Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 201–232 | Cite as

Artistic styles: revisiting the analysis of modern artists’ careers

  • Christiane HellmanzikEmail author
Original Article


This paper is based on a global sample of the 214 most prominent modern visual artists born 1850–1945. Two analytical methods are used to analyse the age at which artists produce their best works—one based on year-of-birth cohorts of modern visual artists and the other on stylistic groups. The cohort-analysis shows that the career patterns develop similarly over time for artists working in the USA and Europe; over time the artists’ peak ages first increase, reach their maximum for artists born between 1890 and 1909, and then decrease again. The study of stylistic groups shows that artists associated with Fauvism, the Nabis and Post-Impressionism experience an early peak, whereas artists associated with Surrealism, Impressionism, Abstract Expressionism, Art Informel, Pop Art, Expressionism and Cubism peak later in their careers.


Modern artists Age Life cycle Creativity 

JEL Classification

N80 Z11 



I am thankful for excellent comments and discussions to the editor Michael Rushton and two anonymous referees, Martin Schmitz, and Danielle Kedan. I am grateful to John O’Hagan for very helpful advice and comments. The author gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the IIIS and the Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Institute for International Integration Studies (IIIS)Trinity CollegeDublin 2Ireland

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