Famous Modern Works of Art

Modern Art refers to art produced between the 1860s and 1970s. These works of modern art took a detour from traditional art and were often thought of as controversial.  These artists produced exceptional works and are known for their incredible contributions to the creative world:

Olympia – Edouard Monet

Olympia is a work of modern art from French artist Edouard Monet.  This painting depicts a nude women reclining being attended by a maid.  This painting raised many eyebrows when it was exhibited at Paris Salon in 1865.

The controversy was not that the woman was naked, but that many things in the painting pointed to her being a prostitute.  These items included an orchid in her hair, bracelet and pearl earrings and a shawl.

A black cat was also depicted which was a symbol of prostitution.  The most important feature of this painting is the “confrontational gaze of Olympia” which is considered as the “pinnacle of defiance towards patriarchy”.  This work of art is the most well known nude of the 19th century.

The Woman in Gold – Gustav Klint

Austrian painter Gustav Klint painted the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer in 1907.  Adele was the wife of an affluent Jewish banker and she was 25 at the time the portrait was painted. The portrait is also known as “The Woman in Gold” and was taken by the Nazis in 1941.

Many years later Adele’s niece instituted a legal battle with the Austrian government to get the portrait returned to her family.  In 2006 the painting was sold for $135 million, one of the highest recorded prices for a painting and a little bit more than you’d win when playing real money pokies.  This portrait is probably one of the most famous works of modern art.

The Nympheas – Claude Monet

The Water Lilies series also known as the Nympheas is a brilliant example of impressionism.  Impressionism is a movement in modern art that captures the effect of a scene rather than the scene itself.  The series is comprised of 250 oil paintings painted by Monet over 30 years of his life.

These paintings can be viewed at museums around the world.  These paintings are a stunning combination of colour and light and allow the viewer to experience nature in a different way.  Monet’s water lilies series are well known and an important part of 20th century art.  His paintings influenced many artists that followed over the years.

Persistence of Memory – Salvador Dali

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali was painted in 1931 and is a painting that is been reproduced over and over.  The painting shows watches melting on rocks, ants and the ocean as the backdrop.  Dali uses these images to illustrate hard and soft aspects of life and the world.

This particular work of art has been analysed by many, as Dali has never shared the secrets of his work.  It is thought that the watches are a symbol of relativity of space and time while the surrounding ants symbolise mortality and decay.  It is one of the most significant masterpieces of the 20th century and an excellent example of surrealism art.