In the world of art, there are few countries that can rival the United States in terms of scope and influence. For better or worse, American artists have always had a huge impact on the art world, and their influence can be seen in everything from the most popular mainstream art to the most avant-garde. Here are ten American artists who have changed the world in one way or another.
1. Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol is one of the most famous and influential American artists of all time. He was a leading figure in the Pop Art movement, and his unique style and approach to art-making had a profound impact on the way that art was made and understood in the second half of the 20th century. Warhol’s work often commented on American culture and consumerism, and his approach was often imitated (but never duplicated) by other artists.
2. Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock was one of the leading figures of the Abstract Expressionist movement, and he is widely considered to be one of the most important painters of the 20th century. Pollock developed a unique technique of “drip painting,” in which he would pour paint onto a canvas that was laid out on the floor. This technique produced some of the most visually stunning and emotionally powerful paintings of the era.
3. Mark Rothko
Like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko was an Abstract Expressionist painter. However, Rothko’s work was quite different from Pollock’s in both style and approach. Rothko’s work is characterized by large, colorful rectangles of color that seem to float on the canvas. Rothko’s paintings are often seen as meditations on color, light, and space, and they have had a profound impact on the way that subsequent generations of artists have approached abstraction.
4. Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns is one of the most important and influential American artists of the postwar era. His work often uses found objects and ordinary images (such as flags or numbers) as its starting point. Johns’ work is often seen as a commentary on American culture and values, and his use of ordinary objects has been hugely influential on subsequent generations of artists.
5. Robert Rauschenberg
Robert Rauschenberg was another important American artist of the postwar era, and his work was deeply influenced by Jasper Johns. Rauschenberg’s “Combines” are perhaps his most famous works; these are assemblages that combine painting with found objects and other materials. Rauschenberg’s work challenged the traditional boundaries between art and life, and his approach had a profound impact on the way that subsequent generations of artists have thought about and approached their work.
6. Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly was an American artist associated with the Abstract Expressionist and Neo-Expressionist movements. His work is characterized by lyrical, calligraphic lines and gestures. Twombly’s work is often seen as a bridge between the Abstract Expressionist and Pop Art movements, and his approach has had a significant influence on the development of both movements.
7. Roy Lichtenstein
Roy Lichtenstein was one of the leading figures of the Pop Art movement. His work is characterized by its use of comic book imagery and its often ironic treatment of American popular culture. Lichtenstein’s work had a profound impact on the way that subsequent generations of artists have approached popular culture, and his approach continues to be hugely influential.
8. Edward Hopper
Edward Hopper is one of the most important American realist painters. His work is characterized by its stark and sometimes lonely images of everyday life in America. Hopper’s work often captures a sense of anxiety or alienation, and his paintings have had a profound impact on the way that subsequent generations of artists have approached realism.
9. Georgia O’Keeffe
Georgia O’Keeffe was one of the most important American modernist painters. Her work is characterized by its peaceful and sometimes mystical images of the American Southwest. O’Keeffe’s work had a profound impact on the way that subsequent generations of artists have approached landscape painting, and her approach continues to be hugely influential.
10. Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman is one of the most important American artists of the postwar era. Her work is characterized by its use of found images and its often ironic or critical commentary on American culture. Sherman’s work has had a profound impact on the way that art is made and understood in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and her approach continues to be hugely influential.