Art Movements That You Have Probably Never Heard of Before

Art Movements That You Have Probably Never Heard of Before

It would be fair to suggest that each art movement is not only a product but also a reflection of the time and culture it came from. That is the reason why looking at different forgotten art movements that emerged around the world is so interesting — it almost feels like catching a glimpse of some long-forgotten parts of human history. All art movements were born out of necessity to respond to the new reality; this is why a lot of new movements appeared as an aftermath of major historical events. Let us take a look at some of the lesser-known art movements.

Art Movements That You Have Probably Never Heard of Before

Nueva Figuración

Nueva Figuración, or neofiguration, is one of the art movements that do not exist anymore. It was especially popular in Colombia, Venezuela, and Argentina where abstract art was already thriving in the 1950s. The followers of Nueva Figuración felt like there was a need for more figurative art that would reflect their opinion on the political and social issues of the time.


An art movement that emerged after a long period of complete cultural and political isolation, Yōga was a reaction of Japanese artists to the changes that the late 19th – early 20th century brought. Yōga looked nothing like what we now know as traditional Japanese art. The sudden contact of Japan with the outside world resulted in the creation of an art movement that combined traditional imagery with Western materials and techniques.


Tonalism can be described in one word as “misty.” Of course, blurriness was not the only defining feature of this art movement, but it was a major one. What is interesting about this movement is that it received its name after it was recognized as a tendency. It also had other less-used names like Quietism and Intimism, which reflect the overall feeling of Tonalist landscapes that often were painted in gray, brown, and blue hues. This movement emerged in 1880s’ America and was soon overshadowed by Impressionism.


An art movement with a self-deprecating name, Lowbrow appeared in California in the late 1960s. It is also often referred to as pop surrealism, and it is understandable why. Inspired by underground small press comic books, punk music, and graffiti, it is a bold art style that often makes fun of itself, featuring absurd imagery, psychedelic colors, exaggerated proportions, and cartoon-like characters. Lowbrow aesthetics also heavily draw from the tiki culture, a blend of pseudo-Polinesian cultural influences.

Now that you know these unique art movements, you can go on your search down the Internet rabbit hole and find even more forgotten pages of art history.