American Modernism

Milton Avery

Through the harmonious blending of color and form, the work of Milton Avery appears quiet and serene, yet extremely powerful. In his own reserved way, Avery influenced a generation of painters, including Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb. The Early Years Avery was born in 1885, in Altmar, a small town in upstate New York. His father was [...]

Thomas Hart Benton

Thomas Hart Benton Painting The Rape of Persephone, 1938 Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) chronicled the beauty, joys and sorrows of everyday life in America, until the day he died. Early Life Benton was born in 1889 in Neosho, Missouri, the oldest of four children. He spent much of his childhood and adolescence in Washington, D.C., [...]

Oscar Bluemner

Oscar Bluemner was called The Vermillionaire by other artists because of his use of brilliant reds and bold colors. Bluemner was a driving force in the creation of American Modernism. Early Life and Education Oscar Bluemner was born in Prenzlau, Germany in 1876, to a family of artists and artisans. In 1885, Bluemner was given a solo exhibition at [...]

Charles Burchfield

Charles Burchfield was an American artist, known for his startling, dreamlike watercolor landscapes and lithographs. Early Life and Education Charles Burchfield was born in Ashtabula Harbor in 1893. He was raised in Salem, in Ohio, by his widowed mother. Many of Burchfield’s paintings are of views from the house in Salem, and of the house itself, where [...]

Paul Cadmus

Photograph of Paul Cadmus, Jared French and George Tooker by George Platt Lynes, 1940’s Paul Cadmus was an American Modern Realist painter and printmaker. Like the Italian Renaissance painters he admired, Cadmus’ work was meticulous and technically brilliant. His erotic and sardonic works caused a stir in the 1930s, which helped to launch his career. [...]

Alexander Calder

Artist Alexander Calder with his works ‘Edgar Varese’ & ‘Untitled,’ Sache, France, 1963Photograph by Ugo Mulas Early Life Alexander Calder was born in Lawton, Pennsylvania, in 1898, to a family of talented artists. His grandfather, Alexander Milner Calder was a sculptor, who emigrated from Scotland to Philadelphia in 1868. He is best known for his monumental [...]

Miguel Covarrubias

Miguel Covarrubias was a Mexican-born painter, illustrator, caricaturist, author and anthropologist. His work as an archeologist tore down previous theories about ancient civilizations. Early Life and Education Jose Miguel Covarrubias was born in Mexico City in 1904. His upper class family was a cultural combination of Mexican, French and Spanish. At the age of 14, Covarrubias graduated [...]

Stuart Davis

Stuart Davis was an American painter whose European influences, combined with his American sensibilities, made him one of the most important modern painters of the twentieth century. Early Life and Education Stuart Davis was born in 1892, to a family that encouraged his talents from an early age. His father, Edward Wyatt Davis, was the art editor [...]

Robert Gwathmey

Born in Richmond, Virginia, Robert Gwathmey (1903-1988) became an artist known for his Social Realist depictions of life in the rural South. He was one of the first white artists to create dignified images of African-American people and did so in a style that was modernist with many geometric forms and bold colororation. He spent most of [...]

Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns is a master American painter and printmaker, whose work and ideas bridged the gap between the Dada and Post-impressionist movements. Early Life and Education Johns was born in Augusta, Georgia in 1930. His parents divorced when he was very young and he spent his early childhood in Allendale, South Carolina with his paternal grandparents, and [...]

Jacob Lawrence

Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) was born in Atlantic City and came of age in Harlem during the Great Depression. During the 1930s, Lawrence received early artistic training under Charles Alston at the Utopia Children's Center in Harlem, and the Harlem Art Workshops at 135th Street Public Library and 306 West 141st Street, which were run by Augusta Savage. [...]

Martin Lewis

Born in Castlemaine, Australia, Martin Lewis (1881-1962) became, in the 1920s and 1930s, one of the major printmakers in the United States, completing between 1915 and 1945 about 143 prints. On canvas, he also explored human activity and relationships, but his graphics are regarded as superior to his paintings. He lived in New York City most of [...]

Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein in front of one of his paintings at an exhibition in Stedelijk Museum.3 November, 1967 Roy Lichtenstein was an painter, sculptor, printmaker and educator whose iconic works helped shape the Pop art movement. Early Life and Education Roy Lichtenstein was born and raised in Manhattan’s Upper West Side in 1923, the oldest of [...]

Louis Lozowick

Born in Ludvinovka in the Ukraine, Louis Lozowick (1892-1973) became best known for his lithographs of skyscrapers, constructions, and machinery, a series spanning fifty years. He attended the Kiev Art School from 1904 to 1906 and emigrated to the United States at age 14. In New York, he studied for three years at the National Academy of [...]

John Marin

John Marin (1870-1953) was born in Rutherford, New Jersey. His father was a public accountant; his mother died only nine days after his birth. He was taken to his maternal grandparents with whom he lived in Weehawken, New Jersey. His grandparents, with their son and two daughters were the only parents Marin was to know; it has [...]

Maurice Prendergast

Maurice Brazil Prendergast (October 10, 1858 – February 1, 1924) was an American Post-Impressionist artist who worked in oil, watercolor, and monotype. He exhibited as a member of The Eight, though the delicacy of his compositions and mosaic-like beauty of his style differed from the philosophy of the group. Bibliography: Walter Pach. "The Eight Then and Now." [...]

Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell circa 1950. Norman Rockwell Museum, Licensed by Normen Rockwell Licensing, Niles, IL. "I love to tell stories in pictures. The story is the first and the last thing. That isn’t what a fine art man goes for, but I go for it.” — Norman Rockwell Early Life and Education Normal Rockwell was born [...]

James B. Rosenquist

James Rosenquist was born in 1933 and became a major figure in the 1960s movement known as Pop art. The term "pop" refers to popular culture, which was used as subject matter for both painting and sculpture. In this painting, Rosenquist combines consumer items, such as the laundry detergent Oxydol and the bright red canned spaghetti sauce, [...]

Frank Stella

Left: “The Gallant Indies (Les Indes galantes)”, 1966, private collection Bridgeman Art Library © Frank Stella. ARS, NY and DACS, London 2015 Right: Mr Stella in his studio, New York, 1968 © Malcolm Lubliner Frank Stella is an American painter, sculptor and master printmaker whose idea of a painting as an object, had a profound [...]

Joseph Stella

Born in Muro Lucano, near Naples, Italy, Joseph Stella (1877-1946) is best known for his painting Brooklyn Bridge, 1919 a futurist work that is an icon of the Industrial Age. He arrived in the United States in 1896 and studied medicine and pharmacology and then attended the Art Students League under William Merritt Chase. From 1900 -1909, [...]

Mark Tobey

Mark Tobey (1890-1976) was a painter of small abstract works with underlying religious themes as well as an illustrator and muralist. Tobey remains known primarily for his "white writing" paintings that give the impression of being expansive and much larger than they actually are.

Max Weber

Max Weber (1881-1961) was born in Russia and at age ten emigrated with his family to the United States, settling in New York City. Weber is considered one of America's earliest modernists, and his long career witnessed many stylistic changes. Through the 1920s his work paid homage to such European artists as Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo [...]

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