Famous American Artists & Painters

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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.
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 1 
Jean-Michel Basquiat
(American Artist Who Became Popular During the 1980s as Part of the Neo-Expressionism Movement)
Jean-Michel Basquiat
17
Birthdate: December 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, 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.

 2 
Andy Warhol
(Visual Artist & Film Director Who was a Leading Figure in the Visual Art Movement Known as Pop Art)
Andy Warhol
21
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.

 3 
Jackson Pollock
(American Abstract Expressionist Artist Known for His ‘Drip Technique’ Work)
Jackson Pollock
15
Birthdate: January 28, 1912
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cody, Wyoming, United States
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 
Georgia O'Keeffe
(American Modernist Artist Known for Her Flowers and New York Skyscrapers Paintings)
Georgia O'Keeffe
11
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.
 5 
Mark Rothko
(American Painter Known or His Abstract Expressionism and Color Field Paintings)
Mark Rothko
10
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.

 6 
Bob Ross
(Painter, Art Instructor and Television Host)
Bob Ross
15
Birthdate: October 29, 1942
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Daytona Beach, Florida, United States
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.

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 7 
Matthew Gray Gubler
(Actor, Director, Model, Painter)
Matthew Gray Gubler
24
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.

 8 
Dr. Seuss
(Children's Author And Illustrator)
Dr. Seuss
4
Birthdate: March 2, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States
Died: September 24, 1991

Dr. Seuss was an American children's author, illustrator, and political cartoonist. He is credited with writing some of the most famous children's books ever, including The Cat in the Hat. His works were translated into over 20 languages and sold more than 600 million copies by the time of his death. Many of his creations were adapted into animated cartoons.

 9 
Edward Hopper
(American Painter and Printmaker)
Edward Hopper
8
Birthdate: July 22, 1882
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Upper Nyack, New York, United States
Died: May 15, 1967

Edward Hopper was an American painter and printmaker. An exponent of American Realism, Hopper is best remembered for his oil paintings. He is also widely known as a printmaker in etching and watercolorist. Edward Hopper has had a significant impact on the art world in the USA. Artists like Mark Rothko and Jim Dine have cited him as an influence.

 10 
Jack Kirby
(Co-Creator of The Superhero 'Captain America' in 1940 with Joe Simon)
Jack Kirby
4
Birthdate: August 28, 1917
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, 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
 11 
Grace Slick
(Retired Singer-Songwriter - Was A Key Figure in San Francisco's Early 'Psychedelic Music' Scene in the Mid-1960s)
Grace Slick
5
Birthdate: October 30, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Highland Park, Illinois, United States

Grace Slick is a retired singer-songwriter. Slick played an important role in the psychedelic music scene that flourished in San Francisco during the mid-1960s. One of the earliest female rock stars, Slick played a key role in the development of rock music during the 1960s. She was named among the Greatest Women of Rock N Roll by VH1 in 1999.

 12 
Kim Novak
(Actress Known for Her Hit Films: 'Vertigo', ‘Picnic’, ‘The Man with the Golden Arm’ and ‘Pal Joey’)
Kim Novak
4
Birthdate: February 13, 1933
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Kim Novak is best known as Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton from Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. The two-time Golden Globe-winning actor also starred in movies such as The Mirror Crack'd and The Man with the Golden Arm, and the series Falcon Crest. She quit acting after an unpleasant experience while shooting for Liebestraum.
 13 
Norman Rockwell
(American Painter & Illustrator Known for His Works ‘Scout at Ship's Wheel’ &‘Santa and Scouts in Snow’)
Norman Rockwell
8
Birthdate: February 3, 1894
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
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.

 14 
Zelda Fitzgerald
(Socialite & Referred to as 'The first American Flapper' by Her Husband 'F. Scott Fitzgerald')
Zelda Fitzgerald
4
Birthdate: July 24, 1900
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama, United States
Died: March 10, 1948

Zelda Fitzgerald was a painter, socialite, and novelist. Along with her husband Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda became a prominent personality of the Jazz Age. Renowned for her high spirits and beauty, she was named the first American flapper by Scott. For her work as a novelist and painter, Fitzgerald was posthumously made an inductee to the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame.

 15 
Margaret Keane
5
Birthdate: September 15, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nashville, Tennessee
 16 
Steve Ditko
(American Comics Artist and Comic Writer Best Known for Being Co-creator of Marvel Superhero 'Spider-Man')
Steve Ditko
4
Birthdate: November 2, 1927
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Johnstown, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: June 29, 2018

Steve Ditko was a writer and comics artist. He is credited with co-creating popular Marvel Comics superheroes like Doctor Strange and Spider-Man. Ditko is also credited with co-creating Captain Atom, a character that appears in DC Comics. Ditko received several awards including many Alley Awards. In 1994, he was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame.

 17 
Lauren Lapkus
(Actress)
Lauren Lapkus
5
Birthdate: September 6, 1985
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
 18 
Susan Mikula
(American Artist and Photographer)
Susan Mikula
5
Birthdate: March 7, 1958
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Jersey, United States
Self-taught photographer Susan Mikula is known for using old Polaroids and pinhole cameras to create her masterpieces. She was an accountant earlier and has also worked for the U.S. consulate in Mexico. The LGBT icon is in a long-term relationship with her partner, journalist and TV personality Rachel Maddow.
 19 
Melissa Villaseñor
5
Birthdate: October 9, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Whittier, California, USA
 20 
Roy Lichtenstein
(American Pop Artist Who Became a Major Figure in the New Art Movement During the 1960s)
Roy Lichtenstein
12
Birthdate: October 27, 1923
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Died: September 29, 1997
Roy Lichtenstein was an American pop artist who became a major figure in the new art movement during the 1960s alongside artists like Andy Warhol and James Rosenquist. Among his most famous works are Drowning Girl and Whaam! Roy Lichtenstein was honored with the prestigious National Medal of the Arts in 1995.
 21 
Alexander Calder
(Sculptor, Painter)
Alexander Calder
6
Birthdate: July 22, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lawnton
Died: November 11, 1976

Alexander Calder was an American sculptor best remembered for his innovative kinetic sculptures designed to use either motor, air currents, or other forces of nature. A multi-talented personality, Calder was also known for his paintings, miniatures, prints, jewelry design, theater set design, political posters, and tapestries and rugs. In 1977, he was honored with the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 22 
Edmonia Lewis
(First African-American and Native American Sculptor to Achieve International Prominence)
Edmonia Lewis
4
Birthdate: July 4, 1844
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rensselaer County, New York, United States
Died: September 17, 1907

Edmonia Lewis was an American sculptor who worked in Rome for most of her career. The first African-American sculptor to gain international prominence, Lewis was also the only Black female artist to have participated and recognized by the American artistic mainstream until the end of the 19th century. Molefi Kete Asante included Lewis in his 100 Greatest African Americans list.

 23 
Martin Mull
(Comedian, Actor, Painter, and Recording Artist Known for His Role in the TV Series ‘Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman’)
Martin Mull
4
Birthdate: August 18, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
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.
 24 
Tom Franco
(American Artist, Actor and Founder of the ‘Firehouse Art Collective’)
Tom Franco
6
Birthdate: April 14, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Palo Alto, California, United States

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.

 25 
Thomas Kinkade
5
Birthdate: January 19, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sacramento, California, United States
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.

 26 
Kristin Nelson
(American Primitive Painter, Actress and Author)
Kristin Nelson
5
Birthdate: June 25, 1945
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Burbank, California, United States
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. 
 27 
Gloria Vanderbilt
(Artist and Fashion Designer Best Remembered for her Custody Battle)
Gloria Vanderbilt
9
Birthdate: February 20, 1924
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Died: June 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.

 28 
David Choe
(Street artist)
David Choe
4
Birthdate: April 21, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
 29 
Samuel Morse
(Inventor of Morse Code, Painter)
Samuel Morse
4
Birthdate: April 27, 1791
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Charlestown, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 2, 1872
 30 
Grant Wood
(Former painter particularly well known for American Gothic (1930), which has become an iconic example of early 20th-century American art)
Grant Wood
4
Birthdate: February 13, 1891
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Anamosa, Iowa, United States
Died: February 12, 1942
 31 
Winslow Homer
(American Illustrator and Landscape Painter)
Winslow Homer
5
Birthdate: February 24, 1836
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: September 29, 1910

Winslow Homer was an American illustrator and landscape painter. He is best remembered for painting marine subjects. A pre-eminent figure in American art, Homer is widely regarded as one of the most important painters in 19th-century America. Although he never had any students, Winslow Homer's works influenced subsequent generations of American painters.

 32 
John Singer Sargent
(American Expatriate Artist and One of the Leading Portrait Painters of His Generation)
John Singer Sargent
4
Birthdate: January 12, 1856
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: April 14, 1925

John Singer Sargent, an artist active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation." Prolific in his output, he created more than 2,000 watercolors and around 900 oil paintings. He also made numerous sketches and charcoal drawings. He painted with remarkable technical acumen and was internationally known for his expertise.   

 33 
Jay Pharoah
5
Birthdate: October 14, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chesapeake, Virginia, United States
 34 
Jasper Johns
(Painter, Sculptor, Costume designer)
Jasper Johns
6
Birthdate: May 15, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Augusta

Presidential Medal-winning artist Jasper Johns is best known for his contribution to the pop art movement. His paintings revolve around subjects such as flags, numbers, and letters, whereas he has also gained fame for his cast sculpture art such as Painted Bronze. He also once experimented by attaching strings to his art.

 35 
Will Sampson
(American Painter, Rodeo Performer, and Actor)
Will Sampson
4
Birthdate: September 27, 1933
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Okmulgee, Oklahoma, USA
Died: June 3, 1987
 36 
Louise Bourgeois
(Artist Best Known for Her Large-Scale Sculpture and Installation Art)
Louise Bourgeois
6
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.

 37 
Anne-Marie Johnson
4
Birthdate: July 18, 1960
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
 38 
Andrew Wyeth
(American Visual Artist)
Andrew Wyeth
4
Birthdate: July 12, 1917
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania,, United States
Died: January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth was a visual artist and one of the best-known American artists of the mid-20th century. Primarily a realist painter, Wyeth worked predominantly in a regionalist style. Andrew Wyeth was the recipient of several prestigious awards, such as the National Medal of Arts and the Congressional Gold Medal.

 39 
Zeena Schreck
(Visual and musical artist)
Zeena Schreck
4
Birthdate: November 19, 1963
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
 40 
Dale Chihuly
(Glass Artist)
Dale Chihuly
4
Birthdate: September 20, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tacoma, Washington, United States
 41 
Ross Marquand
5
Birthdate: August 22, 1981
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
 42 
Charles Addams
(Draughtsperson, Illustrator, Artist, Painter, Writer)
Charles Addams
4
Birthdate: January 7, 1912
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Westfield
Died: September 29, 1988

Mostly known as a cartoonist for The New Yorker, Charles Addams was known for including dark humor in his works. Also known by his pseudonym, Chas Addams, he gained fame for his cartoons about a family of ghosts, which later inspired The Addams Family series of the 1960s.

 43 
Robert De Niro Sr.
(Abstract Expressionist Painter & Father of Robert De Niro)
Robert De Niro Sr.
4
Birthdate: May 3, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Syracuse, New York, United States
Died: May 3, 1993
Robert De Niro Sr. was an American abstract expressionist artist best known as the father of the famous actor Robert De Niro. De Niro Sr. exhibited his paintings in museums and galleries across the United States of America. He also taught at several art schools including the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture.  
 44 
Swizz Beatz
(Record producer, Entrepreneur, Painter, Rapper, Singer, Businessperson, Songwriter)
Swizz Beatz
9
Birthdate: September 13, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City
 45 
Mary Cassatt
(Painter)
Mary Cassatt
5
Birthdate: May 22, 1844
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Allegheny
Died: June 14, 1926
 46 
Robert Rauschenberg
4
Birthdate: October 22, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Port Arthur, Texas
Died: May 12, 2008
 47 
Dav Pilkey
(Author and Illustrator of the Children's Book Series 'Captain Underpants' & 'Dog Man')
Dav Pilkey
4
Birthdate: March 4, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Dav Pilkey is an American cartoonist, illustrator, and author of children's literature. Pilkey is best known for illustrating and authoring a popular children's book series named Captain Underpants which earned him the prestigious Disney Adventures Kids' Choice Award in 2007.

 48 
Victor Buono
5
Birthdate: February 3, 1938
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: San Diego, California, USA
Died: January 1, 1982
 49 
Eric Carle
(Author)
Eric Carle
4
Birthdate: June 25, 1929
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Syracuse, New York, United States
Died: May 23, 2021
 50 
Chuck Close
(Painter)
Chuck Close
4
Birthdate: July 5, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Monroe, Washington, U.S.
Died: August 19, 2021