It is our contention that the hipster has been around forever, and will be around forever. Scary, we know. But whether or not our prediction holds true, the special combination of cool and youth has always inspired culture, even the oil paintings of masters like Renoir, Schiele, Magritte and Picasso. Don’t believe us? We scoured the repertoires of our favorite artists — impressionist, expressionist, surrealist and otherwise — to find their paintings of what might now be called hipsters. Now, we’re not exactly claiming that these artists knew they were painting 21st century hipsters (although who is Schiele kidding), but future generations get to interpret art as they see fit. Click through for our list of accidental paintings of hipsters by famous master artists.
Egon Schiele, Self-Portrait with Hands on Chest (1910)
Basically all of Egon Schiele’s subjects were skeletal Viennese hipsters, but then of course, so was he. We picked this self-portrait not for the blue hair (although, blue hair!) but for the calm smug expression on his face, as if he’s overseeing a bar scene that he’s like, totally the king of, just off to the right.
Otto Mueller, Pair of Lovers (1919)
That sexy slouch says it all.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Young Spanish Woman with Guitar (1898)
Renoir seems to paint quite a lot of young people that could be classified as hipsters (striped shirts and “ironic” boating hats!), but this young lady takes the cake. Not only is she strumming the casual hipster’s favorite instrument, and possibly singing a song she herself wrote about that one time that guy broke up with her, but the girl’s wearing two hats. Two hats! That kind of thing is only done by hipsters. And, apparently, Spanish musicians. But no matter.
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, The Hangover (1888)
Ah, disaffected youth. This girl is in about thirty bars in Brooklyn (and Manhattan) right now.
Pablo Picasso, Acrobat and Young Harlequin (1905)
We saw two kids wearing these exact jumpsuits in Williamsburg just last week.
Vincent Van Gogh, Self-Portrait (1889)
Weird hat? Check. Obviously thrifted old man’s overcoat? Check. Affected accessory? Check. Clear evidence of ill-advised DIY project gone awry? Check.
René Magritte, The Lovers (1928)
This seems like the exact kind of weird sex game hipsters play when they’re bored. “Let’s cover our faces and make out! It’ll be hilarious! And Mom will buy us new ones when we ruin them rolling around in all this mud!” Plus, everybody knows all hipsters love surrealism.
Marc Chagall, Les Fiancés de la Tour Eiffel (1913)
Because only a hipster couple would have an enormous rooster, flying cello/goat, and a healthy number of fairies at their wedding.
Gustave Courbet, Woman with White Stockings (1861)
Honestly, this painting is just a few white Helvetica characters short of an American Apparel ad. We wish we could say, “except that it’s classier,” but we’re pretty sure Courbet pulled a Dov Charney on this chick.