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Palm Tree Lino Etching

Couple of Figures in the Nature - China Ink Drawing by Renzo Vespignani - 1949
By Renzo Vespignani
Located in Roma, IT
couple is surrounded by a greening landscape with palms and trees. Renzo Vespignani (Rome, 1924 - Rome

1940s Contemporary Figurative Drawings and Watercolors



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A Close Look at contemporary Art

Used to refer to a time rather than an aesthetic, Contemporary art generally describes pieces created after 1970 or being made by living artists anywhere in the world. This immediacy means it encompasses art responding to the present moment through diverse subjects, media and themes. Contemporary painting, sculpture, photography, performance, digital art, video and more frequently includes work that is attempting to reshape current ideas about what art can be, from Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s use of candy to memorialize a lover he lost to AIDS-related complications to Jenny Holzer’s ongoing “Truisms,” a Conceptual series that sees provocative messages printed on billboards, T-shirts, benches and other public places that exist outside of formal exhibitions and the conventional “white cube” of galleries.

Contemporary art has been pushing the boundaries of creative expression for years. Its disruption of the traditional concepts of art are often aiming to engage viewers in complex questions about identity, society and culture. In the latter part of the 20th century, contemporary movements included Land art, in which artists like Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer create large-scale, site-specific sculptures, installations and other works in soil and bodies of water; Sound art, with artists such as Christian Marclay and Susan Philipsz centering art on sonic experiences; and New Media art, in which mass media and digital culture inform the work of artists such as Nam June Paik and Rafaël Rozendaal.

The first decades of the 21st century have seen the growth of Contemporary African art, the revival of figurative painting, the emergence of street art and the rise of NFTs, unique digital artworks that are powered by blockchain technology.

Major Contemporary artists practicing now include Ai Weiwei, Cecily Brown, David Hockney, Yayoi Kusama, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami and Kara Walker.

Find a collection of Contemporary prints, photography, paintings, sculptures and other art on 1stDibs.

Finding the Right drawings-watercolor-paintings for You

Revitalize your interiors — introduce drawings and watercolor paintings to your home to evoke emotions, stir conversation and show off your personality and elevated taste.

Drawing is often considered one of the world’s oldest art forms, with historians pointing to cave art as evidence. In fact, a cave in South Africa, home to Stone Age–era artists, houses artwork that is believed to be around 73,000 years old. It has indeed been argued that cave walls were the canvases for early watercolorists as well as for landscape painters in general, who endeavor to depict and elevate natural scenery through their works of art.

The supplies and methods used by artists and illustrators to create drawings and paintings have evolved over the years, and so too have the intentions. Artists can use their drawing and painting talents to observe and capture a moment, to explore or communicate ideas and convey or evoke emotion. No matter if an artist is working in charcoal or in watercolor and has chosen to portray the marvels of the pure human form, to create realistic depictions of animals in their natural habitats or perhaps to forge a new path that references the long history of abstract visual art, adding a drawing or watercolor painting to your living room or dining room that speaks to you will in turn speak to your guests and conjure stimulating energy in your space.

When you introduce a new piece of art into a common area of your home — a figurative painting by Italian watercolorist Mino Maccari or a colorful still life, such as a detailed botanical work by Deborah Eddy — you’re bringing in textures that can add visual weight to your interior design. You’ll also be creating a much-needed focal point that can instantly guide an eye toward a designated space, particularly in a room that sees a lot of foot traffic.

When you’re shopping for new visual art, whether it’s for your apartment or weekend house, remember to choose something that resonates. It doesn’t always need to make you happy, but you should at least enjoy its energy. On 1stDibs, browse a wide-ranging collection of drawings and watercolor paintings and find out how to arrange wall art when you’re ready to hang your new works.