Top 25 Modernism artists who changed its history

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the beginning of the modernist art movement, which persisted until the mid-20th century. Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, and Henri Matisse are some of the best-known practitioners of modernism.

Artists of the modernist movement were interested in experimenting with novel mediums and aesthetics while eschewing established academic methods. They frequently drew inspiration from industrialization and technical development and aimed to produce artwork that captured the contemporary world and its accelerating change.

Form, colour, and composition experimentation are characteristics of modernist works. Rejecting conventional techniques of depiction and realism, these painters frequently used strong, abstract shapes and vibrant colours to express their thoughts.

1. Anita Malfatti

Modernism artists

Born: 2 December 1889, São Paulo, State of São Paulo, Brazil

Died: 6 November 1964, São Paulo, State of São Paulo, Brazil

Periods: Modernism, Expressionism

Parents: Betty Krug, Samuele Malfatti

  • Anita Catarina Malfatti is hailed as one of the pioneering Brazilian artists to bring European and American styles that are part of Modernism into Brazil.
  • Her solo show at Sao Paulo, from 1917-1918, was controversial in the period, and her expressive style and subject matter were radical for the stale, old-fashioned art-loving Brazilians.
  • The history of culture throughout Brazil is important to the evolving theories about art’s mission and the importance that Modernist artists played in the development of art.
  • The style of Anita Malfatti’s painting has been accused of not changing artistically since her shocking return to Brazil’s vision of art.


2. Pablo Picasso

Modernism artists

Born: 25 October 1881, Málaga, Spain

Died: 8 April 1973, Mougins, France

  • Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish artist, sculptor, painter artist, printmaker, ceramicist, and theatre designer.
  • He is famous for his role in being the co-founder of The Cubist movement, which was the first to develop the concept of the constructed sculpture.
  • Picasso displayed extraordinary artistic talent during his early years and painted with a naturalistic style through his childhood and adolescence.
  • In the years following 1906 after 1906, the Fauvist work of somewhat older painter Henri Matisse motivated Picasso to investigate more radical designs.
  • Picasso’s work is usually classified in terms of periods.


3. Emiliano Di Cavalcanti

Modernism artists

Born: 6 September 1897, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Died: 26 October 1976, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Spouse: Noêmia Mourão (m. 1933–1950)

Parents: Frederico Augusto Cavalcanti de Albuquerque e Melo, Rosalia de Sena

  • Emiliano Di Cavalcanti was a Brazilian painter from Brazil.
  • His wife was a painter Noemia Mourao who was the inspiration behind his paintings during the latter 1930s.
  • Di Cavalcanti was a resident of Paris and Montparnasse from 1923 to 1925.
  • In 1929, the designer Di Cavalcanti began to work on interior design, as evident in two panels he designed to be used in the Teatro Joao Caetano in Rio de Janeiro.
  • The group aimed to introduce modernism into Brazilian art, follow Semana de Arte’s footsteps and encourage the revival of its concepts.


4. Georgia O’Keeffe

Modernism artists

Born: 15 November 1887, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, United States

Died: 6 March 1986, Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

Siblings: Ida O’Keeffe, Francis Calyxtus O’Keeffe Jr

Periods: Modernism, Precisionism, American modernism

Spouse: Alfred Stieglitz (m. 1924–1946)


5. Henri Matisse

Modernism artists

Born: 31 December 1869, Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France

Died: 3 November 1954, Nice, France

Periods: Fauvism, Impressionism, Modern art, Post-Impressionism, Modernism, Neo-Impressionism

Full name: Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse

  • Henri Matisse was a French visual artist renowned for his use of color as well as his original and fluid sketching.
  • The artist was also a sketcher artist, and printmaker; however, he is best known for his work as a painter.
  • Matisse is often considered as well as Pablo Picasso as one of the artists who contributed to the development of revolutionary changes within the field of visual art during the first decade of the 20th century.
  • The year was 1887. He traveled in 1887 to Paris for a law degree. He was serving as an administrator for the court.


6. Piet Mondrian

Modernism artists

Born: 7 March 1872, Amersfoort, Netherlands

Died: 1 February 1944, New York, New York, United States

Periods: De Stijl, Cubism, Modern art, Expressionism, Impressionism, Modernism, Abstract art

  • Pieter Mondriaan was a Dutch artist and theoretician of art who is considered to be one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.
  • He was regarded as one of the early pioneers of abstract art in the 20th century.
  • Mondrian’s art was highly optimistic and focused on an attempt to find universal aesthetics and values.
  • The abstract world of art surrounds us. Art should transcend reality, or else it is useless to man.


7. Marc Chagall

Modernism artists

Born: 7 July 1887, Liozna, Belarus

Died: 28 March 1985, Saint Paul de Vence, France

Periods: Surrealism, Cubism, Modern art, Expressionism, Fauvism, Modernism, Symbolism

Siblings: David Chagall, Maryasya Chagall, Zinaida Chagall,

  • Marc Chagall was a French-Belarusian artist.
  • Born in modern-day Belarus, which was once an integral part of the Russian Empire, he was of Belarusian Jewish origin.
  • Before World War I, he was a frequent traveler from Saint Petersburg, Paris, and Berlin.
  • He lived through the wartime period in Belarus and became one of Belarus’s most renowned artists and an active member of the avant-garde modernist.
  • Chagall was the oldest of nine children.


8. Lasar Segall

Modernism artists

Born: 21 July 1889, Vilnius, Lithuania

  • Lasar Segall was a Lithuanian Jewish and Brazilian painter, sculptor, engraver and painter.
  • The work of Segall is derived from Expressionism, impressionism, and modernism.
  • The most memorable themes of his work included depictions of human suffering, such as war, persecution, and prostitution.
  • Segall was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, the son of the Torah Scribe.
  • In 1912, his first work was exhibited in an old insane asylum.


9. Rufino Tamayo

Modernism artists

Born: 25 August 1899, Oaxaca, Mexico

Died: 24 June 1991

Periods: Surrealism, Modernism, Cubism, Abstract

Awards: Belisario Domínguez Medal of Honor

  • Rufino Tamayo, a Mexican painter with Zapotec heritage, was born in Oaxaca, Juarez, Mexico.
  • Tamayo, a Mexican artist who was active in the middle of the 20th century in New York and Mexico, painted surrealist-influenced figurative abstraction.
  • Tamayo was the son of Florentina Tamayo and Manuel Arellanes, who were born in Oaxaca in Mexico in 1899.
  • In 1911, his mother succumbed to tuberculosis.
  • His Zapotec heritage is frequently cited as an early influence.


10. Almada Negreiros

Modernism artists

Born: 7 April 1893, Trindade, São Tomé and Príncipe

Died: 15 June 1970, Lisbon, Portugal

Education: Colégio de Campolide (1900–1910), Escola Nacional das Belas Artes

Parents: António Lobo de Almada Negreiros, Elvira Freire Sobral

Spouse: Sarah Afonso

  • In 1896, his mother died.
  • He entered a Jesuit boarding house in Campolide (Lisbon) in 1900.
  • He had his first solo exhibition in 1913, featuring 90 drawings.
  • Paris was home to Almada between 1918 and 20.
  • He worked as a factory worker and dancer to make ends meet.
  • He returned to Lisbon in 1920.


11. Édouard Manet

Modernism artists

Born: 23 January 1832, Paris, France

Died: 30 April 1883, Paris, France

Periods: Impressionism, Realism, Modern art, Modernism

Spouse: Suzanne Manet (m. 1863–1883)

Children: Léon Leenhoff

  • Edouard Manet was a French modernist artist.
  • He was among the first artists in the 19th century to depict modern-day life and a significant character during the shift from Realism to Impressionism.
  • Manet was born into a family of the upper class with solid connections to the political world, and Manet turned down the navy career initially planned for Manet.
  • The final twenty years of Manet’s existence were when he developed connections with the great artists of the day.
  • He created his minimalist and straightforward style, which would be seen as unique and act as an important influence on the next generation of artists.


12. Axel Törneman

Modernism artists

Born: 28 October 1880, Persberg, Sweden

Died: 26 December 1925, Stockholm, Sweden

  • Johan Axel Gustaf Tornemanis one of Sweden’s first modernist painters.
  • He was born in Petersburg in Varmland, Sweden, and grew up working in various modernist styles.
  • After only a decade of creative work, Torneman was 45 years old when he died in Stockholm.
  • He studied in Europe at the Kunstakademie Munchen, then went to Dachau to study with Adolf Holzel.
  • Torneman left Germany in 1990 and was active for four years in Brittany in Paris and Coupeville (Breton).


13. Fernand Léger

Modernism artists

Born: 4 February 1881, Argentan, France

Died: 17 August 1955, Gif-sur-Yvette, France

Influenced by: Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Sara Murphy

Spouse: Nadia Khodasevich Léger (m. 1952–1955), Jeanne-Augustine Lohy (m. 1919–1950)

  • Fernand Leger is a French artist, sculptor, and filmmaker.
  • His daringly simple treatment of contemporary subjects has led him to be considered an early proponent of pop art.
  • In 1902-1903, he was enrolled in The School of Decorative Arts.
  • He started to work seriously as a painter just when he was 25 years old.
  • Being a fan of the contemporary, Leger was greatly attracted to the cinema and, at one point, thought about quitting painting in favor of filmmaking.


14. Hans Wegner

Modernism artists

Born: 2 April 1914, Tønder, Denmark

Died: 26 January 2007, Copenhagen, Denmark

Books: Watercolours by Hans J. Wegner

Nationality: Danish

Place of burial: Mariebjerg Cemetry, Gentofte, Denmark

  • Hans Jorgensen Wegenerwas a Danish furniture designer.
  • His efforts, together with the concerted efforts of several of his manufacturers, led to international success for mid-century Danish design.
  • His style is known as Organic Functionality. It’s a modernist school that emphasizes functionality.
  • For his prolific work in designing seating, Wegner is known as the “King Of Chairs.”


15. Constantin Brâncuşi

Modernism artists

Born: 19 February 1876, Hobita, Romania

Died: 16 March 1957, Paris, France

Periods: Modern art, Modernism

  • Constantin Brancusiwas a Romanian painter, sculptor, and photographer who made his name in France.
  • Brancusi is regarded as one of the most important sculptors of 20th-century Europe and a Modernist pioneer.
  • He was a talented woodcarver as a child.
  • His art is characterized by clean geometrical lines, which balance the forms inherent in his materials with symbolic allusions to representational arts.
  • Maria Brancusi, his parents, were poor peasants. Constantin was seven years old when he began to herd sheep for the family.
  • He was a talented carver, and he often fled home from the bullying of his father and older brothers.


16. Victor Brecheret

Modernism artists

Born: 15 December 1894, Farnese, Italy

Died: 17 December 1955, São Paulo, State of São Paulo, Brazil

Children: Sandra Brecheret, Victor Brecheret Jr

Education: Liceu de Artes e Ofícios de São Paulo

Nationality: Brazilian, Italian

  • Victor Brecheretwas an Italian-Brazilian sculptor.
  • He spent most of his adult life in Sao Paulo. However, he did a study in Paris during his early twenties.
  • Brecheret was among the first modernists in Brazil to succeed.


17. Alphonse Mucha

Modernism artists

Born: 24 July 1860, Ivancice, Czechia

Died: 14 July 1939, Prague, Czechia

Periods: Art Nouveau, Modernism, Modern art

Spouse: Maruška Chytilová (m. 1906–1939)

  • Alfons Maria Mucha known worldwide under the nickname Alphonse Mucha was a Czech artist, illustrator, and graphic artist who lived in Paris during the Art Nouveau period.
  • Illustrations, advertisements, decorative panels, and designs were among the most well-known photographs of the time.
  • Mucha was born on July 24 18th, 1890, in the tiny village of Ivancice in the southern part of Moravia.
  • His family earned a low income.
  • Mucha displayed an early ability to draw; a local businessman who was amazed by his talent provided him with a piece of paper free of charge, although it was considered an expense.


18. Egon Schiele

Modernism artists

Born: 12 June 1890, Tulln, Austria

Died: 31 October 1918, Vienna, Austria

Spouse: Edith Harms (m. 1915–1918)

Nationality: Austrian, Czech

  • Egon Leo Adolf Schiele was an Austrian Expressionist painter of whom Gustav Klimt, a figurative painter in the 20th century’s early years, was a teacher.
  • His work is praised for its intensity and naked sexuality, as well as the numerous self-portraits that the artist created, including naked self-portraits.
  • Schiele was born in 1890 in Tulln, Lower Austria.
  • At the age of 14 of age, his father passed away due to syphilis. Schiele became a ward for his maternal uncle Leopold Czihaczek, a railway official.
  • In 1907, Schiele sought Gustav Klimt, who generously helped younger artists.


19. Louise Bourgeois

Modernism artists

Born: 25 December 1911, Paris, France

Died: 31 May 2010, New York, New York, United States

Periods: Contemporary art, Modern art, Surrealism, Feminist art, Modernism

Spouse: Robert Goldwater (m. 1937–1973)

Children: Jean-Louis Bourgeois, Alain Goldwater, Michel Goldwater

  • Louise Bourgeois was an American artist of French descent.
  • Her most well-known work is her monumental sculptures and installations art. The Bourgeois was also an accomplished painter and printmaker.
  • She explored a range of subjects during her extensive career, including domesticity, family sexuality, the body, and sexuality.
  • These themes are linked to experiences in her childhood that she believed as a process of healing.
  • Bourgeois was born on December 25, 1911. He was born in Paris, France.


20. Mikhail Vrubel

Modernism artists

Born: 17 March 1856, Omsk, Russia

Died: 14 April 1910, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Spouse: Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel (m. 1896–1910)

Place of burial: Novodevichy Cemetery, Saint Petersburg, Russia

  • He was a Russian artist, draughtsman and sculpturer. He was prolific and ingenuous when it came to art such as drawing, painting, sculpture and theater art.
  • In the years 1880-1890, Vrubel’s imaginative ambitions did not receive support from his peers at the Imperial Academy of Arts and art critics.
  • At the beginning of the 20th century, the art of Vrubel was incorporated into the Russian Art Nouveau.
  • Numerous childbirths and the adverse Siberian weather significantly damaged Mikhail’s mother’s health. In 1859, she died of drinking.
  • The future artist was just three years old at the time his mother died.


21. Henry Moore

Modernism artists

Born: 30 July 1898, Castleford, United Kingdom

Died: 31 August 1986, Perry Green, United Kingdom

Periods: Modern art, Modernism

Spouse: Irina Radetsky (m. 1929–1986)

Awards: Erasmus Prize

  • Henry Spencer Mooreis an English artist.
  • His semi-abstract bronze sculptures in monumental bronze are his most well-known works. They can be found all over the globe as public art.
  • His forms are often abstractions of human figures, usually depicting mother and child or reclining figures.
  • His forms are usually pierced or have hollow spaces.
  • Moore’s carved marble and large-scale abstract cast bronze sculptures made him well-known. He was also instrumental in introducing Modernism to the United Kingdom.


22. Alfredo Volpi

Modernism artists

Born: 14 April 1896, Lucca, Italy

Died: 28 May 1988, State of São Paulo, Brazil

Children: Eugenia Maria Volpi Pinto

Nationality: Brazilian, Italian

Spouse: Benedita da Conceição (m. 1942–1972)

  • Alfredo Volpiis a prominent painter from the cultural and artistic Brazilian modernist movement.
  • He was born in Lucca (Italy), but he was adopted by his parents two years later in Sao Paulo (Brazil), where he became a citizen and lived the rest of his life.
  • Volpi was an artist who learned by himself. He produced his first naturalist painting at twelve years old.


23. Raoul Dufy

Modernism artists

Born: 3 June 1877, Le Havre, France

Died: 23 March 1953, Forcalquier, France

Periods: Fauvism, Impressionism, Cubism, Modernism

Spouse: Eugénie-Émilienne Brisson (m. 1911–1953)

Place of burial: Cimiez Monastery, Nice, France

  • Raoul Dufy was a French Fauvist painter.
  • He created a vibrant design style, which became popular in textiles and ceramics as designs for public structures.
  • He is renowned for his scenes of social gatherings in the open air.
  • He was an older sibling, Jean Dufy, who was also an artist.
  • He worked on enhancing his drawing skills to become a renowned artist.


24. Frank Stella

Modernism artists

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

  • Frank Philip Stella is an American artist, sculptor and printmaker who is renowned as an artist in the realms of post-painterly abstraction as well as minimalism.
  • Stella lives and is employed and works in New York City.
  • Frank Stella was born in Malden, Massachusetts.
  • He is praised for his abstract paintings that lack illusions of color.
  • In the 1970s, he was a resident of NoHo located in Manhattan located in New York City.
  • It was a departure from the method of creating paintings by making sketches.


25. Barbara Hepworth

Modernism artists

Born: 10 January 1903, Wakefield, United

Died: 20 May 1975, St Ives, United Kingdom

Children: Sarah Hepworth-Nicholson, Rachel
Nicholson, Simon Nicholson, Paul Skeaping

Spouse: Ben Nicholson (m.
1938–1951), John Skeaping (m. 1925–

  • Barbara Hepworth was an English artist/sculptor.
  • Her work is a perfect example of Modernism and especially modern sculpture.
  • Hepworth, along with Naum Gabo and Ben Nicholson, was a prominent figure in the colony artists who lived in St Ives in the Second World War.
  • Hepworth also finished second in the Prix-de-Rome, which John Skeaping won.
  • In her early years, she was very interested in abstract art and the movements of art on the continent.

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