Modern Landscape Paintings


Modern landscape paintings are creative works of art that depict a surrounding environment, such as a river stream, mountains and other beautiful settings. In addition, modern landscape paintings often illustrate buildings, fences and other objects that weren't included in traditional landscape paintings. Traditional artists were limited to a studio to create their landscape paintings, however many modern landscape paintings are created en plein air.

Meaning that the artist was able to paint at the location of the setting, in order to capture it in a more accurate way and stay inspired throughout the process. There's also quite a few art movements associated with modern landscape paintings, such as fauvism, impressionism, and land art.

Examples of Modern Landscape Paintings

-'Der Blaue Reiter' (1903): Wassily Kandinsky created this outstanding landscape painting, and unlike other landscape paintings, it features a person who is riding a horse.

-'Road in Maine' (1914): Gorgeous landscape painting created by Edward Hopper, which represents American realism to the fullest.

-'Green Sea' (1958): Beautiful piece of art that was produced by Milton Avery in 1958. It features an awe-striking view of the land meeting the ocean.

-'Seacoast in Moonlight' (1890): This dramatic landscape painting was produced by Albert Pinkham Ryder, using oil on canvas as a medium.

-'The Cliff at 'Etretat after the Storm' (1885): Beautiful ocean view setting where Claude Monet displays the environment in a unique way. The color and sunlight effects on the ocean are simply outstanding.

-'Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne' (1872): Alfred Sisley is responsible for painting this wonderful landscape setting. This is a great example of a modern era artist that incorporated manmade elements into the painting.

-'Impression, soleil levant' (1872): This famous landscape painting is what the entire impressionism movement is named after, as it's a very inspiring work of art created by Claude Monet.

What makes a painting modern?

It's actually very easy to tell when a painting is modern or not, as a modern painting will have been created during the modern era. Modern art also uses more shapes and color effects to represent a landscape, whereas traditional paintings were more focused on realism. Modern landscapes might be harder to recognize than a traditional one, simply because modern artists are trying to present the setting to you in a beautiful way.

The modern era in art ranges from 1860-1970, however the end date will change as contemporary art becomes modern. Many people will confuse modern art with contemporary art, as it's very easy to get them confused with each other sometimes. Contemporary paintings are ones that have been created in this lifetime, from artists who are generally still alive. After some decades pass, their paintings will finally be considered modern. For now, the modern era ends at about 1970.

Due to impressionism and abstract-like art becoming more popular during the modern era, there's a good deal of abstract landscape paintings during the time. Modern landscape paintings might portray a beautiful setting without perspective or from various perspectives at once. Sometimes, they will even emphasize a fence or other object within the landscape setting. You will know the painting is modern because of the time era, and the fact that the painting isn't traditional in appearance. Although, some modern landscape paintings do look like traditional paintings, so the biggest giveaway is the year the piece of art was created. A good deal of modern landscape paintings were created with oil on canvas, whereas traditional paintings were created on wooden planks in studios.

Modern Landscape Art Movements

There were many art movements during the modern era that landscape art was associated with. Fauvism, impressionism, tonalism and many other movements were popular during that particular moment in time.

Tonalism is a style that became popular during the 1880's and eventually died down by the year 1915. American artists were the ones responsible for these unique landscape paintings, using many neutral colors like blue, gray and brown to create a somewhat mystical atmosphere to the setting. They used these colors to create a tone to their paintings, as they paid extra attention to the shadow and emotion of the paintings. George Inness and James McNeill Whistler were the known leaders of the tonalism art movement.

Fauvism may have had a short life, but it was still a wonderful movement. These artists created paintings that put more emphasis on simplification, color and having an overall more abstract appearance. Their landscape paintings were simpler, with a focus on strong color, rather than realism. The result was astonishing, as movement leaders Henri Matisse and AndrÚ Derain created outstanding works of art.

The impressionism movement began in Paris, and the name comes from a painting titles 'Impression soleil levant' by Claude Monet. Often depicting settings from an unusual or odd angle, these modern landscape paintings had a particular emphasis on lighting and human perception. The paintings are extremely detailed, however the early impressionist were considered radicals in their time. Impressionist would physically paint at the location of the setting; therefore their landscape paintings did a wonderful job at capturing the effects of sunlight and wind.

The modern era was an exciting time for the world of art, as many different movements had a chance to express themselves to society. Landscape paintings became very popular in the modern era, most likely because artists had more inspiration when they painted en plein air. Many of these artists were considered to be radicals who broke every academic painting rule in the book.


Some of the most famous and most respected pieces of art are modern landscape paintings. The modern era was a great period of time where art went through dramatic changes, giving birth to new types of landscape paintings. Although we only covered impressionism, fauvism and tonalism, there are many other movements that modern landscape paintings were associated with. Because there were so many different styles of painting during the modern era, it's no surprise that some of the most beautiful landscape paintings created were produced during this time period. Artists during the modern era were also able to paint en plein air, which inspired more artists to create landscape paintings than ever before.

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