Which Modernist Are You?

Take our test and discover which of the Modernists most closely matches your outlook

By Google Arts & Culture

One of eight Le Corbusier's murals at Eileen Gray's modernist villa, E-1027 (1938) by Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-GrisSydney Opera House

Modernism was a global movement in society and culture that began in the early decades of the twentieth century. The aim behind the movement was to find some order and understanding in the values and realities of modern industrial life. Like most artistic movements, it built on work of earlier artists, particularly those of the late 19th century. Modernists used new imagery, materials and techniques to create art that was a clearer reflection of the changing world around them.

Although the term Modernism is generally used to describe the series of art movements that emerged around this time, rather than one single stylistic shift, there are certain underlying principles that define Modernist art. These include a move away from history and conservative values (such as realistic depiction) and experimentation with form towards a more abstract style. There was also a strong emphasis on materials, techniques and processes.

The ideas behind modern art were generally associated with progress and a move away from the old world into a bold and brave new future. But each of the major Modernists had a very distinct approach to what this might look like. Take our test below to find out which of the Modernists you most closely resemble.     

Place de la Concorde (1938–1943)Dallas Museum of Art

Do you like to keep things very simple?

This artist changed from a more figurative style of painting to an increasingly abstract style. His work was highly motivated by a search for universal values and appreciation of beauty. He once said, ‘ Art is higher than reality and has no direct relation to reality’.

He founded the De Stijl movement alongside Theo van Doesburg and ended up limiting his colour palette to just the three primary colours – red, blue and yellow. If you like to keep things simple and find the beauty in basic form, this is the modernist for you. 

But who is it?

Piet Mondrian, 1872 - 1944

Notre-Dame, une fin d'après-midi (A Glimpse of Notre Dame in the Late Afternoon) (1902) by Henri MatisseAlbright-Knox Art Gallery

Do you like to rewrite the rules?

Known for his intense use of colour, this artist helped to define the revolutionary artistic developments of the 20th century. His work was known for its flattened forms and decorative patterns.     

Later in life ill health prevented him from painting, so he moved into collage using cut paper, a move that was typical of his shifting use of materials and styles that always pushed the boundaries of what was considered art. 

Can you name him?

Henri Matisse, 1896 - 1954

Petunia No. 2 (1924) by Georgia O'KeeffeGeorgia O'Keeffe Museum

Anything they can do, you can do better?

One of the most influential artists in the history of Modernism, this artist was best known for her large format paintings of natural forms, including flowers and bones, as well as her depictions of the skyscrapers that were dotting the New York skyline.

She increasingly abandoned realism and turned towards expressionism and abstraction under the tutelage of artist and educator Arthur Wesley Dow. Her pioneering work proved that the modernist movement was just as significant in the US as it was in Europe.

Who was she?

Georgia O’Keeffe, 1887-1986

The Student (1915 - 1916) by Anita MalfattiMASP - Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand

Do you like to challenge expectations?

This artist was the first to introduce ideas of European and American modernism into Brazil, at a time when her style and subject matter were considered revolutionary. Contemporary art in Brazil was old fashioned and conservative, and perhaps unprepared for the work of this pioneering artist.

Her work often featured Cubist or Post-Impressionist motifs, which disrupted the contemporary reliance on end-of-the-century Romanticism. Her vibrant colour palette, forceful drawing, and distorted and abstract forms caused a stir. She's arguably one of the bravest painters in the Modernist movement. 

Can you name her?

Anita Malfatti, 1889-1964

Series I - From the Plains (1919) by Georgia O'KeeffeGeorgia O'Keeffe Museum

Intrigued by O'Keeffe?

If the work of Georgia O'Keeffe has caught your eye and you would like to know more, you can discover some interesting facts about her life and work here.

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