The artist Paul Cézanne was born in France in 1839. Many people consider him to be the father of modern art because his paintings were very different from anything that had been done before. He was called a Post-Impressionist painter, which was a later phase of the Impressionist art movement that took place in the 1880s and 1890s. Cézanne painted still life and landscape paintings. He paid close attention to 3-dimensional shapes such as cones, spheres, and cylinders. He was known for painting objects from different viewpoints or vantage points. He combined these different perspectives into one painting. Cézanne influenced and inspired many famous modern painters who worked later on, especially Pablo Picasso.
The artist Pablo Picasso was born in southern Spain in 1881. He is considered to be one of the most famous 20th Century artists and his artworks are now some of the most valuable in the world. In his lifetime, he created over 22,000 works of art—a remarkable number. He made a very wide range of artworks including paintings, sculptures, illustrations, prints, set designs for theatrical productions, collage, and ceramics. His work was inspired by the work of Paul Cézanne and African Art. Working with the artist Georges Braque, he developed Cubism, a style of art that combined different perspectives and points of view (just like Cézanne did) with geometric shapes to make works of art that looked angular, sharp, and fragmented.
American artist Jackson Pollock was born in Cody, Wyoming in 1912. Pollock was one of the most famous Abstract Expressionist artists working in New York in the 1940s. He created very large paintings that were emotional and psychological. He was known for his gestural "action" paintings or "drip" paintings, a style of painting he invented that used brushstroke drips, paint splatters, and paint poured out of pierced cans right onto the canvas. His style of painting was very physical. He completely covered very large canvases with paint, leaving very little empty space. This was called "all-over" composition. He spoke of being "in" his paintings and he would often step into them while he was painting. Pablo Picasso, Native American sand paintings, and Mexican muralism influenced his very unique body of work. His work was revolutionary— it was a completely new way of painting that changed the way people thought about art.
American Pop artist Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928. He began his career in New York City working in the advertising industry as a commercial artist. He was well known for his paintings and silk-screen prints of celebrities and everyday objects like cans of Campbell soup. His studio in New York, known as "The Factory," was a busy place often filled with many people. Here he created his works of Pop Art that expressed ideas about familiar objects and images that were commonly seen in the media (television, movies, magazines, and newspapers). He wanted to focus on the aesthetic or artistic qualities of common objects. He was known to repeat images over and over again because he felt that when objects were viewed repeatedly they lost their meaning. Warhol was one of the first "celebrity" artists of the 20th Century.
Cindy Sherman is an American artist who was born in 1954. She is a photographer and filmmaker who became famous for her work in the 1970s and 1980s. She creates portraits of herself in different situations, wearing costumes and recreating settings. Many of her self-portraits are influenced by famous movies and paintings. Her work often comments on the role of women in society.
British artist Damien Hirst was born in Bristol, England in 1965. A part of the YBA movement, much of his work has been very shocking and controversial. As many 20th Century artists have done before him, his work challenges the accepted definition of art in society. He works in many media including drawing, painting, sculpture, and installation. He often uses surprising materials to make his works. In 1991, he exhibited a work called The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Something Living, which was a shark suspended in formaldehyde. In 2007, he created For the Love of God, which was a human skull covered in diamonds and platinum. He is also known for his paintings of colorful spots. His work is famous for selling at very high prices.