What is Modern Art? Part One: Modern Art & Modernism
By Lisa Thomas
We often use the term Modern Art here at Stair Galleries while looking at paintings and objects, cataloguing for upcoming sales, or when talking with buyers and sellers about works of art. But what does Modern Art really mean? And how is it different from Modernism, Postmodern, and Contemporary Art? In two short essays we’ll look at the definitions for these art historical terms and look at some examples of each style or period.
||Modern Art is a term used to describe a period of Art History extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s. The term denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that time. The roots of the Modern Art movement are found in the work of late 19th Century artists like Van Gogh, Cezanne and Gaugin, whose training and early careers were based in a traditional style of painting. At the end of the 19th Century, many artists began to move away from realistic narrative in subject matter and style, and move toward a more abstract style of painting that addressed their new aesthetic ideas.The term “modern” is associated with art that has moved away from traditional painting. Modern artists experimented with new ways of seeing their subjects and new ways of using the traditional materials of painting. They challenged the idea that art must realistically depict the world, experimenting with expressive use of color, new techniques and non-traditional materials that are now considered the hallmark of Modern Art.