Freddi Wald works as a marketing specialist in the art industry. In the following article, Freddi discusses modern art, major art movements, and the key differences between contemporary and modern pieces.
Having been in constant development for over 100 years, modern art is loved specifically for its avant-garde style, the way it comprises a myriad of major movements, and how it represents an eclectic mix of styles.
Not to be confused with contemporary art, Freddi Wald explains that modern art spans the late 19th and early 20th centuries, showcasing work that has re-imagined, re-interpreted, and sometimes even rejected traditional art styles.
The Major Modern Art Movements
From Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism, Frederica Wald remarks that modern art displays far-reaching aesthetic values and highlights an artists’ devotion to reinvigorating traditional masterpieces.
The significant art movements that fall into the modern art category occurred in this order:
- Impressionism — Emerging in 1870, thanks to Claude Monet, it was the catalyst for modern art. Impressionism pushed the boundaries and traditionally realistic nature of art in academia, instead focusing on blurry brushstrokes and vivid colors. This movement dominated French painting until the end of the century.
- Post-Impressionism — Inspired by the freedom offered by Impressionism, the likes of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gaugin began working in unconventional ways. It began in the 1890s, showcasing emotion and preferring subjective interpretation over realism.
- Fauvism — Appearing in the early 20th century, Fauvists like André Derain emphasized unrealistic tones and highlighted individual depiction perception. Recognizable yet abstract forms are tell-tale Fauvism signs.
- Expressionism — Just before World War I, Austrian and German painters started adapting the unprecedented characteristics of the modern art movements before them. These pieces focus on bright, artificial colors.
- Cubism — Cubism was a turnkey moment in modern art, representing the shift toward abstraction. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque created deconstructed forms on canvases and sculptures. Everything was multi-dimensional, with innovative collages and topsy-turvy paintings.
- Surrealism — As the 1920s struck, unmatchable artists like Salvador Dalí, Man Ray, and Joan Miró found Surrealism, a movement with deep roots in the subconscious. A defining trait of Surrealist paintings is the dream-like depictions developed directly from the artist’s inner creative mind.
- Abstract Expressionism — The end of the modern art era lies in the hands of Abstract Expressionism, founded in the middle of the 20th century. It disregards figurative painting styles, preferring abstract, original aesthetics. Abstract Expressionists prioritized the creative process itself alongside modernist attributes like emotion, color, and composition.
The Difference Between Modern and Contemporary Art
Freddi Wald says that contemporary and modern art share themes and experimental characteristics, which causes many to confuse the two. However, the often-blurred differences become much clearer upon diving deeper.
Modern art and contemporary art are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they refer to two distinct periods in the history of art. Modern art generally refers to the art produced between the 1860s and the 1970s, while contemporary art refers to the art produced after the 1970s, up until the present day.
Freddi Wald explains that modern art is characterized by a focus on experimentation, abstraction, and the rejection of traditional artistic conventions. The modern art movement was a reaction to the realism and idealism that had dominated art for centuries. Artists of this era, such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, experimented with new forms, techniques, and mediums, often challenging the viewer’s perception.
Contemporary art, on the other hand, is more diverse and eclectic, reflecting the globalized and rapidly changing world of the 21st century. Contemporary artists often draw inspiration from a range of sources such as technology, politics, and social issues. They employ a wide range of mediums and techniques, including video, installation, performance, and digital media.
One of the key differences between modern and contemporary art is in the way they are presented, explains Freddi Wald. Modern art is often exhibited in a museum setting, where it is accompanied by historical context and displayed alongside other works from the same era. Contemporary art, on the other hand, is often exhibited in alternative spaces, such as galleries or outdoor installations, reflecting the changing attitudes towards art and the way it is experienced by the public.
Overall, while modern and contemporary art share certain similarities, such as a focus on experimentation and innovation, they are two distinct periods in history that reflect different attitudes towards art and its role in society.
The widely accepted version of modern art includes every movement/style discussed above. Thus, contemporary art starts with the first turnkey movement after Abstract Expressionism — Pop Art.
Modern Art Becomes Poetry’s Extension
Ultimately, Freddi Wald says that modern art is poetry’s visual extension.
Symbolism, the movement leading to modern art started by French poets in the 19th century, was originally classed as a literary group.
However, the involved poets (some of whom being Arthur Rimbaud, Emilie Veheraen, and Jean Moreas) wanted to free poetry from its formal rules and create a space for immediate sensation and experience.
The pre-modern art movement certainly inspired these many styles, smashing the rigid conventions surrounding poetry and how it was expressed to the ground.