Movements of Modern Art

The lists of artists do not include all artists. Some artists may belong to more than one movement.

Movement Period Major Artists Characteristics
Realism - The Barbizon School
Theodore Rousseau, Camille Corot, Jean-Francoise Millet, Charles-Francois Daubigny, Constant Troyon, Jules Dupre
France. Rejecting academic traditionalism, these artists tried to achieve realistic portrayals of the countryside. They were influential as one of the origins of  Impressionism.
Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Gustave Caillebotte, Frederic Bazille, Edouard Manet, William Merritt Chase
Europe and United States. Major movement in Art, and later in Music. Naturalistic style of painting in which the artist attempts to capture transient effects of light and color. 
Gustave Moreau, Odilon Redon, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Fernand Khnopff, Arnold Bocklin, Mikhail Vrubel, Elihu Vedder, Xavier Mellery, Felicien Rops, Jan Toorop, Franz von Stuck, John Duncan, Jean Delville, Edvard Munch
Europe including Russia. A broad reaction against industrialization and urbanization. In art an offshoot of Romanticism, charged with mysticism and dream visions. Used pictorial conventions to depict metaphoric imagery. Inspired the Surrealists.
Paul Gauguin, Henri Rousseau, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Martin, Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec, Edouard Voulard
France. Influenced by Impressionism but more emotionally charged. Symbolic content.




Camille Pissaro, Henri-Edmond Cross, Georges Seurat, Maximillien Luce, Paul Signac

France. Pointillism is a technique that uses points of primary color to create secondary colors and to increase color intensity. Divisionism is similar, but concentrates more on color theory instead of brushstrokes.

Les Nabis


Edouard Vuillard, Maurice Denis, Chaďm Soutine, Félix Vallotton, Verkade, Ballin, Pierre Bonnard, Roussel

Means The Prophets'. Parisian artists who were Influenced by Gauguin, the Japanism and the Pont-Aven's School. They were influential in the development s in design and the graphic arts.




Georges Braque, Andr?Derain, Raoul Dufy, Henri Matisse, Georges Rouault, Kees Van Dongen, Othon Friesz, Maurice de Vlaminck

Europe. Also influenced by Gauguin, this is a primitive style using strong and pure colors. Simplification of forms and perspective.


Art Nouveau


Louis Comfort Tiffany, Hector Guimard, Victor Horta, Hermann Obrist, Gustav Klimt, Alphonse Mucha, Anton Gaudi, Georges de Feure, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Lucien Levy-Dhurmer, Aubrey Beardsley

Europe and United States. Rooted in the Arts and Crafts movement of William Morris, a decorative style in architecture, graphic arts, painting and sculpture. Characterized by elegant sinuous, highly detailed patterns and shapes based on organic forms.


Die Brücke


Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Mueller, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein

Germany. Means 'The Bridge'. A group of expressionists artists. Their work is characterized by the intensely emotional and violent imagery.




James Ensor, Alexe?Von Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter, Franz Marc, August Macke,
Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele, Chaim Soutine, Emil Filla, Béla Czobel, Edward Munch, Francis Bacon, Amedeo Modigliani, Max Beckmann

Northern Europe. Emotionally charged and graphic. Artist expresses inner feelings at the expense of realistic presentation. Influenced by primitive arts.






Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Fernand Leger, Juan Gris, Alexandre Archipenko, Albert Gleizes, Lionel Feininger, Jacques Lipchitz, Jean Metzinger


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Europe. Influenced by Cezanne and Tribal arts. The first phase is called Analytical Cubism concerned itself with fragmenting the image and presenting it in multiple facets. The second phase, Synthetic Cubism incorporated collage. The Cubist lay at the foundation of many other modern movements.



Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carra, Gino Severini,

Italy. Broad movement in literature, painting, sculpture, photography and architecture. Aesthetic based on the machine and motion.

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Marcel Duchamp, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Jacques Villon, Albert Gleizes, Roger de la Fresnaye, Andr?Lhote, Francis Picabia, Jean Metzinger

Paris. Group of artists related to Cubism and  concerned with proportion and geometric rhythms.


Der Blaue Reiter


Vassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Heinrich Campendonk, Alexe?Jawlensky, Paul Klee, August Macke, Gabriele Münter

Germany. Means 'Blue Rider'. Expressionist group which emphasized express spirituality in art.



Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay, Frantisek Kupka, Francis Picabia

Paris. Poet Guillaume Apollinaire applied the French term Orphisme to the visionary and lyrical art of Robert Delaunay and his followers. Related to Cubism. Related to Synchronism.


William Roberts, Edward Wadsworth, Henri  Gaudier-Brzeska, Cuthbert Hamilton, Helen Saunders, David Bomberg, CRW Nevinson, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Jacob Epstein, Fredrick Etchells

England. In literature, painting, sculpture, and photography. Influenced by both Cubism and Futurism. Inspired by the fast pace of urban, industrial and technological life.
Kasimir Malevitch, Alexandre Rodtchenko, Alexandra Exter, El Lissitzky, Ilya Chashnik, Ivan Kliun, Olga Rozanova
Russia. Based on an aesthetic that abstracted forms could convey ideas.
Hans Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, George Grosz, Hugo Ball, Man Ray, Francis Picabia, Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield, Marcel Janco, Kurt Schwitters, Sophie Taeuber-Arp
Europe and United States. Participants tried to divest themselves of traditional art theory and conventions. The purpose of Dada was to express the chaos in the world during and after World War I.



Giorgio De Chirico, Carlo Carra, Giorgio Morandi

Italy. Reaction to Futurism. Incorporated dreamlike imagery, seemingly frozen in time. Used traditional perspective but strange and illogical relationships, and unrealistic lighting and colors. Influenced both Magic Realism and Surrealism.

De Stilj


Piet Mondrian, Theo Van Doesburg, Jean Gorin, Ilya Bolotlowsky, Georges Vantongerloo

Netherlands. Means 'the style'.  A rigid form of Abstraction characterized by use of a grid, delineated by black lines, was filled with blocks of primary colour. Also known as Neo-Plasticism.




Le Corbusier, Amedee Ozenfant

France. A reaction to Cubism, in painting and architecture. Based on the theory that fantasy and individuality had no place in Modern art. Stressed geometrical simplicity and a search for pure forms. The machine was of central importance to this approach.
Neue Sachlichkeit
New Objectivity
Otto Dix, Christian Schad, George Grosz, Carlo Mense, Conrad Felixmuller, Georg Scholz, Franz Radziwill, Alexander Kanoldt, Franz Lenk
Germany. Also known as Post-expressionism The art of Weimar Republic, characterized by a a sharply focused realistic style. It included both uncanny, dreamlike imagery and socially critical, cynical work. The latter Includes the beginnings of Magic Realism.

Magic Realism


Christian Schad, Otto Dix, Carlo Mense, Franz Radziwill, Carel Willink, Pyke Koch, Ivan ALbright, Paul Cadmus, Jared French, George Tooker, Peter Blume, Alex Colville

Europe and United States. A realistic style infused with fantastic, dreamlike elements. Sometimes combines sharply focused details with an unusual palette. Strives to portray everyday objects in unfamiliar ways.

Josef Albers, Walter Gropius, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Anni Albers, Meyer, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Oskar Schlemmer

Germany. A Modern school of design based in Weimar. Integrates Expressionist and Abstract art with the fields of design and architecture.



Charles Sheeler,  Charles Demuth, Edmund Lewandowski, Ralston Crawford, Georgia O'Keefe (urban works)

United States. Also known as Cubist Realism. Realistic rendering with emphasis on geometric forms and flat planes. Emphasis on sharply defined detail. Related to Magic Realism.

Art Deco


Tamara de Lempicka, Rene Lalique, Leon Bakst, Jean Dupas,  Dufrene, Erte, Louis Icart, Cassandre

Europe and United States. Modernist reaction to Arte Nouveau in painting, sculpture, design and architecture. An elegant decorative style, characterized by linear and geometrical forms and a bold yet restricted palette.
Vladimir Tatline, Alexandre Rodtchenko, Liobov Popova, Naum Gabo, Kasimir Malevitch, El Lissitzky, Antoine Pevsner, Lioubov Popova
Russia, Germany. Broad movement in painting, sculpture, photography, literature, theatre and film. Non-representational, yet not abstract. Mostly three dimensional. Constructionist believed that great works of art were to be discovered in the practical arts rather than in Fine Arts.



Diego Rivera, Jos?Clemente Orozco, David Siqueiros

Mexico. A type of Social Realism. Large mural paintings based on populist and native Indian  themes executed in public buildings.
Andre Breton, Max Ernst,, Salvador Dali, Rene Magrittet, Joan Miro, Yves Tanguy, Paul Delvaux, Remedios Varo, Kay Sage, Man Ray, Roberto Matta, Dorothea Tanning, Leonora Carrington, Meret Oppenheim
Europe. Surrealism was inspired by the psychoanalytical research of Sigmund Freud. This fantastic art is based on exploring subconscious processes. The Automatistic wing focused on methods to depict the imagery involuntarily derived from the  subconscious. The Verist wing believed in using academic methods to render metaphors of subconscious process.

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Jean Arp, Willi Baumeister, Cesar Domela, Alexandra Exter, Wassily Kandinsky, Le Corbusier, Fernand Leger, Piet Mondrian, Amedee Ozenfant, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Joaquin Torres-Garcia, and Georges Vantongerloo

Paris. Abstract reaction to the rise of Surrealism. Related to Constructivism.


American Scene
Edward Hopper, Charles Burchfield
United States. Antimodernist style during the Great depression. Includes the two main schools, the Regionalists and the Social Realists, plus independents like Hopper and Burchfield.