The early 20th century ushered in radical new approaches to science, to industry, and to culture.
The Wright brothers had their first successful flight in 1903.
Henry Ford founded Ford Motor Company in 1904.
Einstein published the theory of relativity in 1905.
For artists, all this intellectual upheaval meant that the goal of depicting what they actually saw in the real world, which had dominated the 19th century, now seemed tame and irrelevant.
Artists began to wonder, what else is art good for?
They discovered that art could express emotions, feelings, and personality.
They discovered that art could express ideas, insights, and intuitions.
They discovered that art could express things they couldn't put into words.
This explosion of creativity led to the development of a variety of art theories. Theories came and went. Artists would try a certain style for awhile, and then move on.
Paris was the art capitol of the world. There were art markets in Berlin, London, and New York, but the art world looked to Paris as its hub.
Paris has two major museums of 20th century art. The Pompidou Center has one of the largest and most significant collection of 20th century art in Europe. The City of Paris also has its own Museum of Modern Art for its collection.
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Museum of Modern Art, City of Paris