MORE 20th Century Artists With Incredible  Careers and Personal Stories

The Imitate Modern website showcases a diverse range of contemporary artists, each with their own unique style and approach to art. And after the success of our previous articles about a select few 20th century artists, our team at the Imitate Modern have decided to dedicate another diary entry to a few more incredible artists, including photographers and painters of the 20th century. 

Parallel to the expansion in fast travel and improved technology, the 20th century was the first time in history when artists could rapidly explore new art forms, mediums, and concepts that challenged our traditional notions of art and beauty. In this diary entry, we’ll unveil the lives and artwork of eight emerging names and famous artists of the 20th century and into the early part of the current millennium.

20th century artists

Catch Up on Our Previous Diary Entries About Famous 20th Century Artists With Fascinating Stories

Before we begin this post about 20th century painters, photographers and other artists you should know about, have a skim over our previous List of 20th Century Artists With Fascinating Stories to learn about the fantastic Louise Bourgeois, Nobuyoshi Araki and Annie Leibovitz. 

You might also like our previous diary entry ‘Top Latin American Artists With Interesting Stories’ featuring the fabulous Frida Kahlo, Wilfredo Lam, Tony Capellán, Paz Errázuriz, Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Lopez, Daniel Hernández-Salazar and Doris Salcedo. As a well-recognised artist of 20th century, you may be surprised to read about Kahlo’s dark and unlucky past battling with illness and accidents in her early years and untimely death at the age of just 47.

Artists of the 20th Century Worth Learning About

Mr. Brainwash (B. 1966)

You may know about the first artist on our list from our previous diary entry, ‘5 Facts You May Not Know About Mister Brainwash’. 

Mr. Brainwash is a pseudonym for Thierry Guetta, a French street artist who gained recognition through his role in the Banksy documentary ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’. His work often incorporates pop culture or film references (including two very famous mice from Disney, aka Mickey and Minnie Mouse).

David Bailey (B. 1938)

David Bailey is a British photographer known for his iconic images of celebrities and models in the 1960s, who is also known for trying his hand at painting and sculpture work. 

His work often challenged the traditional beauty and glamour of the mid to late 1900s, and we believe that Bailey’s work with celebrities and female models defined the visual style of the era. 

Learn more about this iconic photographer in our previous post, ‘David Bailey | Background, Photography Career and Notable Work’. 

Nana Del Riego (B. 1996)

Nana del Riego is one of our up-and-coming artist sensations at the Imitate Modern. We are so proud to represent this Cuban artist in London who is known for her bold and colourful abstract works, including various fun self-portraits exploring the feminine form from her unique perspective as a young Cuban woman navigating the highly commercialised Western world through art. Her pieces often explore themes of self and feminine identity, memory, and the natural world. 

Henry Hate (B. 1968)

Henry Hate, otherwise known as Henry Martinez Jr., is an American artist and tattooist from Orange, Ca, known for his intricate and highly detailed tattoo designs. Hate work often incorporates traditional tattoo imagery and themes, as well as pop culture references and social commentary. Hate has also worked in other mediums, such as painting, sculpture, and fashion design. 

Throughout his multitalented career, Hate has also partnered with countless famous faces, including Amy Winehouse, Alexander McQueen, and Banksy. As Henry Hate now lives and works in London, we now represent this artist at our London contemporary art gallery. 

Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

Andy Warhol was an American artist and one of the founding father’s the pop art movement of the 1960s. He was known for his colourful silkscreen prints of iconic American objects, such as Campbell’s soup cans and Coca-Cola cans, and celebrities, including the fabulous Marilyn Monroe and the talented Elvis Presley. As a key artist of the 20th century, Warhol’s art explored the connection between art, celebrity, and consumer behaviourism in the latter half of the century. 

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

Salvador Dali was a Spanish artist known for his surrealist paintings, sculptures, and prints, which many people often described as ‘dreamlike’. Some of his most recognisable work includes his melting clocks and distorted figures, which explored themes of the subconscious and the irrational.

Cindy Sherman (B. 1954)

Iconic American photographer Cindy Sherman is known for her self-portraits that explore issues of identity and gender for a person in the 1970s. Sherman’s work often subverts traditional notions of beauty and the female form using humour, criticisms and brow-furrowing new angles to art.

Learn more: Cindy Sherman Biography and Photography

Francis Bacon (1909-1992)

Francis Bacon was an Irish-born British painter known for his emotionally charged and distorted portraits. His work often explored the darker aspects of human existence using movement and darker colours in his work. His name is probably among the most recognised as one of the famous 20th century painters you might study during school. 


The 20th century artist names listed here represent a restricted selection of the diverse and influential artists of the 1900s. Of course, we have also featured a few of the talented artists who are part of the Imitate Modern gallery, and we hope to teach you more about the artist’s work and lives in subsequent diary entries on our website. If you enjoyed reading about these eight artists, take a look at our website, where you can find articles dedicated to interesting modern and contemporary artists or learn about our gallery in London. 

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