Famous American Artists & Painters

For a layman, alien to the world of art, there barely exists any difference between a million-dollar Picasso and finger paintings of an inebriated gorilla. Blame it on the elites who have made art their exclusive domain and don’t mind coughing up fortunes on photos of dead crows. No wonder, art now flourishes solely in wealthy cultures. Having said that, an appreciator of aesthetics and art cannot ignore the incredible artistic achievements of painters who have wowed the world with their unbelievable, eye-popping paintings. From sculptures bursting out of paintings to incredibly intricate non-photo shopped scenes, the world of art has evolved extensively since Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” or Picasso’s “Guemica”. Sadly not too many people know about such enterprising artistes today. Now only if your thought that great art died with the Dalis and the Goghs, know that the contemporary world is replete with many such incredible artistes who have left a last impression on world’s canvass. Let us explore the biography, trivia and facts about some such famous American painters.

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 Bob Ross

Bob Ross
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: October 29, 1942
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: July 4, 1995

Painter, art instructor, and television host, Bob Ross, gained international fame as the creator and host of the instructional TV show, The Joy of Painting. He served in the United States Air Force for several years before embarking on a career as a painter. He had a deep love for animals and cared for several injured squirrels, armadillos, and snakes.

 2 Matthew Gray Gubler

Matthew Gray Gubler
3
Famous As: Actor, Director, Model, Painter
Birthdate: March 9, 1980
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

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.

 3 Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: January 28, 1912
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
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.

 4 Stephen Hillenburg

Stephen Hillenburg
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Famous As: Animator
Birthdate: August 21, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
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.

 5 Fred Gwynne

Fred Gwynne
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 30, 1926
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: July 2, 1993

 6 Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: August 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
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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 7 Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: December 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
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.

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 8 Grandma Moses

Grandma Moses
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Famous As: Painter, Illustrator
Birthdate: September 7, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: December 13, 1961

 9 Jacob Lawrence

Jacob Lawrence
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: September 7, 1917
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: June 9, 2000

 10 Paul Manship

Paul Manship
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: December 24, 1885
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: January 28, 1966

 11 Malvina Hoffman

Malvina Hoffman
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Famous As: Sculptor
Birthdate: June 15, 1885
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: July 10, 1966

 12 Hale Woodruff

Hale Woodruff
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: August 26, 1900
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: September 6, 1980

 13 William Zorach

William Zorach
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Famous As: Sculptor
Birthdate: February 28, 1887
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: November 15, 1966

 14 Janet Scudder

Janet Scudder
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Famous As: Sculptor
Birthdate: October 27, 1869
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: June 9, 1940

 15 Gloria Vanderbilt

Gloria Vanderbilt
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Famous As: Artist, Actress
Birthdate: February 20, 1924
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: July 17, 2019

Gloria Vanderbilt was an American fashion designer, actress, author, and socialite. As a child, she was subjected to a child custody trial, which the press named trial of the century due to its high-profile nature. As a designer, Vanderbilt is credited with developing and popularizing designer blue jeans. She also launched a line of household goods and perfumes.

 16 Swizz Beatz

Swizz Beatz
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Famous As: Record producer, Entrepreneur, Painter, Rapper, Singer, Businessperson, Songwriter
Birthdate: September 13, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 17 Tom Franco

Tom Franco
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 14, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

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.

 18 Daniel Stern

Daniel Stern
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 28, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 19 Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell
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Famous As: Painter & Illustrator
Birthdate: February 3, 1894
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: November 8, 1978

Painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell became famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life he created for The Saturday Evening Post. He was associated with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for over six decades and produced covers for their publications and calendars. A prolific artist, he made more than 4,000 original works in his lifetime.

 20 Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby
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Famous As: Comic Book Artist
Birthdate: August 28, 1917
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
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

 21 Ric Ocasek

Ric Ocasek
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 23, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 22 Lauren Lapkus

Lauren Lapkus
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 6, 1985
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 23 Tasya van Ree

Tasya van Ree
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: April 30, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

Tasya van Ree is a popular American painter and photographer, known for her keen interests in visual presentation and mixed media. Also known for her distinctive sense of fashion, Tasya believes that people become what they wear. An openly gay celebrity, she serves as an inspiration to the LGBTQ community. She has dated personalities like Amber Heard and Caroline Vreeland.

 24 Gary Burghoff

Gary Burghoff
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 24, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

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.

 25 Don Gummer

Don Gummer
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Famous As: Sculptor
Birthdate: December 12, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Don Gummer, husband of actor Meryl Streep, is a talented sculptor who is known for his free-standing sculptures in bronze. He initially focused on wall-mounted and table-top pieces. An avid philanthropist, he has donated to various charitable organizations such as the Silver Mountain Arts Foundation, along with Meryl.

 26 Martin Mull

Martin Mull
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 18, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
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.

 27 Margaret Keane

Margaret Keane
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: September 15, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 28 Melissa Villaseñor

Melissa Villaseñor
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 9, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

 29 David Bromstad

David Bromstad
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Famous As: TV Personality
Birthdate: August 17, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
David Bromstad is an American television personality and designer who won the first season of the popular reality competition TV show HGTV Design Star in 2006. After winning the show, he landed an opportunity to host his own television shows on HGTV. He also has a line of accessories and home furniture available through Grandin Road.

 30 Burt Ward

Burt Ward
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 6, 1945
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

 31 Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: September 25, 1903
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: February 25, 1970

 32 Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein
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Famous As: Painter, Sculptor
Birthdate: October 27, 1923
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: September 29, 1997

 33 Larry D. Alexander

Larry D. Alexander
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: May 30, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 34 Gus Van Sant

Gus Van Sant
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Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: July 24, 1952
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

 35 Kristin Nelson

Kristin Nelson
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: June 25, 1945
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: April 27, 2018
Kristin Nelson is remembered for her appearances in films such as The Resurrection of Broncho Billy. She was married to actor/musician Ricky Nelson but later got involved in a bitter custody battle involving their fourth son, Sam. A primitive painter, too, she had published an autobiography interspersed with her paintings. 

 36 Ariana Richards

Ariana Richards
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 11, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 37 Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: July 22, 1882
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: May 15, 1967

 38 Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons
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Famous As: Sculptor, Painter
Birthdate: January 21, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

 39 Jay Pharoah

Jay Pharoah
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 14, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

 40 David Choe

David Choe
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Famous As: Street artist
Birthdate: April 21, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 41 Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: January 19, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: April 6, 2012

Painter Thomas Kinkade is remembered for his realistic and idyllic themes. He gained fame by selling printed copies of his art through the Thomas Kinkade Company. He called himself the "Painter of Light” and copyrighted the phrase, too. The movie Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage was based on his life.

 42 Samuel Morse

Samuel Morse
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: April 27, 1791
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: April 2, 1872

 43 Wes Borland

Wes Borland
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: February 7, 1975
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

 44 Ross Marquand

Ross Marquand
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 22, 1981
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

 45 E. E. Cummings

E.E. Cummings
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1894 AD
Nationality: American
Died: 1962 AD

 46 Patrisse Cullors

Patrisse Cullors
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: June 20, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 47 Heather Hunter

Heather Hunter
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 1, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

 48 Thomas McDonell

Thomas McDonell
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 2, 1986
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 49 Will Sampson

Will Sampson
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: September 27, 1933
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: June 3, 1987

 50 Robert De Niro Sr.

Robert De Niro Sr.
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: May 3, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: May 3, 1993