Jan 05

The Key 20th C Artists, as proven by science

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 482 views

The Key 20th C Artists, as proven by science

So I have this Phaidon book, The 20th Century Artbook. It has one page each, a reproduction and brief text, on 500 20th C artists. Each entry also has 3-6 other artists from the book mentioned as links – some are similar or associated in some way, some influences on or influenced by, whatever. But who gets the most mentions (I saw a recent ranking of universities by citations in learned journals, which perhaps inspired this)? Well, 95% of the 500 artists get at least one link mention – there is a lot of reciprocity – but some winners emerge. The top two were predictable, but Pollock #3 and Rothko at =5th may indicate some American bias, and I think they overvalue the glossy surrealists – Dali, De Chirico, Magritte and Tanguy are high up, Klee (only 6!), Miro (5) and Ernst (4) way behind.

1. (30 link mentions) Pablo Picasso
2. (23) Henri Matisse
3. (21) Jackson Pollock
4. (20) Wassily Kandinsky
5= (17) Salvador Dali, Piet Mondrian, Mark Rothko
8= (16) Constantin Brancusi, Marcel Duchamp (below Dali!)
10= (15) Sol Lewitt
11= (14) Georges Braque, Giorgio De Chirico, Willem De Kooning
14= (13) Joseph Beuys, Donald Judd, Rene Magritte, Amedeo Modigliani
18= (12) Carl Andre, Hermann Nitsch (first I’d barely heard of – have I neglected performance art, I wonder?)
20= (11) Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cezanne (dying early in the century maybe didn’t help his score), Gina Pane (highest woman, and see Nitsch comment above), Robert Ryman, Yves Tanguy, Andy Warhol
26= (10) George Grosz, Edward Hopper, Elie Nadelman, Ben Nicholson (4 ahead of his wife!), Auguste Rodin, Helene Schjerfbeck, David Smith
33= (9) Umberto Boccioni, Andre Derain, Jean Fautrier, Paul Gauguin, Adolph Gottlieb, Mona Hatoum, David Hockney, Henri Laurens, Fernand Leger, Franz Marc, Edvard Munch, Bruce Naumann, Kiki Smith, Daniel Spoerri, Bill Viola, Mark Wallinger
50= (8) Judith Barry, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Anthony Caro, Robert Delaunay (Sonia on 2), Raoul Dufy, Richard Estes, Dan Flavin, Juan Gonzalez, Erich Heckel, Eva Hesse, On Kawara, Barbara Kruger, Richard Long, Aristide Maillol, Kasimir Malevich (far too low), Mario Merz, Emil Nolde, Eduardo Paolozzi, Mimmo Rotella, Robert Smithson, Ben Vautrier

Some who seem very underscored to me: on 7 are Giacometti, Henry Moore (sculpture doesn’t do too well here), Jasper Johns, Barnett Newman and Robert Rauschenberg (that far behind Pollock and Rothko?); on 6 are Calder, Hepworth, Agnes Martin (sorry Anthony!) and Monet; on 5 Man Ray, Schwitters and Sherman; on 4 Jean Arp, Gabo, Rae 4 (okay, this is certainly enough, but she’s a big favourite of mine); on 3 Chicago, Christo and Renoir; on 2 Feininger and Ruscha; and Cy Twombly just gets the one mention.

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