16 Rare Videos of Iconic Artists at Work, From Monet to Matisse to Dalí

Thanks to technology and social media, art lovers can see how their favorite artists work. Many contemporary artists post video footage or time-lapse videos of their creative process, giving us precious insight into their creative minds. And while it may be rarer, did you know that we have similar types of videos from some of the greatest artists in history?

Since moving video was developed at the end of the 19th century, it has been used to document life as we know it. Many artists have allowed video footage to be taken either while they were working or in an interview setting where they explain their artistic philosophy. From Claude Monet painting in his garden to Georgia O'Keeffe's reflection on her career, there is so much to learn.

While the footage might be rare, plenty of it has been uploaded to YouTube, and it just takes a bit of searching to unearth these hidden gems. We've done a lot of the heavy lifting and found some incredible videos for you, which can be viewed below. Standouts include a 74-year-old Renoir struggling through the pain of rheumatoid arthritis to keep painting. Taken in 1915, the video shows Renoir's 14-year-old son Claude placing a paintbrush in his father's hand, which had been permanently deformed by the illness.

Roy Lichtenstein's 1966 interview, in which he confronts criticism about Pop Art, is a fascinating look at how the artist views his work and its role in society. There are also some fun oddities, like Salvador Dalí painting a rhinoceros at the Paris Zoo and Keith Haring executing a live painting during a television show in Italy.

Whether you love watching artists in action or enjoy hearing them discuss the theory behind their art, you'll enjoy this different look at Western art history.

There is a lot of rare footage of artists at work to be found; here are some of our favorites, from Monet to Hopper to Haring.


Claude Monet, 1915


Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1915


Auguste Rodin, 1915


Wassily Kandinsky, 1926


Henri Matisse, 1946


Pablo Picasso, 1950


Jackson Pollock, 1951


Salvador Dali, 1955


Marcel Duchamp, 1956


Alberto Giacometti, 1965


Edward Hopper, 1965


Roy Lichtenstein, 1966


Georgia O'Keeffe, 1977


Keith Harring, 1984


Gerhard Richter, 2011


(Please note that this list reflects what’s been made available, hence the lack of female representation commensurate with the absence of their public exposure throughout art history.)

h/t: [Open Culture]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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