With an absence of colour, black and white artwork comes alive through its form, shape, design and narrative. The Western history of monochrome art is incredibly rich and is rooted in the Florentine philosophy of the Renaissance, which favoured design over colour. Since then, contrasting hues and minimal palettes have been at the forefront of an assortment of artistic movements, ranging from Cubism and Futurism to Minimalism, Op Art and street art.
Monochrome Masterpieces details a wide range of monochrome art in a plethora of its various forms and styles. Whether you are searching for a design-focused work to add to your collection or are looking to find the perfect minimalist centrepiece to make a modern interior sing, we present a wide variety of black and white artwork that are guaranteed to delight any collector.
From the very conception of graffiti and street art, the use of black and white has been essential. From Richard Hambleton’s iconic Shadowmen lurking in dark alleyways, to Banksy’s powerful stencils, some of the most impactful street art of the 20th and 21st century has been rendered in black and white.
Although contemporary street art is known by many for its vibrant use of colour, many contemporary street artists today actively use a monochrome palette, with Chicago street artist Lefty Out There being a prime example. Creating bold, intricately patterned works, Lefty Out There, otherwise known as Franco Campenella, is known for his organic mark-making and pared back palette. He reportedly states that his goal is to ‘cover everything’, engulfing surfaces globally with his black and white designs.
British photographer David Yarrow is famed for his black and white photographs. Capturing everything from the world’s most memorable faces to the magic of nature, Yarrow is internationally renowned for his cinematic shots. The intensity of his compositions are undoubtedly heightened by his greyscale colour range. On the subject of colour, Yarrow reportedly stated that:
“I shoot in colour, but only ever release [my images] in black and white. Monochrome prints have a timelessness that can be both evocative and visceral. Black and white is also an abstraction of reality and since we live our lives in colour, some degree of abstraction allows for perception and a sense of art.”