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Changes in Art in the Last One Hundred Years

Updated on October 22, 2011
"Lumbering" by Childe Hassam (1904)
"Lumbering" by Childe Hassam (1904) | Source


As an example of an artist in the late 1800's, early 1900s , Childe Hassam is unparelled in productivity and also, besides being one of the most fecund American artists, he is the one who brought Impressionism from the Continent to the United States. Childe Hassam was born in Wochester, Massachusetts, an American through and through. He was relatively untutored in art, though he had a great natural gift, and he, early in his career, made a living of drawing line art for newspaper advertisements.

As his art became more popular and more lucrative, and he was a recognized American painter, he became an important member of the American Society of Artists. It was his influence that brought Impressionism to the United States: before that, American art was distinguished from European art by having a much more realistic, less fuzzy and Impressionistic, style of brushwork, as well as recognizing naïve or native, untutored, less stylized artists. The subject, "Lumbering", is typical of American art of that period, it being a sort of raw, down-to-earth, outdoors-type subject. Though he gave it "the Monet treatment", he didn't really prettify his subject.

I do love his artwork. It's an historical record of America in the late 1800's, early 1900s; it's an entirely unspoiled America. I find it beautiful, not plebeian or bland. I could look at this kind of picture, for hours. And that's what pictures were, back then. The whole idea of painting a picture, of hanging it on the wall, was to give people something to look at, something to take them away from their present reality; something they could look at for hours.

Now we have...

Roger Brown, "Talk Show Addicts" 1993
Roger Brown, "Talk Show Addicts" 1993 | Source



Roger Brown was an American artist who was born in Hamilton, Alabama in 1941. He died in 1997, at the age of 56. His art is "postmodern", and reverts to being representational, in that respect. I respect his work, though I don't like it. And, though I don't like it, at least I understand the message he's sending. His work is meant to be accessible to everyone. I admire that attribute of his work.

Mr. Brown studied at the Art Institute in Chicago. His work sometimes is captioned, like a comic book, and has that sort of simple, accessible sincerity. His work is highly respected by the experts and collected by museums; he was kind enough to donate his three homes and all of his eclectic collection of art and objects to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on his death.

The above picture is by John Appleton Brown, who was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1844, and died in 1902 The title of the picture is "New England Landscape", and I believe it was painted towards the end of Mr. Brown's career.

I love this painting; it's another one that I could just sink in to, just look at it for hours and hours.

It takes us back to a much gentler era; America was just so very beautiful then. I've visited parts of New England that remind me very much of this picture, that are still so very much unspoiled and full of natural beauty.

John Appleton Brown, also known as Appleton Brown, handled the colors of his paintings so delicately; poetically, almost. You can see the changing lights of the day in his colors.

Mr. Brown studied in both America and Paris, and I can see something Parisian in his handling of the landscape. He had a studio in New York, in the late 1800's and turn of the century, and his last picture was exhibited at the National Academy in 1902.

"Animal and Other" by Leonard Koscianski
"Animal and Other" by Leonard Koscianski | Source

Leonard Koscianski was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1952. He studied with Buckminster Fuller, among others, and received both a Bachelor's Degree (from the Cleveland Institute of Art) and a Master's Degree (from the University of California) in Fine Art.

Mr. Koscianski has received many awards and kudos for his art; MOMA (the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art) exhibits his works, among other museums. He has received many awards for his art.

Once again, though I can admire and appreciate Mr. Koscianski's obvious and inherent artistry, I don't really like his art. It has its own kind of beauty; unfortunately for me, it isn't really my kind of beauty.

It reminds me very much of cinematic anime; that is not necessarily a BAD thing, but I wouldn't want it hanging on my wall. That type of art; indeed most of post-modern art, seems to me to have value in passing, sort of shock value, so to speak. It catches the eye.

I think that's the big difference. We are such a mobile society now; we move on so quickly. Our art has accommodate this trend.

I must say; I appreciate the former way of looking at art, at painting, as something that must last; something to be contemplated endlessly and repeatedly; something whose value and beauty stands up to the test of time.

Okay, you tell me--has art got uglier in the last 100 years?:

Please let me know which piece of artwork you like the best of those shown here:

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    • Paradise7 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, Kitty. Yes, "Animal and Other" is a real painting, not a photoshop or computer manipulated in any way, though it does kind of look like it could be. I wouldn't have it on my wall, either. The two post-modern artists I've chosen are the big guns presently in museum quality art.

      Truly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I also had to be very selective, otherwise the hub would just be impossibly long. I wanted to get several more American and European artists in here, to represent earlier art and art from later periods, but I had to cut and chop quite a bit.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      I guess I'd have to say yes, depending on the artwork though. I've seen some really gorgeous works of art by women on youtube, women that aren't even famous for their art, that surely outweighs the newer works of art here in sheer talent. That "animal and other" that real or did he do that graphically? I definitely don't like that one at all...who would even buy that and where would they put it? Anyway, I guess it all depends on the person you someone else might find that piece beautiful. Thanks for this hub. Voted up and interesting!

    • Paradise7 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, Cassie, and I agree!

    • Cassie Smith profile image

      Cassie Smith 

      7 years ago from U.S.

      I don't know if Art has gotten uglier. I think more things have come under the term "Art" than before. I find a lot of modern "Art dubious and political. But there are some really good ones out there.

    • Paradise7 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, Phil. It kind of should be that way: modern art should address our souls from the standpoint of today's world. I'm just a hopeless romantic, myself, and a deeply nostalgic one, at that.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      I find that modern art speaks to me more than traditional art does. While I like and can respect the work of traditional artists, I tend to always lean more towards modern art. Not quite as bizarre as Picasso, but modern just the same.

    • Paradise7 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you both, Gypsy Rose and Argdraw, for your comments. I'm with you all the way, Gypsy Rose Lee. Give me a landscape, or a picture of the men cutting wood in the forest, any old day!

      Argdraw, I'm still thinking over what you said about the period of art (I, personally like best) pre-dating photography. That's a profound and true comment. Photography and motion pictures changed art for the artists, at least, if not for everyone else. It had a huge impact which we are still digesting...So did computers, and modern technology altogether. give me much food to think.

      I'm still battling the illness, and will be for some time. It's a long highway that doesn't seem to have an ending; however, it MUST end, one way or another, some day.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      7 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Give me good ole landscapes and seascapes any time. I can't stand art where I have to ask what is it and what possesed the artist? Good hub!

    • profile image


      7 years ago from London

      In the 1900s and earlier, we did not have the camera, so painted art, did not have the competion from wildlife photos, or in modern times film. Art has changed to show what cameras can't and commercially to what people want? I admit your examples do nothing for me. The 1950s were a very dark time, the artists would have been war children even if not involved in the conflict, and art as they say is a window into the sole, and they looked troubled.

      Before panicking that art is changing, compare the new media, of wildlife documentaries, the media has changed not the art.

      Another great hub paradise, hope you soon shake your illness, as your hubs are always a pleasure to read

    • Paradise7 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, epiman. I'm so glad I was missed! I'm fighting a recurring illness hard; it just seems to drain me of all my strength and ambition. I have so many repeated trips to the doctor and other wellness places; they all know me! I get big smiles when they see me coming; though the places are not what I call fun, at least the people are very nice.

    • epigramman profile image


      7 years ago you know I simply love your hub subjects and the world class effort you put into them ......and so nice to hear from you - I missed you for a while ......and yes here is another one of your hubs that I will post to the FACEBOOK crowd with a direct link back here - and as always thank you for the enlightenment and the education here ...

      lake erie time ontario canada 11:33pm

    • Paradise7 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you for the comments. I had originally included about 12 very different artists from varying points of 1890 and onward: including Picasso, Georgia O'Keefe, and Salvadore Dali. I found it made the hub much too long so I pared it back to only these four, intending to show the most typical art of the earliest period, and now, for contrast.

      LeRoy, I think you said it better than I did in my whole hub, and that was exactly the point: I believe we go now for effect over beauty in our art.

      Flora: I love Impressionistic art and always have and always will, no matter what new thing comes along. It is us, I guess.

      Breakfastpop, I love that comment, that one man's ceiling is another man's floor. I'm going to remember it. Thanks.

      Laura, of course you're right. The selection was difficult, to say the least. This little hub only touches the tip of art of an earlier period and art today.

    • leroy64 profile image

      Brian L. Powell 

      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

      I think that beginning in the early twentieth century, a large number of cutting edge artists began looking for effect over beauty. They were relying an intellectual appreciation of art, an attitude which Post Modern artists inherited. Although, artists like Georgia O'Keeffe suggest other movements existed in the early Twentieth Century.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm a big fan of Impressionism. My mother is a Fine artist and she doesn't do any of the post-modern stuff. I agree that you can respect something and not like it at the same time.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      7 years ago

      Art can not be define in my view. One man's ceiling is another man's floor.

    • Laura du Toit profile image

      Laura du Toit 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Paradise had you chosen different artists from the various eras we could get a completely different picture. There are some brilliant artists today whose paintings are as good or better than Childe Hassam but given the artworks you have selected it would appear that art has deteriorated. Interesting hub and thanks for this thought provoking hub.

    • Paradise7 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, Green Lotus. I wish you would have voted in the poll, I'm really interested in the answers. Maybe most people don't like any of them, so they don't vote!

      Your comment is so profound; so wise. Yes, you are, of course, 100% correct: beauty or ugliness is a subjective, relative term. I look forward to reading your new hub.

    • Green Lotus profile image


      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Fine Art is such a highly subjective medium it's really difficult to answer your question as to whether "art" has gotten "uglier". I believe beauty, longevity, inspiration and an infinite number of other aesthetic values have and always will be in the eye of the beholder. You have; however, inspired me to put out another Hub on a parallel subject. Thanks!


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