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History of Art: Modernism

New York

History of Art: Modernism

This course covers a rich century of Western Modernist art by focusing on six key concepts. Participants in the course will become familiar with central ideas that have broad application throughout the history of Modern Art, while also learning from the foundational masterworks that spoke for modern times.

Beginning with the emergence of Impressionism in Paris in the 1860s, the course examines what Modernism first meant. Considering the period at the turn of the century, participants will discover Abstraction, and how it shaped movements like Fauvism, Cubism and Futurism. Next is an examination of the idea of the Avant-garde, and how the quest to escape the conventions of art inspired the Dada group, the Surrealists, and the Constructivists. In the wake of these radical changes, the course further explores the inter-war period and ask what Tradition meant to Modernists and offers a survey on the impact of Photography. And, finally, an exploration of the concept of Expressionism, and how it fed post-war painting after that.

Deadline to Register: May 14

  • Price
  • Register
  • Date
    Summer | May 21 - June 25
  • Time
    Tuesday evenings 6:30pm – 7:45pm EST
  • Duration
    6 Weeks
  • Location
    New York
  • Topics
    • Art History
  • Language
  • Contact Admissions

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand key moments in the history of Modern Art.

  • Explain why Modern Art emerged and the different developments that led to artistic innovation.

  • Practice close looking and visual analysis, using key artworks from the modern period.

  • Name key figures in the history of Modern Art.

  • Articulate different key art movements and their characteristics.


Morgan Falconer

Faculty, MA Contemporary Art, New York

Morgan Falconer is a critic and art historian. Educated at the University of Leeds, and the Courtauld Institute of Art, he completed a Ph.D. on American modernist culture at University College London. He recently completed a history of painting after 1945 entitled Painting Beyond Pollock, published by Phaidon in March 2015.

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Sample Schedule

More Information

  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    • Early Modernity: Impressionism and Post-Impressionism
    • Abstraction: Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism
    • The Avant-Garde: Constructivism and Surrealism
    • Tradition in the Context of Modernism
    • Expressionism and the Post-War Era
  • Course Completion

    Course Completion

    Course participants take away in-depth and valuable insight into the current and future art world. Those who successfully complete their course will receive a certificate of completion from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

    Sotheby’s Institute of Art course participants come from all over the world, from a wide variety of backgrounds. As they study, travel, and explore the art world alongside each other throughout the program, fierce and long-lasting collaborations are frequently born. Individuals who complete these courses join our network of over 8,000 past participants around the globe who hold top positions at renowned art organizations.

  • Requirements


    English Language Requirement
    Course participants should be proficient in written and spoken English and be able to participate in group discussions and presentations in English. It is recommended that participants have the equivalent level of IELTS score of 6.0 /TOEFL score of 78 IBT, however evidence of test scores is not required to register.

    Age Requirement
    Courses are open to participants 18 years of age or older, however, we prefer that students have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience to be able to properly engage in the course.

    For more information, please see our Terms and Conditions.