Who are the great contemporary artists of the 20th century?

Contemporary art refers to art produced today, in our time. It can be painting, photography, sculpture, installation or video art, however the term “today” is more ambiguous because everyone has his own definition of the word. The beginning of the genre is still rather unclear, but most historians consider the late 60s and early 70s as a starting point. In this article, we will discover three contemporary artists of the 20th century.

The modern artist Claude Venard

Claude Venard was a French post-cubist and painter. Known for working in a very distinct angular style, he accentuated the chromatic qualities of his palettes with thick layers of paint.

Born on March 21, 1913 and died in 1999 in France, the future artist enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts but dropped out after two days. He began working as a painting repairman, and it was through this work that his artistic education would take place, under the influence of the master restorer of the Louvre museum with whom he worked.

In 1936, Claude participated in a group exhibition for a new artistic movement that was drifting away from the avant-garde in favor of a return to a stricter, more traditional form of art: the Forces Nouvelles. He would later rebel against the group, which included painters Pierre Tal-Coat and André Marchand, in favor of his own post-Cubist style using a wide range of colors, crudely applied with a knife for a raw and crude effect.

In the 1950s, his style moved closer to the abstract as seen in his work Nature Morte. He is now exhibited in many prestigious museums in Tokyo, New York, Paris and London.

The princess of peas: Yayoi Kusama

This Japanese artist was born in 1929 in Matsumoto Nagano. From an early age, the rebellious little girl loved to draw and paint, and despite her parents’ objections to her dream of becoming an artist, she held on.

At first her mother tore up her drawings and sometimes she painted with mud, but she finally convinced her parents to send her to study art and a few years later she arrived in New York more determined than ever.

She began exhibiting her work in 1959 and inspired many artists such as Donald Judd, Joseph Cornell and Andy Warhol. In addition to playing in minimalism, pop art and action art, she also uses her talent in music, fashion, writing and design.

All of Yayoi’s works have one thing in common: polka dots; this style earned her the nickname “Princess of the Polka Dots” and was inspired by a dream she had as a child. Yayoi tells that she had a hallucination where she found herself in a field of flowers that began to speak to her! The heads of the flowers looked like peas, she said, an infinity of peas that gave her the impression of getting lost or disappearing in this field.

David Hockney

This English painter, photographer and draughtsman was born on July 9, 1937.  He is considered one of the contributors to the pop art of the 60s and one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century.

David Hockney is known for his colorful style and his use of acrylic paint and bright colors. He moved to Los Angeles in 1964 and his “California Dreaming” series captures the landscapes of the West Coast of the United States with works like “The Splash” 1966, “Beverly Hills Housewife” 1966-1967 and “A Bigger Splash” in 1967.

In 2018, his work “Portrait of an artist” sold for $90 million, making it the most expensive work ever sold for a contemporary artist.

Who are the great contemporary artists of the 21st century?
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