The most luminous of all the colors of the spectrum, yellow is the color of happiness, optimism, of enlightenment and creativity, sunshine and spring, but on the other spectrum, also of cowardice, betrayal, egoism, and madness.
Because it was widely available, the yellow ochre pigment was one of the first colors used in art - the Lascaux cave in France has a painting of a yellow horse 17,000 years old. Throughout art history, the color has been taking different meaning and has been used for various representations.
If you want to add some yellow into your collection, we have compiled ten amazing modernist and contemporary works that you can buy right here, right now!
Featured image: Marc Chagall - The Yellow Background (detail), 1969. All images courtesy of their respective galleries.
Belonging to the original wave of Pop artists, Gerald Laing produced some of the most significant works of the British Pop movement. In mid-1960s, he dramatically shifted his practice towards sculpture, devoting the next forty years to the discipline.
Titled Triple, this screenprint in colors with Mylar on thick card from 1965 was executed in the artist's distinct visual language.
The American artist Margaret Morrison is best known for her detailed still-life and surreal figurative paintings, portraying her subject in the sumptuous color and hyperrealistic style. Creating larger than life paintings, she places small-scale subjects into large-scale relief, creating a feeling of intimacy.
In the painting Daffodil from 2014, Morrison's subject is expertly lit to invoke a foreshadowing element to the composition. In her process, the artist undertook a glazing process which created an illusory effect that takes the realism a step further.
An established African-American painter, Sherman Beck was a member of the influential Africobra movement. His style combines figuration and abstraction, characterized by the exploration of black representation, as well as vibrant color scheme and the masks typical for the African culture.
In this work from 1998, the artist explores his ancestors, while resisting mainstream narratives about Black people.
A Canadian contemporary artist, Sandra Chevrier is best known for her captivating collaged portraits of women from The Cages series. Her hyper-realistic paintings feature women that stare out towards the viewer, while exposing the limitations within our world and our self-imposed expectations that act like cages around us.
The work LaCage, deriere ce masque from 2019 combines the fantastical heroics and iconography of comic books and the harsher underlying tragedy of oppressed female identity.
A celebrated French artist, Georges Braque was at the forefront of the revolutionary and progressive art movement of Cubism. Previously, he experimented with Fauvism. As he explained himself, his work was "devoid of iconological commentary," and was concerned purely with pictorial space and composition.
In this work, the artist depicted the myth of Medea while being driven in a chariot by a pair of serpents, which she summoned to carry her away from Corinth following the murder of King Creon, his daughter Glauce and her children by Jason.
An American multimedia artist, Bonnie Maygarden creates work entirely by hand, using only paint, informed by and reacting to a culture defined by a digital experience. The artist seeks out natural phenomena and illusions that feel familiar to an eye accustomed to imagery found on a screen.
The work Merge II from 2015 references recognized technology-created images, both playing to our expectations of the disposable contemporary image and the valued tradition of the handmade.
An artist experiencing the meteoric rise in the past few years, KAWS is best known for the highly-coveted limited edition prints, sculptures and toys that transform imagery from popular culture with his own unique twist. This celebrated graffiti maker, painter, illustrator, sculptor, toymaker, and product designer has become an art world phenomenon of sorts.
Woodstock from 2012 is one of a large number of KAWS toys currently available, all of which are sold in the original packaging and are guaranteed authentic.
An Australian contemporary artist, Tom Dunn is best known for his expressionistic paintings and drawings that embrace the irrational. Primarily a painter, he also conducts project-based sculpture and installation works. Embracing carnivalesque notions of hybridity, metamorphosis and the grotesque, his paintings tend to have multiple focal points.
In the work Floating Downstream #2, the slippage between figuration and abstraction morphs and distorts, spawning new narratives.
A Belorussian-born Russian-French Modernist, Marc Chagall created his own artistic style in which he combined elements of Expressionism, Symbolism, Cubism and other Modernist art movements. His images based on emotional and poetic associations, rather than on rules of pictorial logic.
This work is the first printing lithograph of The Yellow Background published in 1969. It was created for his one-man show at the Maeght Gallery, Paris.
Considered to be the last graphic artist who actually makes his works by hand, Razzia creates posters that evoke Art Deco, repeating the process of his predecessors from the golden age of this kind of advertising. Throughout his career, Razzia has created an impressive series of works for luxury brand powerhouse, Louis Vuitton.
The work Boheme Run was created using an ink sublimation technique. "I believe that it’s so important to vary the techniques used to avoid becoming mechanical and repetitive," he once explained. "I want to keep poster art fresh and alive."