Modernism Art


Known as a global movement that existed in society and culture, Modern Art developed at the start of the 20th century in reaction to the widespread urbanization that appeared after the industrial revolution.


An appropriate Modernism definition would be artworks that rejected all traditional forms of art in an attempt to include the perspective of artists and the consequences and effects of industrialization.


Modern Art began in 1863 after Édouard Manet exhibited his shocking and disrespectful painting, Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe, at the Salon des Refuses in Paris.


It is difficult to consider any unifying characteristics which define this era. However, Modernism artists truly believed that their art was important and held real value.


A major criticizer of the Modern Art era was the Nazi government, who deemed the artworks as narcissistic and nonsensical.

impressionism (1870S-1880S)

Seen as an important precursor to the Modernist movement, Impressionism made famous the use of non-naturalist colors in the artworks that were created.

FAUVISM (1905-1907)

The major contribution of Fauvism to the Modern Art movement was its demonstration of the power of color.


The importance of Expressionism within Modernism was that the movement popularized the idea of subjectivity in painting.

CUBISM (1908-1914)

The Cubism movement offered a new alternative to standard perspective due to its creation of the flat picture plane.

FUTURISM (1909-1944)

Futurism was seen as a significant Modern Art movement as it introduced the element of movement into art and linked the concept of beauty to scientific achievement.

DADAISM (1916-1924)

Dadaism was an important movement as it managed to disrupt the traditional art academy through its anarchistic tendencies.

surrealism (1924-1950s)

Surrealism was able to introduce a period of imagination and fun into the interwar years within Modern Art.

abstract expressionism (1940s-1950s)

Abstract Expressionism created art that, while still abstract in nature, evoked great expression and emotion.

pop art (1950s-1960s)

The main contribution of Pop Art within Modern Art was its demonstration that any art deemed worthy could be unsophisticated and mass-marketed.


The event that was the true catalyst for the growth of Modernism in America was the 1913 Armory Show in New York.

notable modern artists and their works

Paul Cézanne  (1839 – 1906) The Large Bathers (1906)

Claude Monet  (1840 – 1926) Impression, Sunrise  (1872)

Georges Seurat  (1859 – 1891) A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (1884)

Giacomo Balla  (1871 – 1958) Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash (1912)

Marcel Duchamp  (1887 – 1968) Fountain  (1917)

Salvador Dalí  (1904 – 1989) Bronze sculpture of The Persistence of Memory

modernism into postmodernism

Although existing as a new form of art at the time, Modernism eventually went on to be seen in all the institutions against which it initially rebelled.  This led to the development of Postmodernism, which sought to break the established rules about style.