Modern art has evolved in an interplay between Western trends, Native American traditions and Latin American currents such as the Mexican mural. In the 1800s and early 1900s, the influence of Spain was noticeable.
Modernism was initiated by Andrés de Santa María (1860–1945). His works show a clear influence from naturalism, realism and from impressionism. His motives are often washing wives at work, Native American women in the fields and battle scenes from the Civil War. Many of the motifs have a clear national element in addition to the clear European influence in the design of the motifs.
Fernando Botero is internationally renowned. His distinctive style of surrealistically exceedingly bold characters is an example of the fusion of impulses from Spanish masters and local folk art. His motives are most often satirical, describing scenes from middle-class life.
Painter and sculptor Luis Alberto Acuña has been influenced by Mexican murals. His idiom is characterized by a lush, naive realism. Edgar Negret and Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar, with their abstract, constructivist sculptures, were influenced by international art in the late 1950s. Alejandro Obregón (1920–92) painted expressionist figurative paintings. He spent many years in France, where he was influenced by Cubism and French expressionists.
Of contemporary artists, Fernando Botero (b. 1930) is the most famous to an international audience. Like the Mexican, Diego Rivera, he was more concerned with the great painters of the Renaissance and Baroque than of trends in contemporary art. His distinctive style of surrealistically exceedingly bold characters is an example of the fusion of impulses from Spanish masters and local folk art. His motives are most often satirical, describing scenes from middle-class life.
Luis Caballero (b. 1943) was early influenced by Francis Bacon and the London School, but has in recent years developed more towards realism. There are several parallel directions in today’s visual arts; political realism, naivistic realism, surrealism, postmodernism and abstract minimalism.