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.
Pablo Picasso was a renowned artist whose paintings sell by millions of dollars at auctions even today, many years after his death. With masterful strokes, attractive shades and rich textures, Picasso created some of the most visually impressive arts of the 20th century. While exploring new styles and experimenting with different techniques, Picasso co-founded Cubist art style and co-invented collage.
Born to an artisan father in Catalan, Joan Miró was allowed to attend art school after falling sick working as a clerk. Known for combining surrealism and abstract art, he experimented with various forms of art, including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics, and created masterpieces such as The Farm.
Max Ernst was a German painter, graphic artist, sculptor, and poet. A pioneer of the Dada movement, Ernst played an important role in popularizing surrealism during the early-20th century. He is also credited with inventing a couple of techniques, namely frottage and grattage. In 2005, the Max Ernst Museum was opened in his honor in Brühl, Germany.
Born to a French mother and a Croatian father, Dora Maar spent her childhood in Argentina and later studied art in Paris. The renowned surrealist artist and photographer later gained fame as Pablo Picasso’s lover and muse, and was featured in his paintings such as Weeping Woman.
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.
Leonora Carrington was a Mexican artist, novelist, and surrealist painter. During the 1970s, Carrington played an important role in Mexico's women's liberation movement as she was one of the founding members of the movement. Carrington, who was fascinated by symbolism and myth, studied alchemy, Popol Vuh, post-classic Mayan mystical writings, and the kabbalah.
Claude Cahun was a French sculptor, surrealist photographer, and writer. He is best remembered for his work as a self-portraitist and writer. Apart from his primary career, Claude Cahun also played a major role in the Second World War, serving as a propagandist and resistance worker.
Desmond Morris is an English ethologist, zoologist, author, and surrealist painter. He is well-known for his book The Naked Ape and for his TV shows, such as Zoo Time. Desmond Morris is also known for his work as the writer and presenter of the popular BBC documentary The Human Animal.
A significant figure of the Mexican surrealist movement, artist Remedios Varo was taught technical drawing by her hydraulics engineer father. Born in Spain, she later fled to France with her lover, poet Benjamin Péret, and then to Mexico to escape Nazism. She was also interested in sacred geometry and alchemy.
Painter and printmaker James Ensor spent most of his life in the North Sea fishing port of Ostend, away from hustle-bustle of big cities. Yet, he left a significant influence on every aspect of the modernist movement; from symbolism and expressionism to dada and surrealism; also a signature style that involved radical distortion of form, muddled surface and riotous color.
Remembered for her surrealist paintings, sculptor and painter Dorothea Margaret Tanning seemed to have recreated her visions and dreams through her art. Most of her works showcase unreal situations, with motifs such as gigantic flowers and doors. Her iconic installation Hôtel du Pavot, Chambre 202 showcases her sculpting skills.
Legendary Chilean painter Roberto Matta is remembered as a significant figure of the abstract expressionist and surrealist art of the 20th century. The Praemium Imperiale-winning artist had initially studied architecture in Santiago and had then worked for Le Corbusier in Paris. His inscape works were influenced by Freud’s psychoanalysis.
Russian surrealist painter Vladimir Kush now owns his own gallery in Hawaii. Initially a street artist, he now sells his own art prints and calls himself a Metaphorical Realist. He once sued pop star Ariana Grande for using his imagery in her video God Is a Woman.
Pavel Tchelitchew was a Russian-born painter, costume designer, and set designer. As a painter, he was best remembered for his surrealist works. His works are currently preserved at places like the Art Institute of Chicago, the Courtauld Institute of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Vicente Aleixandre was a Spanish poet. He was part of the Generation of '27 and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1977. His early poetry was marked by surrealism and many of his poems have melancholic undertones. He is considered one of the greatest poets of Spanish literature. He was bisexual but never admitted to it publicly.
Widely remembered as the co-inventor of Dadaism and a pioneering figure of Constructivism, Marcel Janco was a Romanian-Israeli visual artist and architect. He is also said to have contributed to the "bishop dress" characteristic of Dadaism. He also established the Israeli art colony Ein Hod and founded the avant-garde magazine Contimporanul.
Eileen Agar was a British-Argentinian photographer and painter best remembered for her association with the Surrealist movement. In 1936, Agar became the only woman to exhibit her works at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London after her work was recommended by Paul Nash to the organizers of the exhibition, Herbert Read and Roland Penrose.
Uruguayan-Spanish artist Joaquín Torres-García didn’t like the conservative style promoted at his Barcelona art academy and deviated more toward Impressionist and post-Impressionist art instead. He later brought Constructivism to South American countries. The Taller Torres García founder is best remembered for his work Monumento Cosmico.
Kristoffer Zetterstrand is a Swedish surreal artist whose paintings are based on scenography sculpted in 3D applications and virtual still lifes. In 2012, he was honored with the prestigious Marianne & Sigvard Bernadotte Art Award. Kristoffer Zetterstrand is perhaps best known for his mosaic The Medical Landscape which earned him the Stora Kakelpriset in 2013.
Though born in the US, Florence Henri traveled to various places, such as Silesia, Rome, and London, following her parents’ death. Initially well-versed in the piano, she later focused on painting. At age 34, she was introduced to photography at the Bauhaus and later explored techniques such as the photomontage and negative photography.
Enrico Donati was an Italian-American Surrealist sculptor and painter. Regarded as one of the last of the Surrealists, Donati also served as a visiting lecturer at Yale University. Although he is often associated with Surrealism, Enrico Donati also showed keen interest in Spatialism.