The Modern Art Movements You Should Know

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The art world moves in circles, often returning to the influential art movements that existed before. Today we’re looking at the most influential modern art movements- their roots and their popularity.

 Abstract Expressionism artists have always explored the unconscious and gravitated towards the ideas of the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and his studies of myths and archetypes. The Abstract Expressionists have conveyed emotion and universal themes through their canvases, usually of very large size. In the 21st century, there has been a marked increase in female Abstract Expressionist artists who have taken over the reins in an area traditionally dominated by men.

Late Nights And Disco by Annette Spinks

For example, Bluethumb artist Estelle Asmodelle has been celebrated for her immense abstract pieces that evoke a deeper, more personal sentiment to a viewer.

Cubism, a dominating force on cultural trends during the 20th century, has been the foundation for many later abstract styles. The founding fathers of Cubism are Pablo Picasso were Georges Braque. They were the first to present Cubism as a new way of representing reality.

One In a Million, 2022 by Daniel McCulloch.


Fauvism was one of the first 20th-century modern art movements. It was initially inspired by the examples of Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Paul Cézanne. Fauvism was a short-lived movement. However, today, many artists employ the techniques of Fauvism in their own work.

D.M. Ross utilises Fauvist techniques throughout his work, as can be seen in this piece, Houses.

From its birthplace in France, Impressionism is based on the practice of painting spontaneously ‘on the spot’ and often outdoors. Main impressionist subjects have been landscapes and scenes of everyday life. Today, Impressionism is also one of the modern art movements. It is largely characterized by a painting’s small yet visible brush strokes, its emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities, and similarly the feeling of movement – as if we are experiencing the piece in fleeting time.

Representatives of Minimalism believe that through simplicity, a pure form of beauty is achievable. Members of this modern art movement believe that it represents harmonious qualities such as truth and order. No attempt to represent external reality has been made by Minimalists artists. Instead, they strive to ensure that the viewer reacts only to what is in front of him.

Lots of Minimalist ideas are implemented within our homes, our fashion taste, or workspace environment.

Pop Art was born in the 1950s. This modern art movement borrows symbols and imagery from mass media and popular culture. To this day, the influence of Pop Art goes beyond the art world by influencing the business world. It continues to transform the artistic value within our current culture whilst working with the reality of capitalism.

The influence of Surrealism is felt in most styles of contemporary art. Surrealism has taught the world to dive deep into the unconscious, as well as to see art beyond what is merely visual and literal. It shows its influence in ‘out of the box’ thinking, from the relatable daydream to the magical realism that took place in literature and art towards the later half of the 20th Century.

Symbolism has prioritised the expression of an idea through symbols and emphasised the meaning behind the forms, lines, shapes and colours rather than literal interpretations. The long-lasting effect symbolism has had is evident everywhere – from trademarks and logos of brands, to the development within other modern art movements.

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