- Thomas Cole (1801-1848);
- Albert Bierstadt (1830-1920);
- Winslow Homer (1836-1910);
- James Whistler (1834-1903)
- John Singer Sargent (1856-1925);
- Norman Percevel Rockwell (1894-1978);
- Mark Rothko (1903-1970);
- Willem de Kooning (1904-1997);
- Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)
- Andy Warhol (1928-1987).
The most famous American artists were extraordinary personalities, their original ideas often did not find understanding among critics and the public, but time put everything in its place. Today their work serves as the richest source of inspiration for grateful descendants. Let’s get to know them better and find out what every respectable master has become famous for.
10 Most Famous American Artists: Thomas Cole
The founder of the first American school of painting rightfully heads the list of the most famous artists in the United States. Cole deeply loved the nature of his native land and devoted most of his work to the glorification of its beauties. It was he who initiated the unification of a group of landscape painters in the 20s of the 19th century into the powerful Hudson River School, which existed almost until the end of the century and gave the world many beautiful masterpieces.
The artist’s parents emigrated to the United States when their son was barely a year old. Although Albert was German by birth, he grew up as a true American patriot, and chose the nature of the Wild West and the life of the Indians as the main theme for his paintings. Bierstadt was the leading painter of the second generation of the Hudson River School, painted over 500 paintings, achieved significant commercial success during his lifetime and became a very wealthy man.
The founder of American realism is recognized by most experts as the greatest American artist of the 19th century. Homer achieved widespread public recognition for his beautiful seascapes. He easily managed to create masterpieces of painting with both oil paints and watercolors. In addition to seascape painting, Homer also painted paintings of the everyday genre, for many years he was engaged in illustrations for magazines and produced engravings.
A native of the United States, Whistler spent most of his life outside his homeland (in Russia, England and France), but became one of the brightest representatives of a purely American trend in painting tonalism. His painting Arrangement in Gray and Black. Painter’s Mother painted in 1871, is still one of the most famous works of American artists of all time. Among other things, Whistler stood out among his colleagues in that he constantly called his paintings in musical terms nocturnes, symphonies and arrangements.
John Singer Sargent
John Singer Sargent was a US citizen, although he rarely visited his homeland. Born in Italy, he studied painting in France and then settled permanently in England. The artist was a true cosmopolitan, traveled extensively in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, was friends with the Impressionists, but in his own works he preferred a realistic style of painting. Sargent is considered one of the best portrait painters of the “Belle Époque”, and today his work is highly regarded both in Europe and in America.
Rockwell became famous throughout America for his vivid illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post, which graced the covers of this publication for 40 years. He was also a renowned portrait painter, creator of posters and advertising posters, illustrated books and calendars. In his works, Rockwell portrayed the life of ordinary Americans in a sentimental manner, which often caused the outrage of serious critics, but this did not prevent him from becoming one of the most revered artists in his country.
Warhol is the most famous representative of pop art in world culture. During his lifetime, he managed to become a cult figure in contemporary art, eclipsing many show business figures in popularity. Warhol was keenly aware of society’s needs for innovative ideas and generated them with ease. He managed to put on stream the replication of reproductions of his own works, which were in great demand among the public. And after his death, Andy turned into an icon of pop art, whose works are sold for huge sums of money at modern art auctions.
Pollock, an extraordinary master of painting, was a recluse, and when writing pictures he did not use an easel and brushes. He invented an unusual drip irrigation technique, creating his pieces in frantic dance moves. This style of painting brought Pollock the fame of the greatest abstract expressionist, although this happened after the artist’s death in a car accident.
Of the artists presented in our article, Willem Kooning lived the longest (92 years), although his lifestyle was very far from ideal. Being an original painter and sculptor, he, despite the rejection of critics, continued his creative search with enviable persistence for many years. Kooning was one of the greatest masters of Abstract Expressionism, painted unusual still lifes and figurative paintings with geometric biomorphic forms and eventually became a very fashionable painter. For example, his work “Exchange” in 2015 was acquired by an American billionaire for 300 million.
The inventor of the original color field painting at the beginning of his creative career experimented a lot, but eventually found his own unique style. His paintings have caused fierce controversy for many decades, but they are sold for huge sums of money at auctions. Rothko is considered one of the leading representatives of abstract expressionism, although he never took an active part in the activities of any school of this direction, but preferred to work alone in his own workshop.
These dozen famous American artists have made a huge contribution to world culture. But besides them, there are many other unique masters of fine arts born in the United States. Some of the great American painters also include:
- John Frederick Kensett
- George Inness
- Charles Demuth
- Andrew Wyeth
- George Wesley Bellows;
- Asher Brown Durand
- Childe Hassam;
- Aaron Douglas
- Mary Cassatt
- John White Alexander
- Rockwell Kent
- Robert Henri
- Jasper Johns;
- Everett Shinn;
- George Caleb Bingham
- Thomas Eakins;
- Grant Wood;
- Leon Dabo;
- Frank Benson
- Frederic Edwin Church
- Hans Hofmann;
- Thomas Doughty;
- Preston Dickinson
- Roy Lichtenstein
Today, paintings by famous American artists can be seen in the collections of the best museums in the world, as well as in private collections of the richest patrons of art. And the story of their life serves as an example of dedication to their beloved work for novice painters.