An art movement characterized by the deliberate departure from tradition and the use of innovative forms of expression that distinguish many styles in the arts and literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Modernism refers to this period's interest in:

  • new types of paints and other materials
  • expressing feelings, ideas, fantasies, and dreams instead of the visual world we otherwise see
  • creating abstractions, rather than representing what is real
  • a rejection of naturalistic colour
  • a use of choppy, clearly visible brushstrokes
  • the acceptance of line, form, colour, and process as valid subject matter by themselves
  • a requirement that the audience take a more active role as interpreter. Each viewer must observe carefully, and get information about the artist's intentions and environment, before forming judgments about the work.

Paul Cézanne (French, 1839-1906) is often called the "Father of Modernism." The modern period is generally thought to have been followed by the one we are in now — most often called postmodern. Although some prefer to call it late modern. (

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