Modern art includes artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of experimentation. Modern artists experimented with new ways of seeing and with fresh ideas about the nature of materials and functions of art. A tendency away from the narrative, and toward abstraction is characteristic of much modern art. More recent artistic production is often called Contemporary or Postmodern art.
Modern art begins with the heritage of painters like van Gogh, Cezanne, Gauguin, and Seurat, all of whom were essential for the development of modern art. At the beginning of the 20th century Matisse and several other young artists revolutionized the Paris art world with "wild", multi-colored, expressive landscapes and figure paintings that the critics called Fauvism.
Initially influenced by Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin and other late 19th century innovators Picasso made his first cubist paintings based on Cezanne's idea that all depiction of nature can be reduced to three solids: cube, sphere and cone. With the painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Picasso dramatically created a new and radical picture depicting a raw and primitive brothel scene with five prostitutes, violently painted women, reminiscent of African tribal masks and his own new cubist inventions. Analytic cubism was jointly developed by Picasso and Braque, exemplified by Violin and Candlestick, Paris, from about 1908 through 1912. Analytic cubism, the first clear manifestation of cubism, was followed by Synthetic cubism, practiced by Braque, Picasso, among others in the 1920s. Synthetic cubism is characterized by the introduction of different textures, surfaces, collage elements, papier colle and a large variety of merged subject matter.