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As subjective as art is, there are always a few common threads that link art pieces of a particular period together.  In Art Styles Summary for the Traveler, we’ll discuss just a few of those threads so that you can identify the style, time frame, and current politics & culture of a work of art that you might be seeing during your travels.

With the exception of ancient Pueblo-an art and some Spanish influence in the Southwest, art by American artists didn’t really arrive on the scene until around the early 1700’s.  For the purpose of  understanding and following art trends, however, we’ll start at the beginning and hit a few of the other major periods in art first.

1). ANCIENT ART: Before 500 A.D.

Ancient Art was art created by all people groups from around the world, but for the imagespurpose of American art we’ll concentrate on The Native Tribes in North America.


Cave wall paintings, pots & jugs, jewelry, primitive sculpture, idols, burial items, masks, Kachina dolls, clothing, totem poles, quill work.


Clay, bone, feathers, sticks, stone, granite, sand, precious metals, animal skins, bark.


Images of: animals, plants & flowers, battles, gods, feasts and traditional rituals, and everyday life.

Crude painting with natural colors.


*Some of the original forms of art were often the result of the Vision Quest of an individual. To the Native American, the vision quest is mysterious. A place where the soul can leave the body, participate in many strange activities, and see many unusual sights. Since many of the designs seen or creatures encountered during the vision quest are seen as protective forms or spirit-beings, these would be carefully re-created during waking hours. Non-artists would occasionally describe their visions to a designated artist so that they could be recorded. Since these supernatural visions were extremely personal though, they were usually recorded by the individual himself and they vary tremendously in artistic quality.

*Most ancient art was the simple result of necessity.  As time advanced, the more artistic an everyday item became.

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Now let’s see what happened in Europe that could have influenced American Art:



The European Medieval art period began with the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 and lasted up to the time of the Italian Renaissance.  The oldest examples of Medieval art can be found in catacombs and underground burial crypts.  Although Medieval art varieddownload depending on location, most art was financed and commissioned by the Catholic church. Commissions depicted Christian themes including creation, the fall of man, heaven & hell, saints, and the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.  Other commissions included animals, mythology and scenes from everyday life.

TYPES OF ART: Paintings, sculptures, tapestries, mosaics, frescoes, illustrated manuscripts, portable (jugs & bowls), stained glass, altarpieces.

MAIN PERIODS OF MEDIEVAL ART: Anglo Saxon (with a focus on Christian themes with pagan influence: 400-1066); Byzantine (costly mosaics, icons and decorated manuscripts featuring Christian themes with eastern influence, that decorated churches and showed the wealth of the Byzantine Empire 500-1453); Carolingian (the art of Charlemagne having Roman imagery, mostly buildings: 780-900); Norman & Romanesque ( Viking art with Roman influence: 1000-1100); Moorish (North African art with Islamic influence, featuring architecture with horseshoe arches, decorative honeycombed vaults, and domed ceilings: 1100-1400); and Gothic (stone structures, large expanses of glass, clustered columns, sharply pointed spires, intricate sculptures, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses: 1200-1500).

MATERIALS USED: Earth pigments (to create paint), sap gum & egg (as binders), parchment (for manuscripts), stone, wood and ivory (for sculpture).

CHARACTERISTICS TO LOOK FOR: Abstract & animal motifs, intricate designs (ie, Celtic knots); elaborate; jeweled; iconic; highly stylized; flat with no perspective; arched and pointed arches; light & airy; complex tracery; biblical themes.


*Medieval period divided into: Early, High, & Late Middle Ages.

*Feudal System in place

*Artists and crafters established guilds that acted as collectives.  Individuals had little power, but the guilds had great power. A guild could gain control of the production, standards, and marketing of a particular craft.  Artists and crafters were at the mercy of those who would commission them for a product or work of art and competition was steep.

* Strong concentration on the artistic talents of many individuals, and the education of the rich.

*Growing tension between the church and the monarchies.

*Transformed by German & Islamic invaders. Food, spices & cloth came in from the east.

*The Church feared education would make people question their beliefs, so people were kept largely illiterate.

*Western values emerged late in the Medieval period.


                   *Giotto  *Lorenzo Ghiberti  *Donatello  *Leon Battista Alberti   *Cimabue  *Filippo Brunelleschi  *Fra Angelico                  *Hildegard of Bingen  *Hieronymus Bosch *Jan van Eyck  *Hans Holbein The Younger  *Pieter Bruegel the Elder                *Albrecht Durer  * Jean Fouquet  *Dionysius 

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3). THE RENAISSANCE: 1400-1600

Arriving just after the Gothic period of the Middle Ages, a growing awareness of the natural world and newly recovered information from antiquity, brought in the Renaissance.  Derived from the French word renaissance and the Italian word rinascità, it means ‘rebirth’.  Even though the religious view of the world continued to play an important role in the lives of Europeans, the Renaissance was a period when scholars and artists began to investigate what they believed to be a revival of classical learning, literature and art. The bulk of the work reflecting the Renaissance ideals were created in Italy with Florence at the helm.madonna_with_the_long_neck

Within the Renaissance, the innovative ‘Mannerism’ style developed from 1510-1600. Works of this style often emphasized the artifice and detailed skill of the artist.  One great example of the Mannerism style is Parmigianino’s Madonna of the Long Neck (shown here).

North of the Alps, Renaissance artists specialized in more secular subjects, such as landscape and portraiture.  Germany became a dominant artistic center. With the Reformation in full swing, and the absence of the Catholic church in the German speaking lands, prints in the form of woodcuts and engravings helped to advance the spread of Protestant ideals.

For many, the artistic creations of the Renaissance still represent the highest of achievements in the history of art.

TYPES OF ART: Painting, sculpture, literature, music, decorative arts, engravings, woodcuts,

MATERIALS USED: Tempura paints, oil (as a binder), marble, bronze, clay, gold (for reliefs and mosaics).


Deep, rich & bold colors; Greek revival themes such as mythology & humanism (celebrating the accomplishments of man); illusionistic painting techniques (a painting that creates the illusion of a real object or scene where the artist has depicted figure in such a realistic way that they seem alive); the new techniques of foreshortening (making a subject appear to be going backwards into the painting); linear perspective (giving a painting or drawing a 3D effect), sculptures of Greek gods; Biblical themes with liberties taken by the artists; paintings utilizing light and shadow; defined and precise anatomy; blue backgrounds (that created depth) and balanced proportions.


*Crafts, art and professions had been governed by guilds for centuries. These sworn associations controlled trade, limited outside competition, established standards of quality, and set rules for the training of apprentices. Membership was usually mandatory and only guild members could practice their trades within a city and its territory. Most guilds were headed up by a ‘master’ who acquired the commissions, designed and oversaw the pieces that other artists would complete. During the Renaissance, individuals began to ‘go solo’, creating art of their choosing rather that exclusively commissioned pieces.

*The rebirth of “Humanism,” (a philosophy which had been the foundation for many of the achievements of ancient Greece) came into direct conflict with the Catholic church. Humanism downplayed religious and secular dogma and instead attached the greatest importance to the dignity and worth of the individual. It celebrated the man, his body, achievements, intelligence, athletic prowess, artistic abilities and beauty.

*14th century Europe witnessed a number of catastrophic events including the Black Death (1346), and continuing war between England and France.  The church found itself racked with disagreements and disillusion about faith in God.

*In Italy, Venice and Genoa had grown rich on trade with the Orient, and  Florence was a center of wool, silk, jewelry and art, and was home to the enormous wealth of the cultured, secular and art-loving Medici family.  Prosperity was also coming to Northern Europe. This increasing wealth provided the financial support for a growing number of commissions for large public and private art projects rather than just church commissions.

*The weak position of the Church gave added momentum to the Renaissance. It prompted Popes like Pope Julius II (1503-13) to spend extravagantly on architecture, sculpture and painting in Rome and in the Vatican  in order to recapture their lost influence.

*The Renaissance era in art history coincides with the onset of the great Western age of discovery, during which created a desire to explore all aspects of nature and the world. European naval explorers discovered new sea routes, new continents and established new colonies. In the same way, European architects, sculptors and painters demonstrated their own desire for new methods and knowledge. According to the Italian painter, architect, and Renaissance commentator Giorgio Vasari (1511-74), it was not merely the growing respect for the art of classical antiquity that drove the Renaissance, but also a growing desire to study and imitate nature.

*The framework for the Renaissance was laid by economic, social and political factors, but it was the talent of Italian artists that drove it forward.  The Renaissance was started in, and was most influential in Italy due the following factors: 1). Italy was blessed with a huge repository of classical ruins and artifacts to pattern art after. 2). The decline of Constantinople – the capital of the Byzantine Empire – caused many Greek scholars to emigrate to Italy, bringing with them important texts and knowledge of classical Greek civilization. 3). Italy was the wealthiest nation due to trade with the Orient. 4). 3 generations of the Medici family financed the work and experimentation of the great artists and were considered the Patrons of the Renaissance.  Lorenzo the Magnificent, in particular, patronized the technical and semi-scientific research being done.


Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
Creator of Mona Lisa, Last Supper.

Michelangelo (1475-1564)
Genius painter (Sistine Chapel)  & Sculptor (David).

Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510)
Famous for mythological painting. La Primavera, The Birth of Venus

Raphael (1483-1520)
Greatest High Renaissance painter.

Titian (1477-1576)
Greatest Venetian colourist.

Tintoretto (1518-1594)
Religious Mannerist painter.

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4). THE BAROQUE: 1600-1725

The Baroque started in Italy but spread to most countries of Europe, and to the colonies in the Americas.  It touched almost all forms of art. It was particularly prominent in the visual arts like painting, sculpture, and architecture. However, other forms of art such as theater, music, and dance were also transformed during this time.

In order to fulfill its propagandist role, Catholic-inspired Baroque art tended to be large-scale works of public art, such as monumental wall-paintings and huge frescoes for the ceilings and vaults of palaces and churches. In the north, smaller pieces were being commissioned for use in private homes.

9161663_origBaroque was exuberant and was characterized by passionate realism. There was the intention of creating a strong sense of movement by using different shapes and colors. It was common to use geometric features, dramatic shadows, and abundant, rich and bright colors. There was an attention to each detail, and every facet was expected to be of stunning, ornamental and embellished beauty.

There was often a blending of different mediums to enhance the dramatism. Painting, sculpture, and architecture were often merged together. Many times the artworks were so vivid that they seemed to come alive and jump into the real world.

The term ‘Baroque’ comes from the Portuguese word Barroco, used to refer to the pearls of irregular shapes; basically, the ugly pieces. In the late 18th-century, this word started to be used for referring to this artistic period. It was adopted with a negative connotation, as artists of the time criticized the extravagance of Baroque saying that it was too much to actually be beautiful. 32679-primary-0-nativeres

The Rococo style of art that was popular during the same time period, was similar to Baroque but used softer colors and themes.  It was less dramatic, intense and extreme (example shown here).

TYPES OF ART:  Paintings, sculptures, frescoes, architecture, music.

MATERIALS USED: Marble, bronze, gold,

CHARACTERISTICS TO LOOK FOR  Religious art that is triumphant, extravagant, almost theatrical (and at times) melodramatic in style; natural and realistic; strong actions and movements, using swirling spirals and upward diagonals, and strong sumptuous color schemes; often uses ‘Trompe l’oeil‘ (visual illusion); 3-dimensional; complex and ornate; innovative new painting technique of high contrast between light and dark.


*The Reformation began in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his ’99 thesis’s’ to the door of the Wittenburg, Germany Cathedral demanding the reform of the Roman Catholic Church from it’s corruption.  The Reformation lasted until 1648 and resulted in the ultimate break of the Catholic church by the ‘Protesters’ who ended up forming the Protestant Christian faith.

*The Counter Reformation was the Catholic Church’s response to the Reformation.  It began with the Council of Trent (1545–1563) and ended with the Patent of Toleration in 1781.  The Baroque style was created to support the Catholic counter-reformation by demonstrating its wealth and power .

*This time of division within the Church and the conflicts of religious faith led to more inquisitions and was a hard fought and bloody time.


Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

Carravaggio (1571-1610)

Diego Velazquez (1599-1660)

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)

Giovanni Bernini (1598-1680)

Jan Vermeer (1632-1675)

Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)

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Now let’s head into American Art:



717CwRwfMrL._SX425_In general, the term “American Colonial art” describes the art and architecture of 17th and 18th century settlers newly arrived in America from Europe. It was closely tied to European art, and had no contact with the tribal art traditions of the American Indian.

In the 17th century, the North American colonies enjoyed neither the wealth nor the leisure to cultivate the fine arts extensively. Colonial artisans working in pewter, silver, glass, or textiles closely followed European models.

In the first half of the 18th century, a growing demand for portrait painting attracted many European artists. The portrait painters alternated portraiture with coach and sign painting or other types of craftsmanship. Even in the 18th century, it was rarely possible to earn a living by working at painting

The process of colonization involved several distinctive European cultures. On the far west coast of California was Spanish Roman Catholic Baroque, in Canada and Louisiana were the French of Louis XIV and XV, and on the east coast were the Dutch and English.

Of all the arts, sculpture was probably the least pursued in the colonies. Apart from the anonymous carvers of tombstones and ships’ figureheads, American artist William Rush is nearly the only known sculptor to have practiced sculpting in pre-Revolutionary (1600-1776) and early Federalist ( 1789-1801) times.

TYPES OF ART:  Mostly painting featuring: Portraits, landscapes, mourning scenes, maritime scenes, still life & natural settings.  American presidents began having their portraits made starting with George Washington.  Decorative Arts featuring: Tapestries, mosaics, embroidery, jewelry, book illustration, stained glass, miniatures and ceramics.  Architecture, Furniture & Music.

MATERIALS USED: Oils, pastels, watercolor, Recycled materials common in Spanish Colonial art; metals, glass, stone, ivory, wood, textiles.

CHARACTERISTICS TO LOOK FOR:  Portraits in the Elizabethan style, the Dutch baroque style, or the English baroque court style; Simple, natural themes in European style; Patriotic themes in European style; Romantic landscapes; Look for backgrounds, furnishings and clothing that identifies a link to England as well as social status.  Portraits looked a bit like the faces had been ‘cut and pasted‘ onto the figures.


*Religious Freedom and Economic opportunities brought countless immigrants to the New World.  British citizens settled colonies in the north west,  French citizens settled the Mississippi Valley, Spanish citizens settled the Southwest, the Dutch claimed the Great Lakes area, indentured servants and slaves came to the South, and differing Native American Tribes lived all over.  With all this diversity came different religions, languages, traditions, conflict, and war.

*Settling in the New World had been hard, but as things improved, status and social prominence became more and more important.

*By the time the Revolution started there were more than 2 1/2 million people living in what would become the U.S., and the middle class had begun to grow.  Leisure and income was being enjoyed  by most.

*Large plantations had sprung up, and the colonists were growing a wide variety of crops.  By the 1700’s, slavery was in full swing as slave labor was needed to work the fields.

*American printing presses, supplied by shipments of English materials, provided popular literature at increasingly affordable prices. Simple broadsides, single sheets of paper printed on one side and sold for a penny, had been in circulation since the late 1600s.

*Public libraries appeared throughout the colonies, and fiction, mostly by English novelists, became popular.  Literacy was wide spread, and in the colonies it was believed that illiteracy was the work of Satan trying to keep people from reading the scriptures.  Almanacs appeared in the colonies in 1639 and were established as among the most widespread and popular genres of American literature by the time Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard appeared in 1733.

*The 1700’s saw the rise of Theater. Williamsburg’s first permanent theater opened in 1716, and by the 1730s, New York and Charleston had theirs. Early in the eighteenth century, traveling performers appeared regularly throughout the colonies (except New England where public “stage-plays, interludes, and other theatrical entertainments” were opposed on grounds that they “discourage industry and frugality . . . increase immorality, impiety, and a contempt for religion.”).  Operas and Musicals also appeared onstage.

*Dancing schools were found in the larger urban areas, where they offered lessons by subscription. Though popular throughout the middle and southern colonies, dancing was most trendy in Virginia and South Carolina. From balls in the Governor’s Palace to small, rural gatherings, Virginians loved to step all manner of dances from formal minuets to reels, country dances, and rough and tumble jigs.

*Militia musters, court days, and public executions became community events. Such eventss included games, foot races, wrestling contests, horse races, and cudgeling, in which contestants used a stick to beat an opponent into submission. Colonials also enjoyed magicians, acrobats, trapeze artists, jugglers, and the presentation of exotic animals.

*As the Revolution approached, the Continental Congress decided that it was necessary to  limit popular amusements and entertainments to preserve resources for the war ahead, but Popular culture had become a force to be reckoned with.


John Singleton Copley (1738-1815)

Benjamin West (1738-1820)

Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828)

Charles Wilson Peale (1741-1827)

Henry Benbridge (1743-1812)

Johann Heinrich Otto (c.1773-1800)

John Trumbull (1736-1843)

John Ramage (1748-1802)

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images (5)Landscape painting developed into a specific genre during the late 17th-century Dutch Golden Age as religious art fell out of favor in a Protestant society.  In Europe, landscapes emerged from being only backgrounds for the portraits of wealthy landowners, to a respectable art form embraced by the Romantic painters of the 18th and 19th centuries.

American landscape painting began to dominate the American art scene in the early part of the 19th century, and those paintings can often appear as mere depictions of a scene found in nature. However, brimming under the service of these works are political messages, religious philosophies, and historic insights into American expansionism.  Asimages (6) the American frontier was pushed further westward, landscape artists detailed on canvas the disappearing wilderness and the expanding presence of modern civilization which served as reminders of the price of progress.

TYPES OF ART: Primarily paintings. Many done in an impressionistic style (definition: a literary or artistic style that seeks to capture a feeling or experience rather than to 21th-century-american-paintings-landscape-painters-19th-centuryachieve accurate depiction).

MATERIALS USED: Oils, Watercolors, Photos (as inspiration).

CHARACTERISTICS TO LOOK FOR: Scenic views as the principle subject; visual but thin brush strokes; impressionistic style; unusual angles; painting styles that emphasize lighting, and idealized scenes (as opposed to real scenes); settings for human movement; mostly outdoor scenes, hidden messages.


*Landscape painting developed as a response to the general social and political climate created as the monarchy gave way to democracy in England, France and the rest of Europe.  A desire for peace, tranquility, and a calm confidence about the the post-revolution prosperity emerged in American Landscape painting.

*New attitudes to the natural environment also emerged, and the practice of landscape gardening (the reordering of nature to suit wealthy patrons) came into fashion. Scenic paintings were still not regarded as ends in themselves, but rather they portrayed social prosperity with the divine harmony of nature.

*After the devastating events of the American & French Revolutions, and the Napoleonic Wars, landscape painting became one of the most popular types of art and rapidly blossomed into a major genre for artists, patrons and collectors.  Two major traditions emerged: English and French, both of which influenced landscape painters throughout Europe and North America, and had a huge impact on the art of the period.  In America the Hudson River School dominated.

*Hidden messages became popular for artists who were concerned about the destruction of nature as civilization and progress began to take it’s toll.


Thomas Cole (1801-48)
Founder of Hudson River school of American wilderness landscape painting.
George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879)
Missouri genre-painter, frontier luminist (realist landscape painting, characterized by its treatment of light), landscape artist, portraitist.
George Inness (1825-1894)
Brilliant Impressionistic painter, who defined Tonalism (landscapes with an overall tone of colored atmosphere or mist..
Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900)
Pupil of Cole, and America’s greatest ever landscape painter.
Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902)
German-born landscape artist of Hudson River School, luminism style.
Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847-1917)
American Romantic expressionist landscape painter.

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American Impressionism was a style of painting related to European Impressionism and practiced by American artists in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is characterized by loose brushwork and vivid colors. The style often depicted landscapes mixed with scenes of upper-class domestic life.

Impressionism emerged as an artistic style in France in the 1860s. Major exhibitions of French impressionist works in Boston and New York in the 1880s introduced the style to the American public.

ea6bc3bb78b4c44e626aa7f85dd08013American painters of the late 19th-century were impressed by the dazzling colors and vibrant brushwork of French Impressionism, but by 1900, Americans would be among the most passionate admirers of the Impressionist style. Inspired by unique approaches to painting modern life, American Impressionism adopted bright palettes and loose brushstrokes to capture the intimate beauty of everyday American life. Whether capturing the natural world or the urban spirit, American Impressionists broke with the traditional expectations of European art to usher in the first popular, modern art movement in America.

TYPES OF ART Primarily Paintings.

MATERIALS USED: Oil paints, Canvas, Palette Knife.

CHARACTERISTICS TO LOOK FOR: Small, thin, yet visible brush strokes; outdoor scenes; scenes from everyday life; emphasis on the accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often displaying the effects of the passage of time); shows movement. Demonstrated Tonalism.


*Prior to the Civil War, to become a respected artist, it was necessary for Americans to train in the famous art schools of London and Paris and adopt the academic styles taught there.  By the 1870’s, however, Impressionists were united in rejecting the traditional French styles and the dated European tradition. Initially the American buying public rejected the new style, but the Impressionists’ persisted with beautiful colors and subjects, the unique use of loose brushwork, experimental color composition, and a new focus on the effects of light. The Impressionists were interested in these optical effects as the main subject rather than stories, and they preferred scenes of everyday life and natural beauty over the highbrow subjects of traditional painting.

*The prosperity in the Post Civil War Northeast created the desire for the latest fashions and designs, and the ingenuity of Impressionism had flourished and had become most fashionable.

*Americans had begun creating gardens and parks, and the subjects were perfect for Impressionistic art.  The wealthy wanted to enjoy nature in a safe and controlled environment, and wanted to create a calm, luxurious and leisurely lifestyle.

*American Impressionism quickly became the favorite of collectors until 1913 when the Armory Show which featured more experimental art from Europe (including the Fauves and Cubists). For many collectors of modern and contemporary art, American Impressionism became outdated and conservative.


James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)

William Merritt Chase (1849-1916),

Theodore Robinson (1852-96),

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926),

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925),

Childe Hassam (1859-1935),

John H Twachtman (1853-1902),

J. Alden Weir (1852-1919),

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Pablo_Picasso,_1910,_Girl_with_a_Mandolin_(Fanny_Tellier),_oil_on_canvas,_100.3_x_73.6_cm,_Museum_of_Modern_Art_New_York.American art of the twentieth century maintains strong ties with the art that preceded it. Increasingly, however, as the United States took its place as one of the most powerful nations in the world, America became an art center, and American art was increasingly integrated into the globalized, international art scene. Like other national arts, American art was influenced by modernism and postmodernism to become a dynamic collection of inventive artistic practices.

The famous 1913 Armory Show (officially called the International Exhibition of Modern Art) was seen by more than a quarter of a million visitors in New York, Chicago and Boston.  The show marked a turning point in public interest in modern art. Exhibits featured the greatest modern paintings, including works by modernist American as well as European artists. Other important exhibitions dating from this period include the Carnegie International Exhibition of Contemporary Art (held since 1896)  and of course The Whitney Biennial, an invitational event held since 1913.

Artists such as Cezanne, Van Gogh, Matisse, Dali, Mucha, and Picasso had made their mark and heavily influenced Modern art worldwide.

Another influence on modern painting in America was Cubist Realismhb_2014.463 whose focus was modern industry and urban landscapes. It is characterized by the realistic portrayal of objects but in a way that also highlighted their geometric form.

Cubism paved the way for American Scene Painting, a new type of down-to-earth art that reflected living conditions in cities across America. American Scene Painting is a vague term which describes a style of realism which grew up in the United States during the late 1920s, 30s and 40s, and which was marked by its use of specifically American imagery. The aim of this type of American art was to feature and bring light to rural and small-town America.

Modern art has (and continues to have) ‘movements’ as new ideas are presented.  Included are:  (1) Impressionism; (2) Fauvism; (3) Cubism; (4) Futurism; (5) Expressionism; (6) Dada; (7) Surrealism; (8) Abstract Expressionism; (9) Pop Art; (10) Photo Realism.

TYPES OF ART: Paintings; Sculpture; Video; Conceptual (art in which the idea presented by the artist is considered more important than the finished product); Performance.

MATERIALS USED: Modern paints; Watercolors; Plaster; Recycled and Re-purposed items; Metals.

CHARACTERISTICS TO LOOK FOR: Reflects current issues and events; breaks the rules of traditional art; responds to new technologies; lack of a distinct feature; mixed media; experimental colors and textures; expressive; open to interpretation; often abstract; Futuristic; often 2-dimensional; humorous;


*Popular culture of the 1900’s not only poked fun at, but deeply questioned the status quo.  Criticism of traditions and standards gave rise to a toleration of new, unusual and sometimes disturbing art styles.

*Art became reflective of the attitude towards the ‘establishment’, and the jokes of the music hall and the theatrical revue became part of popular culture.

*Cubist and Futurist styles were put to satirical use in caricature, advertising, stage design, and other forms of popular visual culture.


Alexander Calder

Norman Rockwell

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Roy Lichtenstein

Edward Hopper

Mark Rothko

Keith Haring

Georgia O’Keeffe

Stanton Macdonald-Wright

Andy Warhol

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Moving forward, art continues to grow, change, explore and create.  It becomes both a reflection of current culture, and a driving force shaping the next generation.






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