Barnett Newman

Painter, sculptor, and printmaker. An abstract expressionist who set precedents for color field painting, he is known for enormous solid-color canvases broken only by one or more stripes or “zips,” as he preferred to call them. Like other abstract expressionists, he accepted art as a calling of high seriousness, inherently concerned with existential truths and …

Read moreBarnett Newman

Robert Rauschenberg

Painter, sculptor, printmaker, photographer, and theater artist. His declared intention to “act” in the “gap” between art and life, as he put it in 1959, succinctly characterized his contribution to art history. In the 1950s he broadened abstract expressionism to include non-art elements. His recognition of the aesthetic potential of ordinary objects stimulated the development …

Read moreRobert Rauschenberg

Franz Kline

An abstract expressionist, he made his mark with large black-and-white paintings featuring architectonic forms constructed from broad, slashing lines. Swaths of black paint, sometimes applied with a housepainter’s brush, are held in tension with intervening white areas, also vigorously brushed, so that his compositions avoid figure-ground relationships in favor of a flat surface. Decentralized compositions …

Read moreFranz Kline

Jackson Pollock

Painter, printmaker, and occasional sculptor. The iconic abstract expressionist, he forged a singular style of great expressive power. Skeins of dripped, poured, and flung paint dominate his key all-over paintings of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Using gestural motions while working over canvases spread on the floor, he created an untrammeled poetry that resonated …

Read moreJackson Pollock

Alfred Sisley

Although Alfred Sisley was born in France, it is curious to find among the Impressionists (the painters who were perhaps the most sensitive to the French scene) two foreigners: Camille Pissarro, a Dane from the Antilles, and Alfred Sisley. The second, it is true, was actually born in Paris – on October 30th 1839 – …

Read moreAlfred Sisley

Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne is regarded as a member of the French Impressionists, but is also known for his exploration of the relationship between form and color: what he sought was to paint the eternal truths about the forms of nature. “Right now a moment is fleeting by! Capture its reality in paint! To do that we …

Read morePaul Cezanne

Edouard Manet

Edouard Manet was regarded in his time as the leader of the French Impressionists. He was one of the first to develop the technique of short, expressive brushstrokes and strong lighting, using his painting to portray the fashions and manners of his day in an outgoing, spontaneous way. “There is only one true thing: instantly …

Read moreEdouard Manet

Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin was a successful broker in Paris – until the day when he took up painting as a hobby. Then at the age of 35 began a transformation that changed a steady, respected member of society into a character so picturesque, so wild and free, that he became a legend. His art became the …

Read morePaul Gauguin

Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas was born in Paris on 19 July 1834. He came from a wealthy banking family and had a standard upper-class education at the Lycée Louis le Grand. After briefly studying law, he elected to become an artist, working under approved masters and spending several years in Italy, then regarded as the “finishing school” …

Read moreEdgar Degas

Vincent Van Gogh

This short Vincent van Gogh biography reveals how he shot himself in 1890, at the age of thirty-seven, and ended one of the shortest, most dramatic and brilliant careers of Impressionist art. In the span of less than ten years he created an unforgettable record, in countless paintings, of the inner drama of his life …

Read moreVincent Van Gogh

Pierre Auguste Renoir

When, in 1919, Pierre Auguste Renoir died in the south of France, the critic Elie Faure wrote, “It is as if the sun had gone out of the sky”. No other painter saw life so happily or caught more enchantingly the lyrical mood of Paris at the turn of the century. Renoir’s paintings remain a …

Read morePierre Auguste Renoir

Claude Monet

In many ways, Claude Monet is the Impressionist. Throughout his long life – his career being longer than any other painter associated with the group – he devoted himself to a few limited principles, but he developed and refined these until he had exhausted their potentialities. His major aim was to render the optical sensations …

Read moreClaude Monet