The 20th Century Art Book

An accessible A-Z guide to the art of the 20th-century.

Conceived and edited by Phaidon Editors


Price: USD$11.95

  • A complement to the landmark Art Book, this volume is an accessible guide to the art of the 20th century
  • Showcases 500 artists in alphabetical order, placing early stars like Monet, Picasso and Dalí alongside the most innovative contemporary artists
  • Documents the myriad new media utilized by artists – from oil and collage to sculpture and readymades to installation and video
  • Each artist is represented by a full-page colour plate and a biographical text that both explains the image and introduces its creator
  • Easy to use, cross-references make connections between artists, while a glossary defines terms and artistic movements, and an international directory of museums and galleries helps readers to encounter the art face to face
  • The mini edition has all of the visual impact and educational value of the original in a lightweight, portable format


About the book

The 20th Century Art Book was hailed upon its release as an exciting celebration of the myriad forms assumed by art over the last century. Complementing the phenomenally successful landmark, Art Book, and most recently The American Art Book, it presents a new and original way of bringing art alive. The new mini edition has all the visual energy and compelling insights of the original but in a lightweight and highly portable format, making it ideal both for dipping into and for using as a serious sourcebook.

Covering the truly international nature of the modern art scene, The 20th Century Art Book encompasses established and iconic works of art and the classics of the future. 500 artists are juxtaposed in alphabetical order, each represented by a full-page colour plate of a definitive work accompanied by an incisive text that sheds light on both image and creator.

This book is above all perfectly easy to use. There are cross-references help the reader make connections between artists, a jargon-free glossary of artistic terms and movements, and an international directory of museums and galleries lists the works on view to the public. Ideal for those approaching the subject for the first time, it is a fun and inviting look at the ever-expanding boundaries of art.

In The Press

'Serves as a stimulus for the uninitiated and initiated alike.' (World of Interiors)

'Demystifies the art of this century. A useful basic reference book, it chronicles every artist you could ever need to know about in an easy to use A-Z format.' (Elle Decoration)

'This superbly illustrated, alphabetically arranged celebration of 500 modern artists is a model of its kind.' (The Times)

'One of the most complete representations of this century's art to hit the shelves in years.' (

'This really needs no introduction - it's a must for every bookshop in the country - but the format and the price make it even more irresistible.' (Bookseller's Choice)

'Invaluable … this entertaining and affordable publication won't end up just on the bookshelves of art aficionados.' (Home & Life)

'Fiendishly hip … a quick fix of culture.' (Elle Decoration)

'Confused by the art world? Can't tell a Chagall from a Cézanne? … Then help is at hand in the form of Phaidon's 20th Century Art Book, an unrivalled guide to the art of an extraordinary century.' (Big Issue)

'A great way to sort out your Baselitzs from your Basquiats.' (Voyager)

About the author(s)


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