The world is rich with precious fine art pieces, but many don’t always get their fair share of recognition. Artnet News reports that global art sales at auctions between 1991 and 2005 were almost entirely dominated by U.S. and U.K. artists, with Germany and France coming close to the competition. The trend has been changing in the past two decades though, particularly now that Asian and African fine art pieces are getting the recognition of art enthusiasts.
The globalization of fine arts allows individuals to view the differences in each artist’s approach and to understand how cultural influences are reflected in art. Now that global talents are being recognized, here’s a look at what makes specific countries’ art so special.
Spain: Intersection of Art and History
Fine art pieces in Spain convey numerous themes, but one of the most predominant subjects is the history of the country itself.
Visitors to the Museo Frederic Marès can learn more about Spain’s history in the 19th century through the sculptures of Frederic Marès. The sculptor strayed away from typical media and instead used fans, pipes, watches, and even jewelry to document the life and customs of the past. Art enthusiasts can also visit the Prado Museum to view Francisco de Goya’s historical paintings, which feature detailed faces, clothes, and elements of a society in war.
Philippines: Reflecting Society
The Philippines features a rich history in fine arts, and most masterpieces allude to the realities of local society.
Among all the national artists of visual arts, Daydreaming in Paradise points to Fernando Amorsolo as one of the pioneers of Philippine art, and one of the country’s greatest painters. Amorsolo harnessed light and form to capture the idyllic Philippine rural life, as seen in Maiden in a Stream (1921), The Mestiza (1943), and Planting Rice (1946). Meanwhile, neo-realist Cesar Legaspi used cubism as an expression of the struggles experienced by the working class, as exhibited in Gadgets I and Bayanihan.
USA: Race and Identity in Art
America’s dark past includes years of slavery. As such, their art can serve as a unique reminder of the evils of racism and inequality.
To illustrate, contemporary American artists Hank Willis Thomas and Leonardo Drew used cotton to highlight the textile’s history and the role it had to play in slavery in America. Rather than showing the slaves outright, these two artists make metaphorical and partial references to their bodies using cotton to highlight how Black people have been made hypervisible and reduced to their economic value under slavery.
Ghana: Local to Global
Asian fine arts have been gaining recognition in the past two decades but now, the spotlight is shining on West African fine arts.
While numerous factors contribute to the popularity of African art, The National News states that Ghanian artist Amoako Boafo served as a big influence, especially after he was championed by the Rubell family of collectors. Boafo has now established a studio complex in Ghana’s capital where he uses paintings with bold colors and patterns to create a striking reflection on Black subjectivity and complexity. Another Ghanian artist, Ibrahim Mahama, is also grabbing attention due to his large-scale installations that present Ghanian materials to an international audience.
Art can represent the unique culture of each country. By studying and supporting international fine arts, you can see how materials and art styles can be utilized to depict history, local society, and a larger global context.
By Rio Jianna
Rio Jianna is a budding mompreneur and aspiring writer. She loves to travel, meet new people, and bask in the rich culture of many different countries. This fuels her creativity and inspires her writing. At home, when she’s not on some great adventure, you can usually find her in the kitchen trying out new recipes from all around the world.