13 Ways the Most Influential Artists Have Defined ...

13 Ways the Most Influential Artists Have Defined “Art”

Imagine sitting down for this semester’s art class when legendary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is your visiting professor. Where would your line of questioning even begin; His creative inspirations? His politics? His favorite filter on Instagram? Students at Universität der Künste Berlin (UdK) got that opportunity and cut straight to the point by asking the question that has boggled great minds since the beginning of humanity…What is exactly, is the definition of Art?

According to Deutsche Welle, Weiwei hilariously responded; 

“I am unable to say anything about this…” After a moment of reflection,  he hilariously continued, “It’s a bit like with sex. One can have a lot of experience, and nevertheless find it extremely difficult to define.”

So how exactly have other artists defined what it is to be an artist?


Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

Andy Warhol was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture, and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s.

andy warhol-artist-quote-artreport

Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825)

Jacques-Louis David was an influential French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the era.

jacques louis david-artist-quote-artreport

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986)

Georgia Totto O’Keeffe was an American artist. She is best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York skyscrapers, and New Mexico landscapes. O’Keeffe has been recognized as the “Mother of American modernism”.

georgia o'keeffe-artist-quote-artreport

David Hockney (1937 – Present )

David Hockney, OM CH RA is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer. An important contributor to the Pop art movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century.

david hockney-artist-quote-artreport

Marc Chagall (1887–1985)

Marc Zakharovich Chagall was a Russian-French artist. An early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in virtually every artistic medium, including painting.

marc chagal-artist-quote-artreport

Pablo Picasso (1881–1973)

Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, also known as Pablo Picasso, was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France.

pablo picasso-quote-artreport-artist

 Paul Klee (1879–1940)

Paul Klee was a Swiss-German artist. His highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism.

paul klee-artist-quote-artreport

Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968)

Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp was a French, naturalized American painter, sculptor, chess player and writer whose work is associated with Cubism, conceptual art and Dada.

marcel duchamp-artist-quote-artreport

Henri Matisse (1869- 1954)

Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse was a French artist, known for both his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter.

henri matisse-artist-quote-artreport

James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler was an American artist, active during the American Gilded Age and based primarily in the United Kingdom.

james mcneill whistler-artist-quote-artreport


Sol Lewitt (1928–2007)

Solomon “Sol” LeWitt was an American artist linked to various movements, including Conceptual art and Minimalism.

sol lewitt-artist-quote-artreport

Paul Gaugin (1848–1903). 

Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin was a French post-Impressionist artist. Underappreciated until after his death, Gauguin is now recognized for his experimental use of color and synthetist style that were distinctly different from Impressionism.

paul gauguin-artist-quote-artreport

Edvard Munch (1863–1944).

Edvard Munch was a Norwegian painter and printmaker whose intensely evocative treatment of psychological themes built upon some of the main tenets of late 19th-century Symbolism and greatly influenced German Expressionism in the early 20th century.

edvard munch-artist-quote-artreport


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Jenny is a writer, editor, and curator based out of New York (well, technically Brooklyn). She's spent the last decade working in everything from publishing to trend-forecasting in NY, LA, and abroad.