The story of Modern Art began roughly 150 years ago in Paris, where a circle of painters, whom we now know as Impressionists, shook up the established art world. They painted their pictures with broad strokes that seemed unfinished in light of the meticulous official art, they portrayed life on the street instead of overblown heroic scenes and they escaped the power of the reigning salon painters by organising their own independent exhibitions. Once standard academic practice had been overcome, there was no holding back, and in a constant desire to pursue new roads, one style supplanted the next, always bringing different innovations: after Impressionism, there followed Symbolism, Expressionism, Futurism, Dada, Abstract Art, renewed Realism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop, Minimal and Conceptual Art. And still in Post-Modernism and the contemporary work of a Koons, Kelley or Wool, this modernist drive to make something new is still much alive.
Essays introducing all the major art movements give the reader a thorough grounding in the historical development of Modern Art. At the heart of this book though is the year-by-year succession of groundbreaking works, with 200 featured pieces receiving an own text that introduces the artist and makes the importance of the work apparent. These paintings and sculptures, photographs and conceptual works, both classics and surprising rediscoveries, tell the story of an art epoch that continued to thrive on ever fresh ideas and innovations.
- 187 artists’ portraits
- 44 original photos of artists in their studios
- 14 essays
- 7 fold-outs
- 30-page appendix with artists’ biographies, a glossary of key terms and an index of names and works