This is an archive of the exhibition page for Van Gogh to Pollock: Modern Rebels, which was on view in 2015.


Artist Biographies

Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917) is famous for his paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. He is especially identified with the subject of dance, since more than half of his works feature dancers. Degas is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, and his portraits are known for their psychological complexity and portrayal of human isolation. He was a master at depicting movement, as can be seen in his renditions of dancers, racecourse subjects, and female nudes.

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) was a Post-Impressionist artist whose work became far more appreciated after his death. Gauguin was recognized for his experimental use of color and his synthetic style, marked by simplified, outlined forms and decorative patterns. Gauguin’s time in Tahiti was a distinguishing period of his career, during which he created his richest paintings. His flat areas of intense colors influenced the French avant-garde and modern artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890) was a major Post-Impressionist painter. His works had a huge influence on twentieth-century art and included many portraits, self-portraits, and landscapes. Van Gogh is best known for the works he created during the last two years of his life. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, including 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches, and prints. He died in 1890 after struggling for years with anxiety and mental illness.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901) is one of the best-known French painters of the Post-Impressionist period alongside Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cézanne. He excelled at capturing people in their working environment, with the color and movement of gaudy nightlife, but with the glamour stripped away. He was a master at capturing crowd scenes in which the figures are highly individualized.

Henri Matisse (French 1869–1954), along with Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, is commonly regarded as one of the three most innovative and influential modern artists. His mastery of drawing and the expressive language of color is displayed in a body of work spanning over half a century. In his final years of life, bed bound with cancer, he turned to a new medium, making cut paper collages and decoupage on a spectacular, monumental scale.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) is one of the most famous artists of all time. He was a painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramist, stage designer, poet, and playwright, but is perhaps best known for his invention with his French colleague Georges Braque of Cubism, which presents a multiplicity of views simultaneously. Because Picasso’s artistic style changed over the course of his career, his work is categorized into different periods: Blue Period, Rose Period, African-Influenced Period, Analytic Cubism, and Synthetic Cubism.

Marc Chagall (French, b. Russia, 1887–1985) was an early modernist who was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in virtually every artistic medium, including painting, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic, tapestries, and fine art prints. Throughout the various phases of his artistic style, Chagall remained most emphatically a Jewish artist whose work was one long depiction of life in his native village in Vitebsk, Russia.

Georgia O’Keeffe (American, 1887–1986), a Wisconsin native, was a painter best known for her depictions of New Mexico landscapes, enlarged flowers, and New York skyscrapers. Her mediums ranged from oil paint and watercolor to charcoal. Despite claiming that she would never be able to distinguish herself as an artist, and temporarily abandoning art altogether, O’Keeffe had a great deal of impact on the development of art throughout the twentieth century.

Stuart Davis (American, 1892–1964) was an early modernist painter. He is well known for his bold, brash, and colorful jazz-influenced paintings. Davis started his formal art training in 1909 under Robert Henri, the leader of the Ashcan School, and by 1913, was one of the youngest painters to exhibit in the Armory Show in New York. His use of contemporary subject matter such as cigarette packages and spark plug advertisements anticipated Pop Art in the 1960s.

Mark Rothko (American, b. Russia, 1903–1970) was a key practitioner of Expressionism and is recognized for his paintings of glowing, iconic rectangular forms that float on stained fields of color. Along with Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, he is one of the most famous post-war American artists. Greek mythology and a background in Russian and Jewish philosophy heavily influenced the artist.

Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904–1989) was a prominent Surrealist and skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre dreamlike images in his paintings. Dalí’s expansive artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.

Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954) was a painter best known for her self-portraits. Kahlo suffered lifelong health problems, many caused by a traffic accident she survived as a teenager. Recovering from her injuries isolated her from other people, and this isolation influenced her work. Her paintings have been celebrated in Mexico as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition, and by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of female identity.

Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956) was an influential painter and a major figure in the Abstract Expressionist movement. He was well known for his invention of drip painting, in which paint is dripped or poured onto a canvas that is rolled out on the floor, and enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety during his lifetime. Pollock’s pieces, without any points of emphasis or identifiable imagery, abandon traditional composition; they also lack a central motif and keep the viewer’s eye continuously on the move. Pollock’s wife, Lee Krasner (American, 1908–1984), was an influential Abstract Expressionist painter, as well.

Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923–1997) was a leading figure in the Pop Art movement in the 1960s alongside Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns. His work helped define Pop Art through the appropriation of popular advertising and comic books. Lichtenstein employed the benday dots of newspaper printing to produce hard-edged, precise compositions that often parodied society in humorous ways.

Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) was one of the leading figures in Pop Art. His artwork explores the relationships between artistic expression and the popular culture and advertisements that flourished by the 1960s. Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions and books, as well as feature and documentary films. He became a renowned and often controversial artist after a successful career as a commercial illustrator.