Many things can shape a city: the weather, geography, and, especially, the people who call them home. These five cities were shaped by the artists who lived, worked there, and ultimately helped make the cities what they are today.
You can visit these cities and imagine what it must have been like to be an artist there while soaking up the artistic remnants around you — the perfect trip for any art enthusiast!
Any fan of architecture would be in heaven in Barcelona. Everywhere you turn you are presented with a new example of Antoni Gaudí’s masterful architecture. From the perpetually-unfinished Sagrada Familia to the whimsical Parc Güell, Gaudí’s masterpieces are on display throughout Barcelona – the city he architecturally made his own. A stroll through the city is a feast for the eyes as Gaudí’s distinctively creative, nature-influenced style is shown in Casa Batlló’s colorful façade and La Pedrera’s flowing structure. Barcelona itself serves as a homage to Gaudí and must be experienced to be appreciated.
Both distinguished in their own right, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were Mexico City’s most artistic, political, and tumultuous couple who grew to fame for their impressive artwork and dramatic relationship. Frida is best known for her striking self-portraits while Diego became a famous muralist. A visit to Mexico City would be incomplete without visiting Frida’s longtime home, La Casa Azul. There, you can catch a glimpse into the artist’s difficult life through her art. While in Mexico City, save some time for a visit to some of Diego Rivera’s masterpieces which are still on display for visitors. His fresco-style murals can be seen in Mexico City’s historic center, such as Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Central Park and the controversial Man, Controller of the Universe.
There are few cities more synonymous with art than Paris. To name even half of the artists who rose to fame in the “City of Lights” over the years would be an impossible feat. Paris was home to the evolution of a number of the most important artistic movements including Art Nouveau, Impressionism, Cubism, Neo-Impressionism, Art Deco, and Abstract Art. These movements churned out the likes of Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin, Paul Cezanne, Henry Matisse, and Edgar Degas, to name a few. From the Louvre to the Musée d'Orsay to the Musée Rodin, no other city rivals Paris as an art lover’s paradise.
New York City
New York City has undoubtedly been the go-to place for artists in the majority of major art movements in America in the 20th century. The Abstract Expressionism movement put New York on the map as an art city with the emergence of artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko. Pop Art brought such artists as Roy Lichtenstein and, most notably, Andy Warhol, with his studio, The Factory. The Harlem Renaissance continued the growth of the artist community in New York. Among others, these artists’ time in New York City has shaped it into the art hub it is today. You can visit NYC’s many art museums — the MoMA, the Whitney, and the Guggenheim Museum, for example — to catch a glimpse of these artists’ legacies.
There’s no city in the United States quite like San Francisco. Considering its rich culture, diversity, natural beauty, history of activism, and vibrancy, it’s no surprise that San Francisco developed a lively art scene and became home to many artists. One artist who moved to San Francisco was the Depression-era documentary photographer Dorothea Lange, whose portraits hauntingly captured the hardships faced by those during that period. Ruth Asawa, known as the “fountain lady” in San Francisco, is famous for her wire sculptures and public fountains in the city. Many of Asawa’s public fountains can still be visited in San Francisco. Alternatively, you can visit one of the city’s many art museums to further appreciate its artistic heritage.