Top 10 Most Popular Artists in the World 2021
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” - Edgar Degas
Now there may be several artists who make you peek into your soul, but only a few of them have managed to leave an indelible imprint there. These are the ones whose names you see in history books and popular culture. Their fame grows because of their ability to stay relevant through centuries of social, political and cultural change.
Here Are 10 Artists That Graced The World With Their Artistic Prowess:
1. Vincent Van Gogh
This Dutch painter was one of the most well known figures of Expressionism and post Impressionism. Today, Van Gogh Paintings are some of the most famous and expensive artworks across the globe. However, in his lifetime only one Van Gogh artwork was sold: The Red Vineyard. Van Gogh artworks are known for their exceptional ability of bringing simple and inanimate objects to life. This can be seen through his masterpieces like Sunflowers, Oleanders, Irises and Still Life with Yellow Straw Hat.
He was also quite the narcissist, thanks to a huge number of self-portraits that he created! In his artistic career spread across 10 years, 2000 Vincent Van Gogh artworks were created, including 900 paintings and 1100 sketches and drawings.
2. Paul Gauguin
This list would be incomplete without Van Gogh’s friend and foe, Paul Gauguin. Before he became a painter and sculptor, Gauguin was a stockbroker. Paul Gauguin art is reflective of him settling into an exotic identity by declaring his Peruvian roots. He used certain images to evoke a particular feeling in the viewer. Paul Gauguin famous paintings are known for their ‘primitive’ artistic expression. He is also well known for Paul Gauguin Tahitian paintings that portrayed idyllic landscapes, oceanic iconography and spiritual settings.
Gauguin art is also amongst the top five most expensive paintings. In February 2015, Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry) was sold for a staggering $210 million by Rudolf Staechelin to Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani.
3. Leonardo Da Vinci
It would be unfair to restrict Da Vinci’s artistic achievements to Mona Lisa and the curve of her lips. Often credited with creating the ‘world’s most beautiful smile,’ Da Vinci was also an architect, engineer and theatrical producer. Some of his most famous paintings include The Last Supper, Vitruvian Man, Saint John the Baptist and Madonna of the Carnation, amongst many others. Each of these paintings was a result of extensive research and study of scientific phenomena like optics, human anatomy, etc.
In 2016, one of his masterpieces, Salvator Mundi, was auctioned for $450 million, making it the most expensive painting in the world. However, Da Vinci beat his own record in 2019 when the Guinness World Records assessed the value of Mona Lisa at $850 million. It was acquired by King Francis I in 1797 and remains the property of the French republic.
4. Georges Pierres Seurat
Georges Seurat paintings paved the way for Divisionism and Pointillism by painting with small coloured dots instead of using regular brushstrokes. He came from a family of sculptors and his entry into the world was thought to be inevitable since he grew within a community of artists. Seurat paintings were greatly influenced by ‘The Grammar of Painting and Engraving’ by Charles Blanc.
Any discussion of Georges Seurat artworks is incomplete without mentioning A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884). A prime example of Georges Seurat pointillism paintings, it took two years to complete.
5. Edvard Munch
One of Edvard Munch most famous paintings—The Scream (1893) is etched on everybody’s mind as a depiction of the modern world’s anguish and desolation. He’s also regarded as the father of expressionism due to his intense representation of psychological themes and the use of bold colours and imagery. Many Edvard Munch paintings were created by a psychologically charged state of mind which makes these some of the most iconic pieces of art.
He claims to have heard “the scream of nature” one day, which led to his masterpiece, The Scream (1893). One of the most renowned Edvard Munch artworks—The Sick Child, was inspired by his eldest sister, Johanna’s death.
Sistine Chapel’s beauty and fame are mostly due to Michelangelo’s artistic skills. His art adorns the walls and ceilings of this historical site with iconic paintings. Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, the well-known 15th century Italian painter, sculptor, architect and poet left behind an artistic legacy that’s hard to compete with. Michelangelo is often seen as the central figure for the Renaissance man, along with his rival, Leonardo Da Vinci.
Some of his best known work graces the facade of Sistine Chapel, like The Creation of Adam. David and Pieta are counted amongst his most popular sculptures.
7. Lyman Saÿen
Lyman Sayen paintings are probably not as popular as the fact that he pioneered the creation of design for X-ray tubes that proved to be a major break hrough in medical care. But, they are significant contributions to the world of art. He spent his life as a scientist as well as an artist. Sayen was a well known proponent of Fauvism and Cubism, as seen in many of H. Lyman Sayen most famous artworks. Today, four H. Lyman Sayen paintings can be seen in the form of lunettes in room H-143, used by the House Committee of Appropriations.
Most of H. Lyman Sayen famous paintings were created in the last decade of his life. H. Lyman Sayen artworks like Garden, Wings and Landscape, Bridge, Huntingdon Valley are fine examples of his landscape paintings while Thundershower (1916-1918) and Daughter in a Rocker (1917-1918) are examples of his shift from Fauvism to Cubism.
8. Kamisaka Sekka
Hailing from a Samurai family of Kyoto, Japan, Kamisakka Sekka was a major proponent of the Rinpa school of art. Blending traditional Japanese art and modern art makes Kamisaka Sekka paintings one of the most sublime forms of art. His extensive travels to the West exposed him to the latest art forms and artistic movements. He came back with knowledge that would eventually bring about a renaissance of sorts by reviving Rinpa art for a modern audience.
This renaissance also gave birth to a distinct Kamisaka Sekka style that the artist is celebrated for. Today, Kamisaka Sekka artworks like Momoyagusa (A World of Things), A Thousand Grasses (Chigusa) and One Thousand Kind of Butterflies (Cho senshu) are amongst the 160+ woodblock prints to his credit.
9. Henri Rousseau
This self-taught artist was considered to be a torchbearer for avant-garde artists. Rousseau art didn’t always get its due to his unconventional style. Henri Rousseau paintings were often mocked for their naive and primitive style. Even though it made him a bit unpopular with the masses, he never gave up on his unique style and ideas. Henri Rousseau artworks are fondly remembered for their jungle-based themes and abstract portrayal of humans, flora and fauna.
Henri Rousseau famous paintings include Fight Between a Tiger and a Buffalo, Rendezvous in the Forest, Banana Harvest, etc.
10. Jackson Pollock
Rightly christened as ‘Jack the Dripper’, Jackson Pollock’s novel technique landed his work in the list of the 10 most expensive paintings in the world. His famous drip technique involved using syringes, sticks, hardened brushes and turkey basters to make paint drip down on the canvas. He had immense knowledge of fluid dynamics which gave his paintings the character they are known for today.
The two paintings in question—Number 17A and Number 5 were given simple titles so all the focus was reserved on the painting instead of the name. The former was completed in 1948 and featured on the cover of Life magazine, catapulting it to fame.