Most Influential Work of Art

Newsweek has asked the question; “Which Is the Most Influential Work of Art Of the Last 100 Years?” Possible answers they offered were..

A. Black Square by Kazimir Malevich
B. ‘One (Number 31) ‘ by Jackson Pollock
C. ‘Fountain’ by Marcel Duchamp
D. ‘Campbell’s Soup Can’ by Andy Warhol
E. ‘Les Demoiselles D’Avignon’ by Pablo Picasso

painting of prostitutes

The answer they came up with is Picasso’s big square prostitute painting. Newsweek describes Les Demoiselles D’Avignon as “a bit of Matisse (the older guy he was trying to dethrone as king of the avant-garde), some appropriation from African masks, a dash of casual realism in one of the hands and a fruit arrangement down in front, and a whole lot of cubism 1.0.” Newsweek

Other surveys have come to the conclusion that Duchamp’s Urinal is the most influential work of all time, but as a lover of paint, I would much rather have a painting at the top of the list.

Tyler Green of Modern Art Notes believes that Henri Matisse’s 1907 “Blue Nude” is the most influential. He says that Blue Nude “was so revolutionary, so avant-garde that it pushed Picasso to make Les Dems” MAN

If the question is asked again next year, the answer can no longer be “Les Demoiselles” or “Blue Nude”, as they were both created in 1907. So perhaps the Toilet will claim the number one spot, as the most influential work of art for the last one hundred years.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. I agree that it’s a great painting which has played it’s part in developing art/painting.

    I went to see an exhibition about Le Dem in Paris at the Picasso Museum, the exhibition went through the history and background of the painting and I was looking forward to seeing the painting.

    Only at the end of the exhibition there was a great big colour paper copy of the painting- it was really annoying!

    I guess MOMA wouldn’t lend them the painting- which is where it seems to live:

  2. That must have been a let down Helly, especially if you were expecting the painting to be there.

    I felt like that when I went to a museum here in Australia, expecting to see a big Jackson Pollock painting (blue poles), but it was on loan at the time! I’m not a massive Pollock fan but I was very dissapointed that all I got to see was the painting label on the wall!


  3. Funny that there’s no work of art from before the twentieth century here.

  4. Oops! Didn’t realize the article was titled “Which Is the Most Influential Work of Art Of the Last 100 Years?”

  5. Yeah, you have to read the fine print Hanger-On. ;-)

    Other surveys have put Duchamp’s urinal as the most influential work of ALL time.

  6. I sort of think of Duchamp as a destroyer of art, more than a respecter of art. At least Picasso still practised art in a formal way to the end of his life. Duchamp hugely influenced culture in the area of art. But I don’t think he was a very productive or positive influence.

  7. I agree David. If I could delete the Duchamp Urinal from art history I would. But that’s mostly because of my love of paint.

    I’m not saying it’s not art, I just don’t think it can compare to a good painting.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think the most influential work may be just about to come, according to a post i read at

    it was here:

    I think it might be a heads up to what looks like to be a very long and enjoyable art festival for us all.

    I’m getting something ready myself. I don’t want to be out of date for this one!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Andy Warhol bastardized art. He was not artist he was a marketer. He deserves no credit in way of art… only publicity. His name should be shit on the lips of artists. I wouldn’t expect ambush to understand because they fuel the same vessel.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sory to break it to you but Warhol was an artist. Also being a marketing genuis does not detract from the aesthetics he created. If you don’t like it that’s fine, but to say that his name is shit on the lips of artists’ is just ignorant.

    I would say soup cans is more influential than a lot of the other paintings mentioned. Warhol influenced a whole culture and was not bound down to the ‘art world’.

    As far as influencing modern america/the world today Warhol is king. We are a consumer culture- his art was simply a reflection of that.

  11. to whom it may concern,

    art is expression by whatever means.

    be it scratching a plaster wall with your finger nails, painting a fresco, or preserving your manure in a can.

    it is the concept, the intention…THAT is art.

    ive known artists who are great painters, drawers…etc…who have well trained eyes and hands but lack expression.

    the old standard and the new school…is the yin and yang.

    please get over yourselves and understand they need you just as much as you need them.

    hope this helps.

    -jim james

  12. kudos to jim james…great comment. I would also like to reiterate the intention of art and the “paint lovers” bias. I personally denounce modern art world because of their inability to see past anything other than paint as fine art. How cliche? We live in times where we make electronics do whatever we can imagine them to do and the fine art world is still stuck on paint. what about happenings, sculpture, or MUSIC. This is all art too but nobody sees it when they consider influential art.


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