Modern Painting A Concise History

Simon Morley

This new concise history of modern painting offers an indispensable reference to the complexities and characteristics of this medium, which now exists alongside many other contemporary practices that embrace radically expanded ideas about art.

While acknowledging the legacy of Herbert Read’s classic 1959 study A Concise History of Modern Painting in the World of Art series, academic and artist Simon Morley places the foundation of modern art much earlier than Read, at the emergence of Romanticism and the dawn of the industrial age. Structured loosely chronologically by period, the focus is as much on individual artists as movements, with works discussed within a broader context—stylistic, historical, geographic, and gender and ethnic frames—themes which recur throughout the chapters. Generously illustrated, the global and diverse range of artists featured include William Blake, Édouard Manet, Hilma af Klint, Kazimir Malevich, Willem de Kooning, Amrita Sher-Gil, Faith Ringgold, and Kehinde Wiley.

This guide also includes an appendix in the form of questions the reader might like to ask about the artists and ideas discussed—in order to reconsider the works from a contemporary perspective.


Simon Morley


Simon Morley is a visual artist and Assistant Professor in the College of Arts, Dankook University, Republic of Korea. He has lectured at such museums as Tate, The National Gallery, Hayward Gallery, Serpentine Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery and Camden Arts Centre, and has contributed to numerous publications including Third TextWorld Art, the TLS, The Burlington MagazineArt MonthlyThe Art NewspaperContemporary Art and the Independent on Sunday.