144 Artists to Pique Your Students’ Interest

Following the popularity of the 100 sketchbook prompts and the video that showed how I grade my weekly sketchbooks, there have been quite a few requests for a download that documents all of the artists I share with my students. You see, every Friday, my students get a new sketchbook assignment, and I introduce an artist that I think will interest them–we sketch, we talk, we think, and we write. I love the learning that takes place during this time.

Today, I’m sharing all of the artists we study in one comprehensive list.

 The list is a mix of contemporary and historical artists, some more well-known than others. It is by no means comprehensive, but it is great start for any high school art program. Use it to inspire your teaching and your students.

If you’re wondering why there are 144 artists, the math works out like this:
36 weeks in a school year x 4 years in a high school experience=144 artists

 With this list, your high school students can be introduced to a new artist every week you work with them during their time in school without ever seeing the same artist twice. Take a look!

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144 Artists to Pique Your Students’ Interest

 1. Ai Weiwei
2. Albrecht Durer
3. Alexander Calder
4. Alfred Stieglitz
5. Alice Neel
6. Allora & Calzadilla
7. Alma Thomas
8. Amedeo Modigliani
9. Ana Mendieta
10. Andreas Gursky
11. Andrew Wyeth
12. Andy Warhol
13. Annie Leibovitz
14. Antoni Gaudí
15. Artemisia Gentileschi
16. Banksy
17. Barbara Kruger
18. Bernard Leach
19. Betye Saar
20. Bridget Riley
21. Cai Guo-Qiang
22. Carrie Mae Weems
23. Christo and Jeanne-Claude
24. Chuck Close
25. Cindy Sherman
26. Claude Monet
27. Constantin Brancusi
28. Cy Twombly
29. Damien Hirst
30. Daniel Rhodes
31. Deborah Butterfield
32. Diego Rivera
33. Donatello
34. Dorothea Lange
35. Edvard Munch
36. Edward Hopper
37. Elaine de Kooning
38. Elizabeth Catlett
39. Elizabeth Murray
40. Ellsworth Kelly
41. Faith Ringgold
42. Frank Lloyd Wright
43. Frank Stella
44. Franz Marc
45. Frida Kahlo
46. Gabriel Orozco
47. Georges Braque
48. Georges Seurat
49. Georgia O’Keeffe
50. Gerhard Richter
51. Giuseppe Arcimboldo
52. Glenn Ligon
53. Goya
54. Grandma Moses
55. Grant Wood
56. Gustav Klimt
57. Hannah Hoch
58. Helen Frankenthaler
59. Henri Matisse
60. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
61. Hokusai
62. Jackson Pollock
63. Jacob Lawrence
64. Jacques-Louis David
65. James Rosenquist
66. Jan Vermeer
67. Jasper Johns
68. Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith
69. Jean Arp
70. Jean Dubuffet
71. Jean-Michel Basquiat
72. Jesús Rafael Soto
73. Jim Dine
74. Joan Miró
75. Joan Mitchell
76. John Baldessari
77. José Clemente Orozco
78. Joseph Stella
79. Joshua Johnson
80. Judith Leyster
81. Judy Chicago
82. Kara Walker
83. Käthe Kollwitz
84. Kehinde Wiley
85. Keith Haring
86. Kent Bellows
87. Lee Krasner
88. Leonardo da Vinci
89. Lorna Simpson
90. Louise Bourgeois
91. Louise Nevelson
92. Magdalena Abakanowicz
93. Man Ray
94. Marc Chagall
95. Marcel Duchamp
96. Maria Martinez
97. Marina Abramović
98. Marisol Escobar
99. Mark Rothko
100. Mary Cassatt
101. Max Ernst
102. Maya Lin
103. M.C. Escher
104. Michelangelo
105. Nikki St De Phalle
106. Norman Rockwell
107. Pablo Picasso
108. Paul Cézanne
109. Paul Gauguin
110. Paul Klee
111. Peter Voulkos
112. Piet Mondrian
113. Rachel Whiteread
114. Rembrandt
115. René Magritte
116. Richard Diebenkorn
117. Richard Estes
118. Robert Henri
119. Robert Longo
120. Robert Rauschenberg
121. Romare Bearden
122. Roy Lichtenstein
123. Salvador Dalí
124. Sandy Skoglund
125. Sean Scully
126. Shepard Fairey
127. Shōji Hamada
128. Sonia Delaunay
129. Stuart Davis
130. Tamara de Lempicka
131. Thomas Hart Benton
132. Thomas Hirschhorn
133. Titian
134. Tony Oursler
135. Umberto Boccioni
136. Victor Vasarely
137. Vija Celmins
138. Vincent van Gogh
139. Walter De Maria
140. Wassily Kandinsky
141. Wayne Thiebaud
142. Yayoi Kusama
143. Yves Klein
144. Yves Tanguy

Even with a list this extensive and diverse, it can be difficult to fit a healthy mix of old masters and contemporary artists into your curriculum. Take a look at what you currently teach and see what holes this list can help  you fill!

Who is missing from the list?
Which artists would you take away, or which would you add?

Timothy Bogatz

Tim is a high school teacher from Omaha, NE. His teaching and writing focus on the development of creativity, problem-solving, and higher-order thinking skills.


  • Lauren

    I love the artwork of Mark Bradford. I usually talk to my students about him when we start collage projects. There’s always so much interest in his process and my younger students love looking for “things” within his artwork. Also he’s current, so it’s fun to show students new artworks.

    • Tim Bogatz

      I remember seeing Mark Bradford in the Art21 series, but I’ve never shown him to my students. I may need to have them check it out! Thank you!

  • Katie Romanic

    I always love teaching El Anatusi since his whole thought process is so different compared to most artists. The kids are always really shocked when they learn how he leaves so many decisions about his work up to others rather than controlling everything himself.

  • mrs B

    The work of British land artist Andy Goldsworthy is always enjoyed by students

  • mrs B

    Another is Australian contemporary artist Patricia Piccinini who’s super real hybrids and anthromorphic machine sculptures stimulate fantastic classroom discussions, particularly amongst high school students. Topics of discussion cover things like the possibilities open to artists through advances in science and technology, blurring of boundaries in contemporary society between humans and machines, biotechnology, as well as our care and responsibility over what we create, salvation and sacrifice, the list goes on….

  • No love for Ralph McQuarrie anywhere?

  • Beatriz Milhazes, from Brazil, uses a very interesting, intriguing technique. She paints designs with acrylic paint on plastic sheets, peels them when dry. From there, she collages them in huge compositions with many others, onto canvas. She also makes prints.

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