Record covers are a sign of our life and times. Like the music on the discs, they address such issues as love, life, death, fashion, and rebellion. For music fans the covers are the expression of a period, of a particular time in their lives. Many are works of art and have become as famous as the music they stand for—Andy Warhol‘s covers, for example, including the banana he designed for The Velvet Underground.
From the Jim Heimann collection, a seminal collection of classic car ads—from the populism of the Ford Model T in the 1910s, through the sexy, aspirational cruisers of the 1950s, the quirkiness of the VW Beetle ads in the 1960s, right up to the present day of rugged SUVs and sleek, deluxe sports models. For more information…
In the latter half of the 19th century, in the verdant countryside near Aix-en-Provence, Paul Cézanne (1839–1906), busily plied his brush to landscapes and still lifes that would become anchors of modern art. With compact, intense dabs of paint and bold new approaches to light and space, he mediated the way from Impressionism to the defining movements of the early 20th century and became, in the words of both Matisse and Picasso, “father of us all.”
Pioneered by Picasso and Braque, Cubism has been described as the first avant-garde art movement of the 20th century. With inspiration from African and Native American art and sculpture, its practitioners deconstructed European conventions of viewpoint, form, perspective to create flattened, fragmented, and revolutionary images.
Painter, sculptor, writer, filmmaker, and all-round showman Salvador Dalí (1904–1989) was one of the 20th century’s greatest exhibitionists and eccentrics. One of the first artists to apply the insights of Freudian psychoanalysis to art, he is celebrated in particular for his surrealist practice, with such conceits as the soft watches or the lobster telephone, now hallmarks of the surrealist enterprise, and of modernism in general.
First advertised as a “mind-stretching experience,” Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 The Man Who Fell to Earth stunned the cinema world. A tour-de-force of science fiction as art form, the movie brought not only hallucinatory visuals and a haunting exploration of contemporary alienation, but also glam-rock legend David Bowie in his lead role debut as paranoid alien Newton.
When is a urinal no longer a urinal? When Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) declared it to be art. The uproar that greeted the French artist’s Fountain (1917), a porcelain urinal installed in a gallery, sent shock waves through the art world establishment that reverberate right through to today.
Lucian Freud (1922–2011) was interested in the telling of truths. Always operating outside the main currents of 20th-century art, the esteemed portrait painter observed his subjects with the regimen and precision of a laboratory scientist. He recorded not only the blotches, bruises, and swellings of the living body, but also, beneath the flaws and folds of flesh, the microscopic details of what lies within: the sensation, the emotion, the intelligence, the bloom, and the inevitable, unstoppable decay.
Natural science buffs, graphics professionals, and anyone interested in the visual expression of ideas will be fascinated by this tribute to Fritz Kahn, the German infographics pioneer who excelled in the demystification of complex scientific ideas and whose inspired creative concepts have influenced generations of artists and communicators through to today.
With motion and machines as its most treasured tropes, Futurism was founded in 1909 by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, along with painters Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, and Gino Severini. With affiliate painters, sculptors, designers, architects, and writers, the group sought to subsume the dusty establishment into a new age of sleek, strong, purified modernity.
From the towering Sagrada Família to the shimmering, textured façade of Casa Batlló and the enchanting landscape of Park Güell, it’s easy to see why Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) gained the epithet “God’s architect.” With fluid forms and mathematical precision, his work extols the wonder of natural creation: columns soar like tree trunks, window frames curve like flowering branches, and ceramic tiling shimmers like scaly, reptilian skin.
Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) was not cut out for finance. Nor did he last particularly long in the French Navy, or as a tarpaulin salesman in Copenhagen who did not speak Danish. He began painting in his spare time in 1873 and in 1876 took part in the Paris Salon. Three years later, he was exhibiting alongside Pissarro, Degas, and Monet.
From court portraits for the Spanish royals to horrific scenes of conflict and suffering, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828) made a mark as one of Spain’s most revered and controversial artists. A master of form and light, his influence reverberates down the centuries, inspiring and fascinating artists from the Romantic Eugène Delacroix to Britart enfants terribles, the Chapman brothers.
A century after his death, Viennese artist Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) still startles with his unabashed eroticism, dazzling surfaces, and artistic experimentation. This monograph gathers all of Klimt’s major works alongside authoritative art historical commentary and privileged access to the artist’s archive.
In this TASCHEN Basic Art introduction to Impressionism, we explore the artists, subjects, and techniques that first brought the easel out of the studio and shifted artistic attention from history, religion, or portraiture to the evanescent ebb and flow of modern life.