Have you seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Do you know the scene where they visit The Art Institute of Chicago? Come on? You know it. If you don’t, please stop what you’re doing right now and go watch that movie! Immediately. Then, I’d love it if you came back to revisit this post.
Some of the greatest artists and artworks of all time are spotlighted in that movie and a few show up in this list. When I saw that particular scene for the first time, it was without a doubt an extremely pivotal moment in my life. I could not wait to have a similar experience! Culture. Art. Trains. The city… experiencing life in all it’s glory as a young adult was like a tall drink of cold water!
So let’s get to it!
Here’s my top 20 countdown of the most influential painters of all time ⇒
20. Georges Seurat
My top 20 countdown starts with none other than, Georges Seurat! The piece that speaks to me and to Cameron for that matter: ‘A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte.’ What’s not to love? There’s a lady walking a monkey… and did I say it’s made of up tiny dots!? Ahhh… pointillism.
19. Emily Carr
17. Paul Cezanne
15. Edward Hopper
13. Kehinde Wiley
12. Will Cullen Hart
Check out this video giving a glimpse of the now sold out book detailing Will’s collected works of art. Sound on for the rad music, https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=1yFaHBPOLJI
11. Roy Lichtenstein
9. Frida Kahlo
8. Mary Cassatt
Check out what Faith has to say about the making of this iconic piece, https://www.pbs.org/video/craft-in-america-faith-ringgold-creating-tar-beach-story-quilt/
4. Van Gogh
I adore all of this artist’s work. The piece that most speaks to me is ‘Van Gogh’s Chair,’ simple yet deeply moving.
‘Haystacks’ I’m in aw that I’ve seen these in person and more than once. Kandinsky wrote about it perfectly, who knew the feeling was universal?
“That it was a haystack the catalogue informed me. I could not recognise it. This non-recognition was painful to me. I considered that the painter had no right to paint indistinctly. I dully felt that the object of the painting was missing. And I noticed with surprise and confusion that the picture not only gripped me, but impressed itself ineradicably on my memory. Painting took on a fairy-tale power and splendour.“
This piece took my breath away when I first saw it in person. Her entire life and catalog is a complete inspiration. She takes it by a landslide for the number 1 spot on my list.
There you have it! Let me know who tops your list of most influential painters… I’d love to find out, let me know by commenting below.
There are so many worthy artists! This list could probably change and fluctuate a thousand times over! So no hating if you feel I’ve left someone crucial out. It’s tough, you’ll find, if you give it a try!
Also, you may have noticed, but I intentionally left out watercolorist, and illustrators (aside from Norman Rockwell who was both illustrator and painter). In addition, I didn’t do a list of artists in general and so you’ve probably noticed this is painters only, and didn’t focus on other art forms like drawing with graphite, pastel, or ink, sculptors, installation artists, performance artists, graffiti artist or photographers.
I plan on doing a few more lists highlighting some of those fields of work, definitely illustrators and photographers so keep an eye out for those!
* The photographs of the artwork and the artwork in this post are not my own. They have been shared for research and education purposes only.