Portraits in modern life

HR Giger, Lee Tobler

At the end of the 20th century, during the period of late postmodernism, the attitude of artists and viewers towards the portrait changed greatly. Few people today require modern portraits to resemble the original.

The stylistic diversity in the modern gallery of modern portraits is amazing – from classical realism to abstractionism, from expressionism to neo-pop art, from surrealism to biomechanical painting, from impressionism to “art for art’s sake”. In this article, we have made a selection of portraits painted in different stylistic directions.

Andy Warhol

A feature of his work was the use of screen printing to create his paintings. The modern art portraits made by him presented a bright idealized image without flaws, in pure rich colors, often in several copies of different colors located in a row. These brightly colored portraits became “icons” of the new time and sometimes even surpassed in popularity the personalities depicted on them, but more often these personalities already had world fame.

Portraits of Mao by Andy Warhol

Alexander Katz

Born in Brooklyn, Alexander Katz has been painting exclusively portraits for the last 40 years of his long creative life, insisting that his paintings are “as realistic as Rembrandt’s.” Unlike Warhol, he does not use stencil technology, but writes with a brush and paints, makes many sketches, and only then transfers everything to a large canvas, covering its planes with local pure color and clear, clear lines.

The artist himself calls his paintings “meaningful and aggressive”, in fact, he constantly strives to maintain some kind of internal balance between tradition and provocation, and this brings him success at exhibitions and auctions (record – $ 666,000 at Christie’s).

David Hockney

David Hockney has lived most of his life in the United States, in California. He is a prominent representative of pop art. Even at an advanced age, the artist continues to be an experimenter, mastering electronic gadgets and multimedia screens, calling the work of an artist the main love of his life, constantly experimenting with different techniques, traveling around the world and, nevertheless, not denying himself the joys of life.

David Hockney “Self Portrait with Red Braces” 2003 Watercolor on paper 24 x 18 1/8″ © David Hockney Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt

Michelle Murray

Michelle Murray is a representative of the figurative direction in modern portrait painting. The main favorite characters in her paintings are women and children. The artist strives to reflect on the canvas with the help of the movement of light and the richness of color the beauty of the moment, the elevated state of the soul of the depicted, and the greatness and magnificence of every moment in a person’s life.

Michelle Murray, Warm light

Ernst Fuchs

Ernst Fuchs managed to combine classical realism with surrealism and other radical movements in a new style created himself, called “fantastic realism”. He had an unusually wide range of creativity, which included not only many genres of painting, but also other types of art – architecture, sculpture, literature, and music.

Ernst Fuchs, Portrait of Eva Christina

HR Giger

The work of the Swiss artist Hans Giger (1940-2014) staggers the imagination. His modern art portraits are frightening, repulsive, and attractive at the same time. His work is known to everyone who watched the Alien movie. The film received an Oscar and brought fame to the artist.

HR Giger, Lee Tobler

Giger, a representative of fantastic realism, the founder of “biomechanical” art, from childhood was fond of everything dark and mysterious, suffered from nightmares that haunted him all his life, and which he transferred (often with the help of an airbrush) to paper and canvas. Painting for Giger was also a way to deal with his own nightmares. But a completely prosaic death awaited him himself: in his own house, he fell down the stairs and died.


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