violin and Pitcher, 1910 (detail)
Kunstmuseum, Basel
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
Abstract Art
c.1907 onwards
Pure Abstraction is where the artist uses
visual elements independently as the actual
subject of the work itself.
(see Suprematism,De
Styjl and Minimalism).

Although elements of abstraction are
present in earlier artworks, the roots of
modern abstract art are to be found in
Cubism. Among other important abstract
styles that developed in the 20th century are
Orphism, Rayonism, Constructivism,
Tachisme, Abstract Expressionism, and Op
Kazimir Malevich
Suprematism, 1915
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
Futurism was a revolutionary Italian
movement that celebrated modernity. The
Futurist vision was outlined in a series of
manifestos that attacked the long tradition of
Italian art in favour of a new avant-garde.

They glorified industrialization, technology,
and transport along with the speed, noise and
energy of urban life. The Futurists adopted the
visual vocabulary of Cubism to express their
ideas - but with a slight twist.

In a Cubist painting the artist records selected
details of a subject as he moves around it,
whereas in a Futurist painting the subject itself
seems to move around the artist.

Giacomo Balla
The Rhythm of the Violinist (detail), 1912
Estorick Collection, London
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
The effect of this is that Futurist paintings
appear more dynamic than their Cubist

Futurism was founded in 1909 by the poet
Filippo Tommas Marinetti and embraced the
arts in their widest sense.

The main artists associated with the movement
were Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla and
Gino Severini.
Umberto Boccioni
Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
The Futurist Manifesto
De Styjl
De Styjl was a Dutch 'style' of pure
abstraction developed by Piet Mondrian, Theo
Van Doesburg and Bart van der Leck.
Mondrian was the outstanding artist of the

He was a deeply spiritual man who was intent
on developing a universal visual language that
was free from any hint of the nationalism that
led to the Great War.

Mondrian gradually refined the elements of his
art to a grid of lines and primary colors which
he configured in a series of compositions that
explored his universal principles of harmony.
He saw the elements of line and color as
possessing counteracting cosmic forces.

Piet Mondrian
Composition with White and Yellow, 1935-42
Christies, New York
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
De Styjl
Vertical lines embodied the direction and
energy of the sun's rays which were countered
by horizontal lines relating to the earth's
movement around it.

He saw primary colors through the same
cosmic tinted spectacles: yellow radiated the
sun's energy; blue receded as infinite space and
red materialized as blue and yellow met.
Mondrian's style which he also called 'Neo-
Plasticism' was inspired by the Theosophical
beliefs of the mathematician and philosopher,
M.H.J. Schoenmaekers.
Piet Mondrian
Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red
Currently held as part of the Tate Collection
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
Dada was not a style of art like Fauvism or
Cubism. It was a form of artistic anarchy born
out of disgust for the social, political and
cultural establishment of the time which it held
responsible for Europe's descent into World

Dadaism was an anti art stance as it was
intent on destroying the artistic values of the
past. The aim of Dada was to create a climate
in which art was alive to the moment and not
paralysed by the corrupted traditions of the
established order.

Dadas weapons in the war against the art
establishment were confrontation and
Raoul Hausmann
Tatlin at Home, 1920
Moderna Museet, Stockholm
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
They confronted the artistic establishment with
the irrationality of their collages and
assemblages and provoked conservative
complacency with outrageous actions at their
exhibitions and meetings.

The movement started in Zurich and spread as
far as New York. Marcel Duchamp, Raoul
Hausmann, Jean Arp and Kurt Schwitters were
among the best of the Dada artists.
Marcel Duchamp
Photograph of Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain".
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
Surrealism was the positive outcome from
Dada's negativity.

Its aim as outlined in the First Surrealist
Manifesto of 1924, was to liberate the artist's
imagination by tapping into the unconscious
mind to discover a 'superior' reality - a sur-

To achieve this the Surrealists drew upon the
images of dreams, the unpredictable effects
from combining disassociated images, and the
technique of 'pure psychic automatism', a
spontaneous form of drawing without the
conscious control of the mind.

Ren Magritte
Time Transfixed, 1938
Art Institute of Chicago
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
The look of Surrealist art was inspired by the
irrational juxtaposition of images
in Dada collages, the dreamlike art of Giorgio
de Chirico, and both 'primitive' and 'outsider'

The most influential of the Surrealist artists
were Max Ernst, Joan Mir, Salvador Dali and
Ren Magritte.

The movement broke up at the outbreak of war
in 1939 when several of the Surrealists left
Europe for New York where they had a
formative influence on the development of
Abstract Expressionism.
Salvador Dal
The Persistence of Memory
1931. Oil on canvas, 9 1/2 x 13" (24.1 x 33 cm).
2010 | Ms Denise Chung
Modern Masters
(BBC Documentary)
Unfortunately, only one episode, on Salvador
Dali, can be found online.

Salvador Dali:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

2010 | Ms Denise Chung
Modern Masters is a four-part television
series detailing the life and work of four giants of
20th century art: Henri Matisse; Pablo Picasso;
Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. During the
course of the series, presenter and
journalist, Alastair Sooke, explores why these
artists are considered so important and examines
how their influence can still be seen in our world