Top 25 Minimalism artists who changed its history

The American art trend known as minimalism first appeared in the 1960s. Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, and Dan Flavin are some of the best-known minimalist painters. These artists were drawn to producing works that were reduced to their most fundamental components, frequently employing straightforward geometrical forms and industrial materials.

Repetition, simplicity, and clarity are all elements that define minimalism in art. These painters aimed to produce objective, all-encompassing works that were devoid of sentimental or subjective expression.

Large, plain surfaces that are frequently constructed out of materials like steel, aluminium, and concrete are a common aspect of minimalism artwork. These pieces can be both imposing and tranquil, luring the viewer to concentrate on the focal points of the piece and the setting in which it is on exhibit.

1. Yayoi Kusama

Minimalism artists

Born: 22 March 1929 (age
93 years), Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan

Parents: Shigeru Kusama, Kamon Okamura

  • Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese contemporary artist who mostly works in installation and sculpture.
  • Her work is based on conceptual art and demonstrates characteristics of minimalism, feminism, and Surrealism.
  • Kusama was born in Matsumoto and was educated by his school at the Kyoto City University of Arts using the traditional Japanese painting style known as Nihonga.
  • She relocated to New York City in 1958 and was a participant in the New York avant-garde scene throughout the 1960s.
  • Kusama has been vocal about her personal health. She has said that her art is now her outlet for expressing her issues with mental health.


2. Donald Judd

Minimalism artists

Born: 3 June 1928, Excelsior Springs, Missouri, United States

Died: 12 February 1994, Manhattan, New York, United States

Education: Columbia University (1957–1962), William & Mary, The Art Students League of New York

  • Donald Clarence Juddis an American artist who was associated with minimalism.
  • Judd’s work sought to give the object and space it is constructed autonomy and clarity. He eventually achieved a democratic presentation that was free from any compositional hierarchy.
  • He is widely considered to be the international leader in “minimalism” and the most influential theoretician of the concept through writings such as “Specific Objects” (1964).
  • Judd was born at Excelsior Springs in Missouri.
  • He served as an engineer in the Army from 1946 to 1947. In 1948, he was enrolled at the College of William and Mary.


3. Sol LeWitt

Minimalism artists

Born: 9 September 1928, Hartford, Connecticut, United States

Died: 8 April 2007, New York, New York, United States

Periods: Contemporary art, Conceptual art, Minimalism, Modern art

Spouse: Carol Androccio (m. 1982–2007)

  • Sol LeWitt was an American artist who was associated with a variety of movements, such as minimalism and conceptual art.
  • The artist has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions at galleries and museums around the world since the year 1965.
  • His mother taught him workshops in art at Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. Wadsworth The Atheneum, in Hartford.
  • LeWitt relocated from New York City in 1953 and established his studio on the Lower East Side.
  • He was in 1955 when he worked as a graphic designer at the office of the architect I.M. Pei for one year.


4. Frank Stella

Minimalism artists

Born: 12 May 1936 (age 86 years), Malden, Massachusetts, United States

Periods: Contemporary art, Minimalism, Modern art

Children: Patrick Stella, Peter Stella, Michael Stella, Rachel Stella

Spouse: Harriet McGurk (m. 1978), Barbara Rose (m. 1961–1969)

  • Frank Philip Stella is an American painter from the United States.
  • Stella lives and is employed in New York City.
  • The father of the family was a Gynecologist, while his mom was a housewife as well as an artist who went to fashion school and later started painting landscapes.
  • Stella relocated from New York in 1958, following his graduation.
  • In the 1970s, he relocated to NoHo in Manhattan, New York City.


5. Richard Serra

Minimalism artists

Born: 2 November 1939 (age 82 years), San Francisco, California, United States

Education: University of California, Santa Barbara (1961), University of California, Berkeley, Yale School of Art

Spouse: Clara Weyergraf (m. 1981), Nancy Graves (m. 1965–1970)

Awards: Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada

  • Richard Serra, an American artist, is well-known for large-scale sculptures in urban and site-specific settings.
  • Serra’s sculptures are well-known for their quality of material and exploration of the relationship between the viewer and the work.
  • His mother encouraged him to draw from a young age.
  • His father was a pipe fitter at a shipyard in San Francisco.
  • Serra studied painting at Yale University. He graduated in 1964 with a BA in Art History and an MFA.


6. Carl Andre

Minimalism artists

Born: 16 September 1935 (age 87 years), Quincy, Massachusetts, United States

Spouse: Ana Mendieta (m. 1985–1985)

Nationality: American

Awards: Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada

Education: Phillips Academy

  • Carl Andre, an American minimalist artist, is well-known for his grid and ordered linear sculptures.
  • Andre was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, on September 16, 1935.
  • He attended primary and secondary schools in Quincy, Massachusetts. From 1951 to 1953, he studied art at Phillips Academy in Andover.
  • Andre was a U.S. Army soldier in North Carolina from 1955 to 1956 and moved to New York City in 1956.
  • This period saw Andre primarily focus on writing, and there are no notable sculptures between 1960 and 1965.


7. Dan Flavin

Minimalism artists

Born: 1 April 1933, Jamaica, New York, United States

Died: 29 November 1996, Riverhead, New York, United States

Periods: Contemporary art, Minimalism

Nationality: American

Spouse: Tracy Harris (m. 1992–1996), Sonja Severdija (m. 1961–1979)

Parents: Daniel N. Flavin, Viola M. Bernzott

  • Dan Flavin, an American minimalist artist, was well-known for his sculptural and installation creations using commercially available fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Between 1947 and 1952, he studied for the priesthood at Brooklyn’s Immaculate Conception Preparatory Seminary. He then left to join his twin brother.
  • Flavin briefly attended the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts upon his return to New York in 1956. He also studied under Albert Urban.
  • After completing his studies in art history at the New School for Social Research for a brief time, he moved to Columbia University, where he studied drawing and painting.
  • He married Sonja Severdija in 1961, his first wife. Sonja was an art history student at New York University and Assistant Office Manager at the Museum of Modern Art.


8. Robert Morris

Minimalism artists

Born: 9 February 1931, Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Died: 28 November 2018, Kingston, New York, United States

Education: Hunter College (1961–1963)

Spouse: Simone Forti (m. 1955–1962)

  • Robert Morris, an American sculptor and conceptual artist was also a writer.
  • He was considered one of the most important Minimalist theorists, along with Donald Judd.
  • In 1951-52, he interrupted his studies to join the United States Army Corps of Engineers in Arizona.
  • He married dancer Simone Forti in 1955.
  • He moved to New York City to study sculpture in 1959. In 1963, he earned a master’s in art history from Hunter College.


9. Eva Hesse

Minimalism artists

Born: 11 January 1936, Hamburg, Germany

Died: 29 May 1970, New York, New York, United States

Education: Yale School of Art (1957–1959)

Spouse: Tom Doyle (m. 1961–1966)

Movies: Eva Hesse, Reclaiming the Body: The Body Feminist Art in Americac

  • Eva Hesse, a German-American sculptor, was well-known for pioneering work with plastics, fiberglass, latex, and other materials.
  • She was one of the pioneers of postminimal art in the 1960s.
  • Hesse was born to a Hamburg family of observant Jewish Jews on January 11, 1936.
  • She was diagnosed with a brain tumor in October 1969. She died three times within one year.
  • She died at 34, ending a highly influential career, even though it lasted only a decade.


10. Ellsworth Kelly

Minimalism artists

Born: 31 May 1923, Newburgh, New York, United States

Died: 27 December 2015, Spencertown, New York, United States

Spouse: Jack Shear (m. 1984–2015)

  • Ellsworth Kelly was an American artist, sculptor, and printmaker who was associated with hard-edge painting, Color Field painting and minimalism.
  • He was a resident and worker for a time in Spencertown, New York.
  • The father of his son was an executive at an insurance company of Scots-Irish as well as German descendants.
  • Her mother worked as a teacher from Welsh as well as Pennsylvania German stock.
  • His family relocated out of Newburgh and moved to Oradell, New Jersey, which was home to nearly 7,500 residents.


11. Roni Horn

Minimalism artists

Born: 25 September 1955 (age 66 years), New York, New York, United States

Education: Yale University (1976–1978), Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

  • Roni Horn is an American visual artist/writer.
  • She is the granddaughter of Eastern European immigrants and was born in New York City.
  • She is openly gay.
  • Roni Horn was born in New York City on September 25, 1955.
  • Rose was her grandmother’s name.


12. Félix González-Torres

Minimalism artists

Born: 26 November 1957, Guáimaro, Cuba

Died: 9 January 1996, Miami, Florida, United States

Education: New York University, Whitney Museum of American Art, Pratt Institute

Nationality: American

Cause of death: HIV/AIDS

  • Heis a Cuban-American visual artist.
  • He joined Group Material in 1987. It was a New York-based collective of artists. Their goal was to collaborate and adhere to principles of community education and cultural activism.
  • In 1979, he was awarded a fellowship to study photography and moved to New York City.
  • Gonzalez-Torres traveled to Europe in 1986 and studied in Venice.


13. Brice Marden

Minimalism artists

Born: 15 October 1938 (age 83 years), Bronxville, New York, United States

Spouse: Helen Marden (m. 1968), Pauline Baez (m. 1960–1964)

Children: Mirabelle Marden

Notable work: Cold Mountain series; Basel Window Study series; The Propitious Garden of Plane Image

  • Brice Marsden, an American artist, is generally described as a Minimalist. However, it may not be easy to categorize his work.
  • From 1957 to 1958, he attended Florida Southern College before receiving his B.F.A. He graduated from the Boston University School of Fine and Applied Arts in 1961.
  • Marden moved to New York City in 1963. While working as a guard at The Jewish Museum, he was introduced to Jasper Johns’ work.
  • Marden’s first monochromatic, single-panel painting was done in 1964.


14. Vija Celmins

Minimalism artists

Born: 25 October 1938 (age 83 years), Riga, Latvia

Education: University of California, Los Angeles (1965), Herron School of Art and Design (1955–1962)

Awards: MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada

  • Vija celmins, Latvian American visual artist, is best known for his photo-realistic paintings of natural phenomena and environments such as the ocean and star fields.
  • Her early work consisted of pop sculptures as well as monochromatic representational paintings.
  • Vija Celina was conceived in Riga, Latvia, on October 25, 1938.
  • Vija was ten years old and could not speak English. Vija began to draw, and her teachers encouraged her creativity.
  • She entered the John Herron School of Art, Indianapolis, in 1955. There, she said that she felt like an outsider for the first time in her life.


15. Jean-Pierre Rives

Minimalism artists

Born: 31 December 1952 (age 69 years), Toulouse, France

Spouse: Sonia Rives

  • Jean-Pierre Rives is a former French rugby union player and visual artist.
  • Rives quit the sport and concentrated on his art.
  • He is a painter and sculptor and regularly exhibits in prominent public places around the world.
  • Rives received the Order of the Legion of Honor from the French government and the National Order of Merit.
  • Philippe grew up in the same family as his brother Philippe, Lydia, and Jo Rives.


16. Walter De Maria

Born: 1 October 1935, Albany, California, United States

Died: 25 July 2013, Los Angeles, California, United States

Nationality: American

Parents: Christine De Maria

Education: University of California, Berkeley (1953–1959)

  • Walter Joseph De Maria was an American artist as a sculptor, illustrator, and composer.
  • De Maria was born in 1935 in Albany, California.
  • He also enjoyed automobiles and sports, and sketching.
  • By 1946, he had joined an association of musicians.
  • De Maria studied history and art at the University of California, Berkeley, between 1953 and 1959.
  • A trained painter, he eventually switched to sculpture and began to experiment with other mediums.


17. Dan Graham

Minimalism artists

Born: 31 March 1942, Urbana, Illinois, United States

Died: 19 February 2022, New York, New York, United States

Structures: Hayward Gallery

Education: California Institute of the Arts

  • Daniel Graham was an American visual writer, artist, and curator.
  • His first magazine-based art was predated by himself. However, it is often paired with conceptual art.
  • He was a resident and worker in New York City.
  • Dan Graham was born in Urbana, Illinois, the father of a chemical engineer and an educator psychologist.
  • The company was in operation until the year 1965 when he began developing his own concepts.


18. Larry Bell

Minimalism artists

Born: 6 December 1939 (age 82 years), Chicago, Illinois, United States

Education: Chouinard Art Institute (1957–1959), California Institute of the Arts, Birmingham Community High School

  • Larry Bell is an American contemporary artist and sculptor.
  • The artist is most well-known for his glass containers and huge-scale illusionistic sculptures.
  • He is a grantee from, among other organizations, The National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.
  • He is a resident and artist from Taos, New Mexico, and has a studio in Venice, California.
  • Bell’s artwork explores the connection between the object of art and its surroundings by utilizing his work’s reflective and sculptural qualities.


19. Tony Smith

Minimalism artists

Born: 23 September 1912, South Orange, New Jersey, United States

Died: 26 December 1980, New York, New York, United States

Artworks: Free Ride, Moondog, Die, Tau, Gracehoper, Light Up

Spouse: Jane Lawrence (m. 1943)

  • Anthony Peter Smith, an American sculptor and visual artist, was an architect, designer, and well-known theorist of American art.
  • His name is frequently cited as a pioneer in American Minimalist sculpture.
  • Smith was born in South Orange (New Jersey) to a waterworks manufacturing family that his grandfather, A. P. Smith, started.
  • He attended Fordham University in the spring and summer of 1931 and Georgetown University in the fall.
  • Smith became disillusioned by formal education and returned to New Jersey in Jan 1932. During the Great Depression, he opened a secondhand bookstore on Broad Street in Newark.


20. Ann Veronica Janssens

Minimalism artists

Born: 1956 (age 66 years), Folkestone, United Kingdom

Books: Ann Veronica Janssens, Ann Veronica Janssens, Michel François, Ann Veronica Janssens: Experienced

Partner: Michel François

Children: Leone Francois

  • Ann Veronica Janssenswas a Belgian contemporary visual painter born in Folkestone in 1956.
  • She lives in Brussels, Belgium, and works there.
  • Her work invites ephemeral, sometimes hysterical, experiences. They can lead to loss of control or landmarks and create a feeling of physical, psychological, or temporal fragility.
  • She was named Head of Studio at Paris’ National School of Fine Arts, France, in 2012.
  • Janssens’ work presents strong visual experiences.


21. Peter Halley

Minimalism artists

Born: 24 September 1953 (age 68 years), New York, New York, United States

Education: Yale School of Art, Phillips Academy — Andover, The University of New Orleans

Awards: Frank Jewett Mather Award (2001)

  • Peter Halley, an American artist, is a key figure in the Neo-Conceptualist movement that emerged in the 1980s.
  • Halley lives in New York City and works there.
  • Halley’s paintings examine both the psychological and physical structures of social space.
  • Halley’s Index Magazinefeatured in-depth interviews of established and emerging figures in fashion, music, and other creative fields from 1996 to 2005.
  • He is the son of Janice Halley (a registered nurse with Polish ancestry) and Rudolph Halley (an attorney and politician of German-Austrian Jewish heritage).


22. Anna Maria Maiolino

Minimalism artists

Born: 20 May 1942 (age 80 years), Scalea, Italy

Education: School of Fine Arts – UFRJ

Movies: Rubens Gerchman – O Rei do Mau Gosto

  • Anna Maria Maiolinois a Brazilian contemporary artist.
  • Maiolino was the son of an Ecuadorian mother and an Italian father.
  • In 1967, Maiolino presented her first solo exhibit of woodcuts at the Goeldi gallery.
  • Luis Camnitzer recommended that she apply for a scholarship to the International Graphic Center Workshop at Pratt University in mid-1971.
  • Maiolino lives and works now in Sao Paulo (Brazil).


23. Anne Truitt

Minimalism artists

Born: 16 March 1921, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Died: 23 December 2004, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Washington, D.C., United States

Spouse: James Truitt (m. 1947–1971)

  • Anne Truitt, an American sculptor from the mid-20th Century.
  • Her work draws inspiration from images from her past and explores the visual trace of nostalgia and memory.
  • Truitt was born in Easton on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and spent her teens in Asheville, North Carolina.
  • Truitt’s first wood sculpture was First(1961). It resembles picket fencing. It is composed of three vertical whiteboards that reach a point — the pickets, which are braced behind by a white rail and a post.
  • Her sculptures were often large and aggressively painted, with a lot of detail.


24. Robert Mangold

Minimalism artists

Born: 12 October 1937 (age 84 years), North Tonawanda, New York, United States

Children: James Mangold, Andrew Mangold

Partner: Sylvia Plimack Mangold (1961–)

Education: Yale University (1963), Yale School of Art, Cleveland Institute of Art

  • Robert Mangoldis an American minimalist artist.
  • He is also the father of James Mangold, a screenwriter and film director.
  • Mangold was born in North Tonawanda (New York).
  • Blanche Mangold was his mother, and Aloysius Mangold was his father.
  • He married Sylvia Plimack in 1961 and moved to New York.


25. Fred Sandback

Minimalism artists

Born: 29 August 1943, Bronxville, New York,
United States

Died: 23 June 2003, New York, New York,
United States

  • Fred Sandback, an American minimalist conceptual-based sculpturer, was well-known for his yarn sculptures and drawings.
  • David Zwirner, New York, represents his estate.
  • Frederick Lane Sandback was born on September 10, 1897, in Bronxville (New York). He made banjos and dulcimers as a youngster.
  • Sandback is most well-known for his Minimalist works, which are made of lengths and colors of yarn.

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