Famous 20th Century Artists & Painters

Find out more about the greatest 20th Century Painters, including Bob Ross, Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dali, Jackson Pollock and Matthew Gray Gubler.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali.
Famous As: Surrealist Painter
Birthdate: May 11, 1904
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Figueres, Spain
Died: January 23, 1989

Salvador Dali was a Spanish artist best remembered for his precise draftsmanship and technical skills. His artwork is famous for depicting bizarre and striking images. In spite of producing brilliant artworks, Dali's ostentatious and eccentric public behavior often overshadowed his professional achievements, much to the irritation of his fans and critics. His works have influenced other artists like Jeff Koons.

 2 Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol.
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: August 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 22, 1987

Andy Warhol was an artist and filmmaker who played a key role in the visual art movement. Thanks to his extensive body of work, he has been the subject of various films, books, and retrospective exhibitions. Described as the bellwether of the art market, some of Warhol's works are among the most expensive paintings ever sold.

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 3 Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: December 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, United States
Died: August 12, 1988

Jean-Michel Basquiat was an American artist whose legacy has had an influence upon fashion, film, music, and literature. He serves as an inspiration to street artists as he started off as one, painting graffiti on buildings. After his death, at the age of 27, the value of his work has increased; in 2017, one of his paintings sold for a record $110.5 million.

 4 Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock.
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: January 28, 1912
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cody
Died: August 11, 1956
Abstract Expressionist artist Jackson Pollock pioneered the drip technique or action painting, which involved moving his whole body to paint on a horizontal surface. Unfortunately, he struggled with alcoholism and died in a car accident, while drunk driving. He inspired a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography and the 2000 film Pollock.
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 5 Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe.
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: November 15, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, United States
Died: March 6, 1986
Artist Georgia O'Keeffe enriched American modernism and precisionism with her artwork, mostly water color and charcoal paintings. She was the first female artist to have a retrospective at New York’s MOMA. Her paintings focused on the cityscapes and landscapes of New York and New Mexico, and abstract flowers.

 6 David Hockney

David Hockney.
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: July 9, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bradford

Painter, photographer, printmaker, and stage designer David Hockney is best known for his works such as Portrait of an Artist, which became the most expensive piece of art by a living artist ever auctioned, at $90 million. His works have explored themes such as homosexuality. He has synesthesia, too.

 7 Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko.
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: September 25, 1903
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Daugavpils, Latvia
Died: February 25, 1970

Considered part of the New York school of painters of the 1940s, Mark Rothko was best known for his signature color field paintings, consisting of vertically set rectangular patches of color. A significant figure of the Abstract Expressionist movement, he also experimented with murals and mythological themes.

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 8 Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: October 28, 1909
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: April 28, 1992

Francis Bacon was an English philosopher and statesman. He played a major role in the development of the scientific method and was an influential figure through the scientific revolution. He served as attorney general and as lord chancellor of England and was the first recipient of the queen's counsel designation. He has created Baron Verulam in 1618. 

 9 Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo.
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: July 6, 1907
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Coyoacán, Mexico City, Mexico
Died: July 13, 1954

Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, was known for her many portraits and self-portraits. Her work is said to have been inspired by the nature, artifacts and popular culture of Mexico. Her work was not much known until the late 1970s, when it was rediscovered by art historians and political activists. By early 1990s, she became a recognized figure in art history.

 10 Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons
Famous As: Sculptor, Painter
Birthdate: January 21, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: York

 11 Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns
Famous As: Painter, Sculptor, Costume designer
Birthdate: May 15, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Augusta

 12 Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore.
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: May 7, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: August 7, 1941

Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian polymath who contributed greatly to the fields of literature, art, and philosophy. Referred to as the Bard of Bengal, Tagore is credited with reshaping Bengali literature and music. The first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore is also credited with composing the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.

 13 Matthew Gray Gubler

Matthew Gray Gubler.
Famous As: Actor, Director, Model, Painter
Birthdate: March 9, 1980
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Las Vegas

American actor, Matthew Gray Gubler, is best known for playing the character of Dr Spencer Reid in the popular and acclaimed television series Criminal Minds. He has also acted in films like 500 Days of Summer, Suburban Gothic and How to Be a Serial Killer. He won a Daytime Emmy Award for his role in the television series, The Beauty Inside.

 14 Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois.
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: December 25, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 31, 2010

Louise Bourgeois was a French-American artist best remembered for her large-scale installation art and sculpture. Also a prolific printmaker and painter, Bourgeois explored a variety of themes, such as sexuality and death. In 1997, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts. In 2009, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 15 Georges Braque

Georges Braque
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: May 13, 1882
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Argenteuil, France
Died: August 31, 1963

French painter Georges Braque is considered one of the pioneers of Cubism. His 1908 masterpiece Large Nude is one of his most celebrated pieces. Critics often argue whether Braque or Picasso had first begun developing Cubism, and many of their works are very similar in nature.

 16 Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein.
Famous As: Painter, Sculptor
Birthdate: October 27, 1923
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Died: September 29, 1997

 17 Stephen Hillenburg

Stephen Hillenburg.
Famous As: Animator
Birthdate: August 21, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lawton, Oklahoma
Died: November 26, 2018
Stephen Hillenburg is best known as the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants, the fifth-longest-running animated series in the U.S, which earned him two Emmys and six Annie Awards. He was initially a marine biologist and an instructor at the Orange County Marine Institute. He died of ALS, a neurodegenerative disease.

 18 Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby.
Famous As: Comic Book Artist
Birthdate: August 28, 1917
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: February 6, 1994
Jacob Kurtzberg, or Jack Kirby, initially published comics under various other pseudonyms, such as "Jack Curtiss" and "Curt Davis." He worked with Marvel, where he co-created characters such as The Fantastic Four and the X-Men, along with Stan Lee. He then joined DC, where he created the Fourth World Saga

 19 Yvonne McGuinness

Yvonne McGuinness.
Famous As: Visual Artist
Birthdate: October 12, 1972
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kilkenny
Irish visual artist Yvonne McGuinness is renowned for her video installations and prints. Most of her art works revolve around themes of conflict between revealing and hiding one’s true self. She has also made several short films, such as Charlie's Place. She is married to Irish actor Cillian Murphy.

 20 Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter
Famous As: Painter, University teacher, Visual artist
Birthdate: February 9, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dresden

German visual artist Gerhard Richter started out as a Social Realist painter and was later exposed to avant-garde art. He mastered the art of painting scenes collected from newspapers and magazines, including terrorists and serial killer victims. He later also worked on stained-glass design and abstract art.

 21 Fred Gwynne

Fred Gwynne
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 30, 1926
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: July 2, 1993

Best known for his towering height, Fred Gwynne was the perfect choice for the role of Herman Munster in The Munsters. The actor and singer was a Harvard alumnus. He excelled in swimming and had also served the U.S. Navy. He later also wrote and illustrated popular children’s books.

 22 Gary Burghoff

Gary Burghoff.
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 24, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bristol, Connecticut

Gary Burghoff is an American actor who is credited with originating the popular role of Charlie Brown in the 1967 Broadway musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. He is also known for originating the role of Walter Eugene O'Reilly in the 1970 black comedy war movie MASH and the popular TV series of the same name.

 23 Akira Toriyama

Akira Toriyama.
Famous As: Japanese Manga Artist
Birthdate: April 5, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture

Akira Toriyama is a Japanese character designer and manga artist. The creator of one of the most popular manga series of all time, Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama is widely considered one of the most influential artists to have changed the history of manga; his creation Dragon Ball is often cited as a source of inspiration by several manga artists.

 24 Margaret Keane

Margaret Keane.
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: September 15, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nashville, Tennessee

 25 Tom Franco

Tom Franco.
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 14, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Palo Alto, California

Tom Franco is an American artist and actor. He is credited with founding the Firehouse Art Collective, an art gallery in Berkeley, California. The younger brother of actor and filmmaker, James Franco, Tom Franco followed in the footsteps of his brother to become an actor before exploring his skills as an artist.

 26 John Leguizamo

John Leguizamo.
Famous As: Actor, Stand-up Comedian
Birthdate: July 22, 1964
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bogotá, Colombia

John Leguizamo is a popular stand-up comedian and actor who is credited with voicing Sid the Sloth in the Ice Age film series. Over the years, John Leguizamo has also played a major role in helping the Hispanic community and has been honored by organizations, such as the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors.

 27 Bal Thackeray

Bal Thackeray
Famous As: Politician, Journalist, Painter
Birthdate: January 23, 1926
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mumbai
Died: November 17, 2012

Legendary Indian politician Bal Thackeray, or Balasaheb Thackeray, was the patriarch of one of the most influential political families of India and the founder of the Shiv Sena. He went from being a cartoonist to the godfather of Maharashtra, though his overtly regional and Hindu nationalist ideals were often criticized.

 28 Ric Ocasek

Ric Ocasek
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 23, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, USA

 29 Sean Pertwee

Sean Pertwee.
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 4, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London

Sean Pertwee is an English actor and narrator. The son of actor, Jon Pertwee, Sean followed in the footsteps of his father to establish himself in the entertainment industry. Apart from playing important roles in films like Dog Soldiers, he is also known for his work as a narrator in TV shows, such as Zero Hour and MasterChef: The Professionals.

 30 H. R. Giger

H. R. Giger.
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: February 5, 1940
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chur
Died: May 12, 2014

H. R. Giger was a Swiss artist remembered for his airbrushed images of machines and humans intertwined in cold biomechanical relationships. He is also remembered for his work as part of the special effects team that worked in Ridley Scott's 1979 science fiction horror film Alien, for which the team won an Academy Award

 31 Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei.
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: August 28, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Beijing
Named Art Review’s most powerful artist in 2011, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has become a symbol of resilience against the authoritarian Chinese government. Jailed and banned from leaving the country once, he is known for using various media, such as sculpture, photos, and documentaries, to reflect Chinese human-rights abuses.

 32 Franz Marc

Franz Marc
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: February 8, 1880
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: March 4, 1916

Best known as one of the founders of the German Expressionist group The Blue Rider, German painter Franz Marc mostly depicted animals through his works. The Tower of Blue Horses and Yellow Cow are two of his notable works. Children and the mentally disabled also appeared as his subjects.

 33 Clive Barker

Clive Barker
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: October 5, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liverpool, England

Clive Barker is an English playwright, novelist, visual artist, and film director. He gained prominence in the 1980s as a horror writer and has since written many novels and other works. As an illustrator, he has created original characters and series for comic books. He also creates costume designs. He is a recipient of the Inkpot Award. 

 34 Gerda Wegener

Gerda Wegener
Famous As: Illustrator
Birthdate: March 15, 1886
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hammelev, Denmark
Died: July 28, 1940

 35 Jade Jagger

Jade Jagger.
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: October 21, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris

Jewelry and home designer Jade Jagger, daughter of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, has also been a model. She launched the fashion brand Jade Inc. and a lifestyle concept called Jezebel. She has also worked for Garrard and designed luxury apartments in New York and Mumbai.

 36 Swizz Beatz

Swizz Beatz
Famous As: Record producer, Entrepreneur, Painter, Rapper, Singer, Businessperson, Songwriter
Birthdate: September 13, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City

 37 Takeshi Kitano

Takeshi Kitano
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: January 18, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Adachi, Tokyo, Japan

Takeshi Kitano is a Japanese comedian, TV presenter, author, actor, and filmmaker. He gained international fame in the 1970s as one half of the comedy duo Two Beat. He later pursued a solo act and became one of the top comedians in Japan. He then ventured into acting and direction as well. He won the Golden Lion award in 1997.   

 38 Edwin Schlossberg

Edwin Schlossberg.
Famous As: Designer
Birthdate: July 19, 1945
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Artist and interactive designer Edwin Schlossberg is the husband of John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Kennedy. Apart from designing structures such as Terrell Place, He has also authored several books, including Interactive Excellence and Einstein and Beckett. He has been part of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, too.

 39 Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning.
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: April 24, 1904
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Died: March 19, 1997
Willem de Kooning was a Dutch-American artist and one of the most famous practitioners of abstract expressionism of his generation. One of the 20th century's best-known artists, de Kooning is noted for paintings, such as Woman III (1953) and Interchange (1955). Many of his paintings have been sold for record prices.

 40 Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Famous As: Artist, Architect, Sculptor, Painter
Birthdate: June 3, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Excelsior Springs
Died: February 12, 1994

Donald Judd was an American artist widely regarded as one of the most prominent international exponents of minimalism. He is credited with founding a contemporary art museum named Chinati Foundation which houses the collection of popular artists like Carl Andre, Ilya Kabakov, Richard Long, and John Wesley. Judd also contributed as a teacher at many academic institutions in the USA.

 41 Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud
Famous As: Painter, Illustrator, Printmaker
Birthdate: December 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: July 20, 2011

The son of architect L. Freud and the grandson of legendary psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, painter Lucian Freud was born in Berlin but later moved to London to flee Nazism. He showed an inclination toward surrealism initially but later drifted to realism. Cedric Morris remains one of his notable works.

 42 Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami
Famous As: Sculptor, Painter, Artist, Film director
Birthdate: February 1, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Itabashi-ku

Takashi Murakami is a Japanese contemporary artist who works in both fine arts media and commercial arts media. He is known for blurring the line between “high” and “low” arts. He is the founder of the art production and artist management company Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. He has collaborated with the fashion brand Louis Vuitton as well. 

 43 L. S. Lowry

L. S. Lowry.
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: November 1, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Stretford, Lancashire, England
Died: February 23, 1976

Laurence Stephen Lowry was an English painter, known for his bleak urban industrial landscapes, peopled with human figures akin to “matchstick men”. He became interested in the subject while working at a Manchester real-estate and began depicting what he saw. Although critics are divided over his stature, they all agree on the relevance of his works as a social commentary.

 44 Ariana Richards

Ariana Richards
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 11, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Healdsburg, California, USA

 45 Osamu Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka
Famous As: Film director, Film producer, Mangaka, Animator, Physician, Writer, Designer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: November 3, 1928
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toyonaka
Died: February 9, 1989

Osamu Tezuka was a Japanese manga artist, cartoonist, animator, and film director. He revolutionized the manga genre in Japan and was lovingly called  "the Godfather of Manga". A prolific artist, he created works for both children and adult-oriented projects. He was the recipient of several awards, including the Winsor McCay Award and the Japan Cartoonists Association Award. 

 46 Soumitra Chatterjee

Soumitra Chatterjee
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 19, 1935
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Krishnanagar, Bengal Presidency, British India

Soumitra Chatterjee was an Indian film actor, director, writer, playwright, singer, and poet. He often collaborated with prominent director Satyajit Ray, with whom he worked in 14 films. A veteran actor with over 210 film appearances, he was the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema given by the government of India.  

 47 Martin Mull

Martin Mull.
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 18, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Actor/comedian Martin Mull soared to fame with the soap Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and its spin-off, Fernwood 2 Night. He also delivered an Emmy-nominated performance in Veep and voiced a role in Danny Phantom. An avid painter, too, he has held various exhibitions and released a book of his paintings.

 48 Richard Serra

Richard Serra
Famous As: Sculptor, Painter
Birthdate: November 2, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Francisco

 49 Robert De Niro Sr.

Robert De Niro Sr.
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: May 3, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Syracuse, New York, United States
Died: May 3, 1993

 50 Arshile Gorky

Arshile Gorky.
Famous As: Abstract Painter
Birthdate: April 15, 1904
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Khorgom, Vilayet of Van, Ottoman Empire
Died: July 21, 1948