Modern Artwork is characterised by a deliberate rejection of the styles of the past; emphasising instead innovation and experimentation in forms, materials and techniques in order to create artworks that better reflected modern society. Our collection places emphasis on colour and form that is sure to bring a fresh perspective into any room.
Modern wall art emerged during the Industrial Revolution. This time saw a rapid change in technology, manufacturing, and transportation. This had a profound effect on Western Europe, specifically on the social, economic, and cultural aspects of life. New technology, such as the steam engine, railways, subway, affected all classes of people in how they travelled and worked, allowing their worldview to expand and enrich in ways that weren’t possible before these inventions.
Before the advancement of these technologies, artists created work for wealthy patrons or the Church. As a result, the artworks were limited in their themes, those being mythological or religious scenes. It was in the nineteenth century when artists began to look to their own worldview to create art.
Modern Artwork rejected the traditional teachings and styles that were supported by institutions like academia, the Paris Salon, and the Church. The artists who rejected these conventions went on to form their own styles in the art world. The philosophical movement that emerged at this time is called Modernism.
The Modern artists were adamant to experiment with the medium at hand, and perhaps this is because photography was gradually emerging as the pivotal medium to capture portraits, opening the artists to other methods of painting.
While Modern prints is made up of different movements, such as Geometric Art, Surrealism, and Pop Art, they are grouped together by a number of characteristics. One of these, the rejection of history and conservative values, was first seen in the work of the Impressionists. The Modern artists were innovative and experimental, with the likes of Jackson Pollock engaging with their materials in unique ways that produced remarkable artworks. The Modern artists also had an expressive use of colour that the realists before them didn’t as they were fixed on depicting reality. Artists like Mark Rothko, Vincent van Gogh, and Edvard Munch have depicted the world with a unique colour palette, with the colours oftentimes reflecting the mood of the subject.
It’s widely believed that the first Modern Art movement is Impressionism. The movement challenged the conventions of art, with the artists involved being rejected from institutions like the Paris Salon, who adored and appreciated the works of academic painting. Impressionism emerged with Claude Monet’s 1872 painting Impression, Sunrise, which used a vivid colour palette and blurred brush strokes to depict a sunrise.
Impressionist art dominated France until the end of the century, and then came Post-Impressionism, Cubism, Abstract, Symbolism, and more. Let’s take a look at some of these innovative art movements that fall under Modern Art.
One of the key Modern Art movements is Abstract Art, which challenged the rules of conventional art by refusing to paint figures. Instead, Abstract artists emphasised colour, texture, composition, and emotion. For these artists, the process was more important than the finished work. The movement’s most famous artists include Wassily Kandinsky, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Piet Mondrian.
The Symbolist artists were interested in paintings that had a personal reference. These paintings would contain discrete and ambiguous metaphors, exploring themes of the occult, romance, eroticism, and morbidity. Three key artists of the Symbolist movement include Gustav Klimt, Edvard Munch, and Odilon Redon, and each explored different themes.
Cubism revolutionised the representation of reality. Invented by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, Cubist paintings looked at a subject through different views, which resulted in fragmented and abstracted paintings. The basic idea behind the movement is the use of geometric shapes to depict subjects such as people, animals, and others.
One of the most recognisable Modern Art movements is Surrealism, thanks to its dreamlike imagery and the larger-than-life personality of its most famous artist Salvador Dali. Andre Breton, Renee Magritte, Joan Miro, along with Dali, sought to create artworks that were sourced from the unconscious mind. It usually resulted in the irrational juxtaposition of images.
Emerging in the 1950s, Pop Art came to draw inspiration from the rising commercial and popular culture of the time. Artworks from this movement include everyday objects such as soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, comic books, and also celebrities. The leading artists of Pop Art are Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Hamilton, and David Hockney, but its most recognised artist, who has elevated to fame-level recognition, is Andy Warhol.
Modern artists have become a staple of the modern world, going from the borders of society to the centre of public consciousness. There’s a marked difference between Modern art and those before it, such as Renaissance, and the Dutch Golden Age, but its come to be acknowledged and accepted that Modern artists and those before them are uniquely expressive.
No other artist before Jackson Pollock could imagine flinging or dripping paint on their canvas without being shunned in their artistic circles. Alas, these artists weren’t working within the new Modernist movement. It was 1947 and Pollock began to engage with his materials in a direct, physical way. He developed the “drip style” method and produced artworks that lacked figures, like No. 5, 1948 (1948) and Blue Poles (1952), some of the most unique artworks to emerge from Modern Art.
The Norwegian Expressionist artist Edvard Munch is best known for painting The Scream (1893), a popular contribution to Modern art. With a childhood overshadowed by ailments, Munch often looked inwards for subjects for his art. The artist was plagued by thoughts such as inheriting a mental condition that ran in the family and illness, so his work reflects his rich expressions.
Spanish artist Pablo Picasso was recognised for his sophisticated artistic ability since he was a child. He went on to become one of the most recognised artists in history thanks to his contribution to the medium and constantly changing and evolving through the decades. While his artistic roots were in Realism, Picasso’s work evolved over the years: the Blue Period, Rose Period, African Period, Cubism, Neoclassicism, and Surrealism.
The Pop artist Andy Warhol provided the best supermarket experience a gallery could ever have. The subjects of his works were often mass-produced consumer products, ranging from soup cans to celebrities. He was able to create his own mass-produced artworks (although not on the level of any supermarket) thanks to his photographic silkscreen paintings, where he was able to print multiple images of the same subject, like his Marilyn Diptych (1962) which consists of fifty images of the same Marilyn Monroe face but in a variety of colours.
The iconic painting The Starry Night depicts the night sky above the sleepy town of Saint-Remy, in the South of France. The artwork is exemplary of Modern Art due to its vibrant colour palette and manic, quick brushstrokes. The Starry Night is also van Gogh’s interpretation of the landscape rather than a realistic depiction of it, although it doesn’t make the depiction any less true.
Music inspired much of the work of Abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky and Composition 8 is one such example. Rather than depicting a person engaged in the activity of listening to music, like artists before Modernism had done, Kandinsky paints what music sounds like, how it moves and feels, a radical idea in the art world.
In 1937, Picasso took Cubism and placed it in a political sphere with his painting Guernica. It doesn’t depict war like the more realist work of Francisco Goya. Rather, by using a restricted colour palette and the ideals of Cubism, Picasso immortalised the horrors of war, which saw the small town of Guernica, in the Basque region, under attack by Nazi firmament.
Contemporary art describes the period of art that comes after Modern Art; it dates and overlaps with the previous movement, dating back to the 1950s. Modern Art dates between the 1860s and the 1970s. While Contemporary Art doesn’t necessarily have unifying materials, the artworks are recognised for their shared themes: increased worldwide connectivity, global influence, a more culturally diverse world, technological advancements, immigration, and politics.