These Mid-Century Modern artists create in the post-war style. See paintings, prints, vases, and sculptures that will add a retro 50s vibe.
Today, Mid-Century Modern artists and designers are everywhere. There’s something about the 50s and 60s that draws you in. Maybe it’s the liveliness and pizzazz of that period. Maybe it’s the resonating colors, and the vintage fabric feels.
Either way, I know that our obsession with MCM isn’t going anywhere. If you are inspired by simple lines, sharp edges, organic materials, and bold, vibrant colors, the Mid-Century Modern style might be for you. Although the artwork from the 27 artists below isn’t from the 60s, it looks like it is. Sit back and scroll through nostalgia as you check out these stunning retro pieces of art!
27 Mid-Century Modern Artists: When the Past Meets the Present
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1. Alec Cumming
Alec Cumming is an abstract artist from the U.K. He has visited some of the brighter, sunnier places across the world: California, India, Sri Lanka, Cyprus. And this shows in his work. The vibrant fabrics, fleeting moments while lying poolside, interesting architectural elements of buildings, or even a row of parasols scattered across the beach are all experiences gathered into a playful space within Alec’s imagination and translated into his own vocabulary on canvas.
2. Angela Bisson
Angela Bisson is a vintage artist from Canada. According to her, if our love for Mid-Century Modernism reveals anything, it is that we are nostalgic for hope and optimism because Mid-Century Modernism was a vision of the future and progress, a utopian way of living. So, Angela’s on a mission to bring mid-century optimism into the modern world through her abstract skyline; distinctive modern retro for the refined selective art connoisseur, faraway from ‘’kitsch’’.
3. Bernard Simunovic
Bernard Simunovic is a Croatian-born artist and designer living in Germany. According to him, we are all searching for love in our lives. Why love? Because God has implanted it in us as the greatest gift. And the second greatest gift is free will, which helps us to be for or against something. Bernard believes that we are all one, and we should be united, free, and more loving. That’s why his work is focused on people, particularly women, as they are the origin, cradle of all men and people to be.
4. Beth Adler
Beth Adler is an American monoprint artist who has a deep understanding of current design and modern color trends thanks to her 25 years of experience as a graphic designer. Inspired by the textile designs of Ray and Charles Eames, the organic shapes of Isamu Noguchi, and the undulating wire sculpture of Ruth Aizawa, Beth incorporated these ideas into large-scale monoprints. She adds each layer to the print using her press to build the finished work with stencils, woodcuts, and various organic and machine-made materials.
5. Beverly Morrison
Beverly Morrison is an American sculptress and “storyteller.” The overall construct of her sculpture is eager to inspire peaceful contemplation of life, nature, and the self. Beverly’s design work thrives on celebrating the way things are, instead of what we expect them to be, and cultivating that elusive ‘Moment of Zen.’ And that’s by enriching personal spaces and environments with objects that inspire contemplation and harmony for the soul, refreshment for the mind, and tactile connection to the earth through the physical embodiment, clay.
6. Cat Tesla
Cat Tesla is a full-time international artist from the U.S. She has an abstract body of work called the “Feeling Good” Series. Gestural marks, line, shape, color, this series evokes joy & free expression. “As a glass-half-full type of person, my abstract series of paintings express my joy and gratitude for each and every day,” she says. During the pandemic of 2020, Cat used painting as a way to anchor herself and remain positive and hopeful that life would eventually get better.
7. Darla Mckenna
Darla Mckenna is an American collagist and painter. She creates hand-painted collages from found vintage papers and mid-century magazines. Some collages spur larger oils on canvas. Darla is inspired by mid-century design, artists like Pablo Picasso and Stuart Davis, and The Constructivist movement. Her work often infers architectural and musical syncopations.
8. Deanna Fainelli
Deanna Fainelli is an American mixed-media painter. She took the long, scenic route to become a full-time artist and along the way worked for a Japanese airline, created publications and advertising at small design studios, studied photojournalism, and even worked as an on-staff photographer at a daily newspaper. All of those diverse life experiences fed Deanna’s curiosity and contributed to the artist she is today. Her urban-inspired painting style was initially heavily influenced by living in the San Francisco Bay Area. After relocating to the Palm Springs area, she became inspired by the massive collection of mid-century architecture in the Coachella Valley.
9. Gregg Rosen
Gregg Rosen is an American formalist who has lived in and around New York City his whole life. As such, his work has been affected by its vertical grid. In addition, Gregg works both abstractly and realistically. He believes the best artwork has both qualities working together to enhance each other. Hence, he looks for abstraction in figurative painting and the subject matter in abstract painting.
10. Ieva Baklane
Ieva Baklane is a geometric artist living and working in Vancouver, Canada, specializing in geometric and abstract paintings. Ieva’s style is inspired by geometric forms, metaphysical structures, and architecture (especially Mid-Century Modern architecture). In her paintings, she builds and creates structures that perhaps don’t even exist in real life.
11. Jenny Gray
Jenny Gray is an American artist based in Oregon. She explores her personal experiences and our inherently flawed and imperfect human condition in her work. Abstraction and the medium of paint allow Jenny freedom and a way of self-expression she has not found anywhere else.
12. Jim Ford
Jim Ford is a multidisciplinary artist and type designer based in Milwaukee. Ford creates a fusion of modern and contemporary abstraction in his “collage paintings” which are activated with his sense of humor, history, culture and spirituality.
13. Julia Pinkham
Julia Pinkham is an American surreal artist who’s often thrilled by certain color combinations and shapes. As an abstract painter, Julia is free to play with a whole range of possibilities using color, composition, and a whole variety of different materials. Painting for her is about diving in headfirst and solving a puzzle, not knowing in advance where a piece will go. She feels a particular affinity with mid-century modern artists and art and returns to it again and again in her work. She adores the colors of that era and the (later) direction it took with free, organic forms and open, expressive lines.
14. Kelly Witmer
Kelly Witmer is a multi-disciplinary artist splitting her time between Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, California. Her work is driven by experimentation and chance, whether she’s working in paint, ceramic, or glass. Kelly translates abstract forms from one medium to another – a watercolor may inspire a ceramic sculpture and vise versa. The desert landscape also plays a big role in her inspiration – the curves and slopes of the mountains and rocks and the ever-present sun all influence her abstract forms.
15. Kimmy Quillin
Kimmy Quillin is a Brooklyn-based painter whose work has taken on many incarnations, ranging from layers of spontaneous color washes to organized geometric overlays. He has been wearing glasses since fourth grade, and in 2008, she ran out of contacts and went for a year without seeing the world with 20/20 clarity. As a result, her paintings echo this color field version of reality. Her work has recently evolved from a geometry-driven earth-toned series into a kaleidoscopic burst of semi-abstracted, rainbow-colored nudes, which are colors representing the LGTBQIA+ community.
16. Lisa Bolin
Lisa Bolin is an American artist born and raised in an old-fashioned drugstore on the western edge of Missouri. Her initial concentration was in silversmithing. But life carried her down various other paths, including entry-level draftsman at a shipbuilding design firm; graphic design/art directing; and food styling and prop styling for commercial photography and TV. Today, Lisa specializes in custom art commissions and spends lots of time petting their newly adopted 6yr-old Miniature Golden Retriever, Buttercup. Her favorite part of any creative process is the delight of celebrating the surprises that often occur.
17. Liz Mares
Liz Mares is an American artist who comes from a working-class family and has lived in a heavily industrial area. All the graffiti of nearby train cars encouraged Liz’s use of hard edges and sharp angles, while the surrounding industrial factories helped her learn about balance and perspective. But it was her mom’s vintage sewing patterns that introduced her to the wonderful world of Mid-Century style, especially the Atomic Age. “I can remember being drawn to the space-age feel,” Liz recounts. “Particularly the distinct and crisp edges. The colors were bold and a bit over the top, but it was this risk-taking of shape and forms that resonated so vibrantly.”
18. Marion Griese
Marion Griese is a Canadian artist who grew up in a home speckled with the décor, fashion, movies, and TV shows of her parents’ 50’s and 60’s era. This shaped her deep appreciation for mid-century design/art and its simple beauty. She saw how Mid-Century Modern artists could capture the sensuous form of a leaf in a simple glass vase, as Tapio Wirkkala did. Or that the expression of a flower could be described in a bold, abstract, and colorful pattern by Marimekko. Or that movement could be distilled into a tangle of flowing lines in the art and sculpture of Alexander Calder. It’s all these bold colors, clean lines, geometric and fluid shapes, and the connection to nature that Marion resonated with.
19. Melissa McGill
Melissa McGill is an American artist whose creative process reflects the joy of movement. While painting, she involves her whole body, large strokes of color poured or scraped across the canvas punctuated with graphic lines to guide the eye and balance the composition. Melissa’s paintings are built up organically. Working primarily with acrylic paints allows the work to develop intuitively. Marks and movement are added with pastels, graphite, and spray paint.
20. Michael Pfleghaar
Michael Pfleghaar is an American contemporary artist whose practice has always centered around documenting his life. Having lived and worked in West Michigan since the 1980s, where Herman Miller and Steelcase are based, Mid-Century Modern design has influenced Michael’s artistic work significantly as he collects design items from that period. Simple, clean lines, balance, and organic materials are characteristic of modernism. His goal is to capture the spirit of modernism in the abstract work without being literal.
21. Paul Stein
Paul Stein is a metal mixed-media sculptor from South Africa. His current work has a strong emphasis on the use of color in sculpture. Using sheets of metal, Paul cuts shapes, welds the sculptures together, and then colors them using auto lacquer for areas of brilliant high gloss and textured emulsion paint for textured areas. Edges and planes are his principal structural foundations for a sculpture. All of Paul’s work is abstract at the moment, but each sculpture usually has some connection with human experience, whether it be a figure, a thought, or viewing landscape.
22. Rachel Paxton
Rachel Paxton is an artist whose stylistically distinct abstract paintings are inspired by Mid-Century Modern design, style, color, and decor. Her references include 1950’s fabrics with atomic motifs and mod patterns in neon colors from the 1960’s hippy culture. Rachel invents an abstract world that envisions a mash-up of these two iconic decades overlaid with her own contemporary sensibilities, which include glowing shapes, fading stripes, and transparent overlays, often rendered with heavily textured paint and deep space.
23. Robert Porazinski
Robert Porazinski is an American artist from Chicago. As one of the Mid-Century Modern artists, he has a mid-century modern series of paintings inspired by civilization and human history. There’s a richly layered underpainting created from excerpts and fragments of ancient myths, literature, mathematical formulas, and computer code. There are also overlaid abstract forms resembling tools, machine parts, or bones that are arranged either in a structured, architectural manner or randomly – as if viewing a cross-section of an archeological dig.
24. Scott Burroughs
Scott “Scooter” Burroughs is an American painter, illustrator, and designer working in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has always loved the mid-century modern artists and commercial style from the ’40s through the ’70s, and his distinct artistic style has been formed by a love and passion for the images from that era. Scooter’s fun and playful paintings and illustrations celebrate the style of the past and give life to a modern-day retro style of all the things he loves most.
25. Scott Troxel
Scott Troxel draws on the aesthetics of bygone technology and the forward-looking designs of the Atomic Age and Mid-Century Modernism to make dynamic, retrofuturist wooden sculptures that evoke nostalgia for the past as much as they look to the future.
26. Stephen N. Gill
Stephen N. Gill is an American Mid-Century Modern artist. In 2005, he started a series titled Subconscious Evolution Ecosystem Theorem. The written theorem is an important part of the series, a combination of psychology and biology, to which Carl Jung and Charles Darwin are the inspirations. As for the physical paintings and drawings, they are influenced by the greatest mid-century modern artists that ever lived, being shown over and over for the last six decades in NYC, Los Angeles, and Florida Museums and Galleries. Artists that are forever ingrained and embedded in Stephen’s subconscious.
27. Wyanne Thompson
Wyanne Thompson is an American artist who’s got her B.F.A. in fine arts in 1987 and has had a long-standing full-time career in art ever since. In 2014, Wyanne was diagnosed with stage 4 head and neck cancer. She lost her entire tongue and a bunch of lymph nodes. She has a speech impediment and a permanent stomach feeding tube but is still cancer-free. The ordeal changed Wyanne’s art drastically. She had a strong desire to paint very large paintings, something she had never done before. She developed an acrylic soak and staining raw unprimed canvas technique similar to Helen Frankenthaler’s iconic oil staining technique. “I paint every day in my studio and don’t take a minute for granted,” she says.
If you’re in the market for Mid-Century Modern art, you can’t go wrong with any of these artists. Their perspective is bold and new with a nod toward the past invoking the nostalgia of a simpler time.
Here are all 27 Mid-Century Modern artists we covered in this article: