Obelisk Art History
Timeline of Art

World wars and the rejection of tradition

Symbolism, Modernism


A mystic search for meaning and psychological truth.

1880 – 1910
Art Nouveau, Modernism

Art Nouveau

Out with the old, in with the sexy

1890 – 1910
Vienna Secession, Modernism

Vienna Secession

"To every age its art. To art its freedom."

1897 – 1905
Fauvism, Modernism


"A pot of paint has been flung in the face of the public"

1900 – 1910
Social Realism, Modernism

Social Realism

Realism as a weapon

1900 – 1950
Expressionism, Modernism


A more authentic, anxious, and grotesque reality

1905 – 1933
Futurism, Modernism


Blood, speed and violence.

1909 – 1944
Cubism, Modernism


"We only wanted to express what was in us..."

1910 – 1930
Suprematism, Modernism


Taking refuge in the square.

1913 – 1924
Dada, Modernism


Dada is anti-dada!

1916 – 1924
De Stijl, Modernism

De Stijl

The art of the perfectly straight line

1917 – 1931
Harlem Renaissance, Modernism

Harlem Renaissance

An explosion of black culture in America

1918 – 1936
Constructivism, Modernism


Art should only serve society.

1919 – 1935
Art Deco, Modernism

Art Deco

Geometry, ornamentation, and lots and lots of money

1920 – 1940
Regionalism, Modernism


Finding a way back home

1920 – 1960
Surrealism, Modernism


Art without reason, aesthetics or morality

1924 – 1965
Hanoi School, Modernism

Hanoi School

Colonialism vs Tradition

1925 – 1981
Abstract Expressionism, Modernism

Abstract Expressionism

It's not a picture, it's an event

1940 – 1960
Minimalism, Modernism


What you see is what you see

1950 – 2000
Affiliate Links
The Shock of the New, Recommended Reading

Robert Hughes narrates the rise of modernism with humor, clarity, and staggeringly deep cultural knowledge in one of my favorite art history books—a must read

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Next Era
Contemporary Art, Timeline of Art

Contemporary Art

Globalism, introspection and tail-swallowing

1960 – 2020

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