Top Famous Artists from New York

With the most iconic Statue of Liberty and ever-vibrant and full of life Times Square, New York is one of the most populated cities in the United States. New York hosts a massive metropolitan area and population with exemplary cultural diversity and thriving commerce. From sports to education and technology to art and fashion, New York has been the hub of creativity and some spectacular art.

The state also conceptualized and gave the world a unique form of performing arts, “The Broadway Theatre”. The state is an ode to the amazing artists that were born and raised in New York. With famous museums in the world and The Broadway Theatre, New York has been an inspiration and a dream to millions of artists all over the world.

In this article, we have enlisted some of the top famous artists from New York, including photographers, writers, musicians, sculptors, painters, and drawing artists/visual artists. Let’s get started.

Top Famous Photographers from New York

Richard Corman

Born in New York in 1954, Richard Corman is a well-known portrait photographer who is known for the famous portraits he clicked of Madonna before she became a fashion icon all over the world. These glorious portraits of Madonna were published in the coffee table book named Madonna NYC 83. After this incredible work with Madonna in 1983, Corman continued to climb the success stairs with immense talent. He is one of the top photographers of America having musicians, actors, and athletes as his subjects.

He has clicked black-and-white portraits of Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Calvin Ripken, Jr, and several more celebrities.

Richard Avedon

a picture of the American photographer Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon was born in New York City in 1923 and died in 2004 in Texas. His obituary in The New York Times termed his work as shaping the image of America’s style, fashion, beauty, and culture. His work has been displayed in numerous exhibitions all over the world.

He photographed some famous personalities including Marilyn Monroe, Ezra Pound, and Marian Anderson. His iconic photos are usually styled in a minimalistic pattern – white plain background with the subjects looking directly into the camera. Avedon always seemed inspired by how portraits speak a lot about a person’s personality.

William Klein

William Klein holding a mic and addressing to an audience

William Klein is an American-born French photographer who was born in New York in 1928. He is known for his iconic approach towards both media and unusual photographic techniques that he uses for photojournalism and fashion photography. Due to Klein’s brilliant work, he was ranked 25th on the list of 100 most influential photographers.

He has been awarded several awards for his work, including the Prix Nadar in 1957 the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award at the Sony World Photography Awards in the year 2012, Prix Jean Vigo in 1967, Hasselblad Award in 1990, and several more.

William Klein’s most famous photographic work includes The Holy family on bike (Rome, 1956), Gun 1, New York (1955), Autoportrait (a book of painted contact prints, 1995), Club Allegro Fortissimo (1990), Gun 1, New York (1955), and Vogue.

Famous Sculptors from New York

Cecile Abish

Born in New York City in 1930, Cecile Abish is renowned for her amazing works in sculpture and photography. She has had her works exhibited in numerous prestigious exhibitions around the country as well as globally, such as exhibitions in the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Newark College of Engineering, and the Architektur Zentrum in Vienna. Initially, her work focused on the sculpture installations, comprised of materials such as marbles. Besides her pieces of art exhibited around the globe, Cecile Abish is also associated with various universities as a visual artist.

Robert Hess

Robert Hess working on a life-size sculpture in 2006

Born in Brooklyn on August 12, 1935, Robert Henry Hess was a celebrated American art educator and sculptor. Hess was famous for his works in abstract metal and wood carvings. His sculptures are symbolic of American modernist tradition and are usually inspired models of drummers.

Hess’ work is highly inspiring for the passionate sculptors wanting to expand their horizon. The medium used for making his sculptures usually involved material of various textures, such as bronze, steel, or wood. Some of his famous works are displayed at the Salem Public Library, Salem Convention Centre, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, and Willamette University.

He passed away on May 8, 2014.

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney was an inspiration to hundreds of art lovers that followed her iconic works in sculptures. Born on January 9, 1875, she was an American sculptor, collector, and an art patron. She founded the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. One of her very first iconic works was a male sculpture named Aspiration (a life-size male nude), which was placed outside the New York State Building in 1901. Shortly, after her first work got displayed publicly, she set up her studio and focused on her passion diligently. In 1910, another of her celebrated work was displayed at the National Academy of Design.

Whitney’s fame also got her a place in the Vogue magazine in 1917. Additionally, Titanic Memorial is another one of her iconic publicly displayed sculptures, which is considered an important milestone in her artistic career.

The Titanic Memorial located on the Southwest Waterfront in Washington, D.C.

Her famous works include:

Two reliefs on the Victory Arc

Victory Arch, one of two bronze reliefs

Washington Heights-Inwood War Memorial

Washington Heights-Inwood War Memorial by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney

The Scout

The Scout sculpture by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in Cody, Wyoming

Monument to the Discovery Faith

Monument to the Discovery Faith in Huelva, Spain

The Three Graces

The Three Graces at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Founders of the Daughters of the American Revolution

the sculpture Founders of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington, D.C.

A.E.F. Memorial

A.E.F. Memorial in Saint-Nazaire, France

Peter Stuyvesant

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney's statue of Peter Stuyvesant in the western portion of Stuyvesant Square in Manhattan

Famous Painters from New York

Paul Raphael Meltsner

Meltsner was also one of the iconic painters born in New York City. He was born in 1905 and was famous for his work in Works Progress Administration, a well-known agency that employs emerging artists for public works around the city. Later in his life, he started focusing on his passion for painting and completed the iconic portraits of Carmen Miranda.  The portrait was officially acquired by the Government of Brazil and exhibited in the National Museum of Brazil.

His masterpieces are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, the Wichita Art Museum, the National Museum of Argentina, and numerous other renowned galleries. One of Mesltsner’s works was also collected by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and hung in the White House.

Paul died in 1966 at the age of 61.

Daniel Simmons aka Danny Summons Jr.

Artist Danny Simmons smiling for the picture

Belonging to a family of talented people, Danny Simmons is the father of Jamel Simmons – who created horrorcore – and the elder brother of Russell and Joseph Simmons. His work and masterpieces led him to showcase his work throughout the country – in the United Nations, the Chase Manhattan Bank, and at the Schomburg Centre.

He is also well-known for his philanthropic works in the field of art for young struggling artists. He established the Rush Philanthropic Foundation in 1995. This foundation helps young urban artists to showcase their work and get noticed by private dealers or exhibition organizers.

Ruth Abrams

A picture of Ruth Abrams

Famous for her remarkable paintings deeply based upon outer-space themes, Ruth Ida Abrams was a well-known Jewish-American art educator and painter from New York, born in 1912. She worked with some of the leading artists of her time, namely William Zorach, John D. Graham, and Alexander Archipenko. Her paintings were a part of celebrated exhibitions of those times.

As a tribute to her beautiful work talents, an exhibition of her works was arranged at the Yeshiva University Museum from 2012 to 2013. The exhibition was named: “Microcosms: Ruth Abrams, Abstract Expressionist”.

She died on March 12, 1986.

Top Famous Writers from New York

Stan Lee

Stan Lee wearing a yellow shirt and spectacles

Who is not familiar with the iconic movies made and produced under the banner of Marvel Comics? Stan Lee is the main inspiration behind most of the superheroes everybody looks up to these days. Stan Lee was born in New York City in December 1922. He collaborated with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko to come up with what the world recognizes as the most powerful and iconic superheroes of all times – including the Avengers, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Magneto, Daredevil, the X-Men, Iron Man, Hulk, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four.

He had been awarded several notable awards and nominations such as Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation for Iron Man, Lifetime Achievement Award by the Visual Effects Society, and The Saturn Awards.

Stan Lee, a legend, died on November 12, 2018

James Baldwin

a picture of James Baldwin taken in Hyde Park, London

Known for his political writings exploring the complexities of racial and class distinction in the mid-20th century, James Arthur Baldwin, was born in New York City in 1969. His most famous works include, “Go Tell It on the Mountain” and “Notes of a Native Son”. His works have also been adapted for movies and have been nominated by the Academy Awards.

His novel, “If Beale Street Could Talk”, won the Academy Award for the on-screen adaptation in a dramatic film under the production of Barry Jenkins. His essays and books were mainly focused on shedding light on the dilemmas related to social and psychological pressures. His literary works are also regarded as one of the prime advocates of Gays and bisexual men striving to achieve acceptance of the society and coming to terms with their internal struggles.

Marry Higgins Clark

Higgins Clark at the Mazza Museum in 2012

Having 51 successful books published under her name, Marry Higgins Clark was one of the most successful suspense writers in the country. Her first suspense novel, “Where are the Children?” is undergoing its seventy-fifth edition. Every novel that she penned down has sold about a million copies in the United States.

After the success of her first novel, she never looked back and continued to write amazing suspense thriller novels that gripped the readers and sold millions of copies. Her books are also well-received and awarded in France. She was honored with Grand Prix de Littérature Policière in 1980 and then Deauville Film Festival Literary Award in 1999.

Top Famous Actors from New York

Robert Downey, Jr.

Robert Downey, Jr. speaking at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International

Born in the New York City, Robert Downey Jr. is well-known for his performance as the Iron Man in Marvel film series. He has also won a Golden Globe Award for his acting in the renowned suspense thriller Sherlock Holmes in 2010. His movies, Iron Man and Tropic Thunder, released in 2008, took his acting career up a notch. Iron Man grossed over $585 million all over the world.

He has also ventured on singing soundtracks of his films, such as Chaplin, The Singing Sun, or Two Girls and a Guy. He is one of the most sought-after actors in the industry.

Adam Sandler

Adam Sandler at a ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

The leading star of the blockbuster movies, The Waterboy, The Wedding Singer, and Big Daddy, Adam Sandler was also born in New York City. He is referred to as a comedic actor who started showcasing his talent when he was attending New York University. Before having to try his luck in the movies, Adam Sandler was a regular part of the cast of Saturday Night Live show.

Lindsay Lohan

a picture of Lindsay Lohan wearing a pink dress

Lindsay Dee Lohan made her first-ever television appearance at the age of 10 in a soap opera, Another World. She was born in 1986 in New York City. In 1998, Walt Disney’s blockbuster movie, The Parent Trap, gave her the biggest breakthrough of her acting career. She then continued her career in super hit movies such as Freaky Friday and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.

She set foot in the music industry by releasing two albums under the Casablanca Records. She was the most popular teen idol after she appeared in the Mean Girls in 2004.

Top Famous Musicians from New York

Jay-Z

Jay-Z at the Carter Foundation Carnival 2011

Shawn Corey Carter, commonly known as Jay-Z, was born in New York City in 1969. He is a well-known American rapper who started discovering his musical talent after receiving a boom box for his 12th birthday by his mother. This New Yorker rapper founded his own record label named, Roc-A-Fella Records in 1995. Since then he has been one of the top rappers in the country.

With a net worth of over one billion US dollars, Jay-Z has secured more than 241 awards and around 400 nominations under his belt. He married Beyoncé in 2008, and they two were named as the most powerful and influential couple by the TIME magazine in 2006. In the year 2009, Jay-Z and his wife Beyoncé were ranked among the top-earning couples in the industry – with a combined net worth of about $1.4 billion.

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez performing during the 2014 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony in Brazil

Born and raised in the New York City, Jennifer Lopez began her career with her appearance as a dancer on “In Living Color”. For her first-ever venture in the field of acting in the biopic of a Mexican-American singer Selena, Lopez was nominated for Golden Globe Award.

Having a net worth of about 400 million dollars, Jennifer Lopez is crowned as the first Latin singer who introduced the Latin pop music to the American music industry. She has won more than 300 awards and grabbed more than 500 notable nominations for her work in the music and acting industry.

50 Cent

Rapper 50 Cent in concert sporting Bling-Bling

Curtis James Jackson III, professionally known as 50 Cent, is an American rapper, producer, actor, and entrepreneur born in the Queens, New York City in 1975. He used to sell drugs when he was just twelve years old. Later in the year 2000, after perusing a musical career, Jackson produced his debut album Power of the Dollar for Colombia Records, which was never released because he was shot.

In 2002, he was found by Eminem and was asked to sign Shady Records. With the help of Dr. Dre and Eminem, 50 Cent became one of the world’s best-selling rappers. During his musical career, 50 Cent has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and won a number of awards, including a Grammy Award, six World Music Awards, thirteen Billboard Music Awards, four BET Awards, and three American Music Awards.

To read more about his history and achievements, check out History and Biography of 50 Cent.

Famous Drawing Artist from New York

William Powhida

Born and raised in New York City, Powhida is passionate about contemporary art. He is famous for one of the topics of his drawing called the enemies list. He is also well-known for one of his largest drawing created with another artist, Jade Townsend, called the Art Basel Miami Beach Hooverville.

This painting, according to a critic in the New York Magazine, is an example of institutional critique that was much needed. The drawing depicted almost every big name in the field of art gathered in food line while the prominent art collectors, namely Charles Saatchi, Eli Broad, etc., are shown placing bets in the bottom-left corner.

Another famous work of William includes “How the New Museum Committed Suicide with Banality” – it is a drawing on paper done by him in 2002. The drawing consists of caricatures of people involved in the controversial exhibition in The New Museum of Contemporary Art.

This is a picture of the artwork "How the New Museum Committed Suicide with Banality" by William Powhida.

Final Words

The list of famous artists born in New York is exhausting. The city has been welcoming and nurturing of all types of talents. With a number of platforms for various artists to showcase their work, this city has been one of the best amongst utilizing the talents of its people.