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From Abstract to Surrealism…Art styles that will beautify your walls

(4 min read) Art is a form of self-expression and a way to convey emotions, ideas, and life experiences.  There are so many different art styles because artists have various ways of saying how they feel, how they see the world, and what they’re going through. 

As an art enthusiast, you’ve probably come across various terms, like the product search filters on our website. But, really, what’s the difference between Art Deco and Art Nouveau? Expressionism and Impressionism? What makes Pop Art, well, pop?

In this glossary, we’ll look at different art styles and learn what they really mean. We hope our short guide makes it easier to look for the right mosaic design for your space.


Abstraction

Handmade Mosaic Artwork and Mural designs
Smoke and Mirrors mosaic tile art, © Mosaics Lab.

Abstraction or abstract art is a broad term covering many styles and movements. The Tate UK defines abstract art as “art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality.” Real-life or figurative art is simplified into an array of shapes, colors, and forms.

Famous abstract artists: Vasily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Mark Rothko


Art Deco

Guard Building Mosaic Artwork
Guard Building, Detroit, Michigan, USA, photo by Ken Lund on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Art Deco was a glamorous art movement from the 1920s to the 1930s. It was often associated with design, architecture, and decorative arts. It traced its origins to a 1925 Paris exhibition of “Arts Decoratifs.” In its heyday, Art Deco was sleek, modern, geometric, streamlined, yet opulent. 

Famous Art Deco artists: Hildreth Meiere, Tamara de Lempicka, René Lalique


Art Nouveau

Maison Huot, France.
Maison Huot, Nancy, France, photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Art Nouveau, or “New Art,” was an earlier style that dates to the 1880s until World War I. The art movement was known for using curved, flowing lines inspired by nature. Some of the finest examples of Art Nouveau can be found in architecture, design, and illustration. 

Famous Art Nouveau artists: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Antonio Gaudi, Gustav Klimt


Cubism

Mosaic Artwork, Mosaic designs, Picasso Mosaic reproduction
Pablo Picasso’s Three Women, © Mosaics Lab.

In the early 20th century, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque pioneered Cubism, a style initially ridiculed for consisting of “little cubes.” But there is more to Cubism than geometric planes. When you look at a Cubist painting, the subject is broken down into shapes and rendered in multiple angles. According to the Museum of Modern Art, the Cubists “abstracted from real life.” Still, they would include small, identifiable forms—like a man going down a flight of stairs, for example. 

Famous Cubists: Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Fernand Léger 


Expressionism

Egon Schiele Self Portrait
Self-Portrait, Egon Schiele, photo by Yelkrokoyade on Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Expressionist art and architecture flourished between 1905 and 1920, notably in Germany. Influenced by painters such as Edvard Munch and Vincent van Gogh, the Expressionists exaggerated and distorted lines and colors in their work for meaning and emotional impact.

Famous Expressionists: Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner


Folk

La manada by Mercedes Lagunas
La Manada by Mercedes Lagunas.

There is no one definition of folk art. Generally, it is an expression of traditional culture. Folk art is rooted in a community’s tradition, showcasing the artist or artisan’s cultural identity. Folk artists typically learn their skills through informal apprenticeships, although they may also be self-taught or formally educated.

Famous folk artists: Grandma Moses, Maud Lewis, George Smart


Impressionism

Boating artwork by Edouard Manet
Boating by Édouard Manet.

One of the most widely recognized styles in our glossary, Impressionism, was a French art style that emerged in the mid-to-late 19th century. The term was borne out of a scathing review of a group exhibit in 1874, where an art critic “poked fun at Monet’s painting, Impression, Sunrise.” Impressionist works are distinguished by small, visible brush strokes, unblended colors, and a truthful depiction of natural sunlight. 

Famous Impressionists: Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas


Pop Art

Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol
Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol.

Pop art was a British and American art movement from the 1950s to the 1970s. It’s called “pop art” because its artists explored imagery from popular culture. Prominent names like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein applied commercial techniques and materials, such as screen-printing, in producing fine art. 

Famous Pop artists: Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann


Surrealism

Dream Caused by the flight of a bed by Salvador Dali
Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee by Salvador Dalí.

Surrealism was not only an art style. It was a literary, intellectual, and artistic movement borne out of a 1924 manifesto by the French poet Andre Breton. The creative movement was heavily inspired by the work of psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Its visual artists attempted to tap into the “superior reality” of the subconscious mind. As a result, surrealist art is like something out of a dream, with hyper-realistic subjects put together in strange ways. 

Famous Surrealists: Salvador Dalí, Rene Magritte, Joan Miró


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C. Tensuan

C. Tensuan

Carla Tensuan is a specialized content writer and visual arts enthusiast who writes about the arts, mosaic art, Interior Design, and the latest trends in decor.

16 Comments

  1. Krysten Quiles
    September 10, 2021 at 6:03 am — Reply

    These are so fun, I love all the colors!

  2. P.J.
    September 12, 2021 at 11:42 pm — Reply

    That smoke and mirror mosaic art looks absolutely stunning. Really very creative.

  3. Lyosha
    September 13, 2021 at 7:03 am — Reply

    I love abstract paintings on the walls, it always adds up a lot. However it does highly depend on the overall apartment/house styling

  4. Stephanie
    September 13, 2021 at 10:44 am — Reply

    I think my favorites are abstract and the folk art for the fun colors.

  5. Kate
    September 13, 2021 at 12:14 pm — Reply

    My favourite art styles are Art Deco and Pop Art… I love them both and have both in my home.

  6. Kathy Kenny
    September 13, 2021 at 12:19 pm — Reply

    I love the different wall arts. It’s really stunning.

  7. Neely Moldovan
    September 13, 2021 at 3:36 pm — Reply

    Im a big fan of pop art! My dad has the coolest pop art at his house.

  8. Fola
    September 13, 2021 at 5:27 pm — Reply

    Art work is always beautiful. I love those abstract painting they are unique and looks real

  9. Shar
    September 14, 2021 at 2:36 am — Reply

    They’re all striking pieces of art! I love blue so much and find the nouveau art rather intriguing.

  10. Just Juan
    September 14, 2021 at 9:25 am — Reply

    Great explanation and simplistic breakdown of the art styles. I’m a big fan of pop art, especially Andy Warhol.

  11. Renata Feyen
    September 14, 2021 at 4:19 pm — Reply

    If I had to choose between all those styles, my choice would be the surrealism

  12. Bauhinia
    September 16, 2021 at 6:26 am — Reply

    I would like to have some arts like these in my home for decorations. That would make my home warmer and colourful!

  13. Lyanna Soria
    September 16, 2021 at 6:39 am — Reply

    All of those different art styles are so beautiful! Absolutely loved them especially the Art Nouveau artwork.

  14. A. Sami
    September 16, 2021 at 9:05 am — Reply

    I have heard of these different art styles when I was in school. They look great for mosaics too!

  15. Marjie Mare
    September 16, 2021 at 9:37 am — Reply

    These are so real and beautiful. I wish I could have one in my house.

  16. CA
    September 18, 2021 at 4:31 am — Reply

    I love this collection! They are so pleasant to the eyes!

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