1939 in art
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- March 20 – The Berlin Fire Brigade is ordered to burn around 5000 works of graphic art considered by the ruling Nazi Party in Germany to be "degenerate art" and which have little market value.
- May – Release of Detective Comics #27, the debut of Batman.
- September – Artworks from the Louvre and other French museums are evacuated to the Château de Chambord.
- November 6 – Mexican painters' Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera's brief divorce is finalized.
- November 7 – The War Artists' Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Information (United Kingdom) is appointed, following a scheme put forward by Sir Kenneth Clark on August 29, first meeting on November 23 to decide which war artists it will employ.
- December 14 – A 'Scheme for recording changing aspects of Britain' which will employ British watercolour painters during World War II is put forward by Sir Kenneth Clark for support by the Pilgrim Trust.
- English painters Kenneth Hall and his lover Basil Rakoczi of The White Stag group move from London to Ireland following the outbreak of war.
- Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth settle near St Ives, Cornwall, effectively establishing the St Ives School of abstract avant-garde artists. Henry Moore subsequently takes over Hepworth's London studio.
- Picasso retrospective curated by Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and staged jointly by the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the Art Institute of Chicago opens.
- Exhibition "Contemporary Unknown American Painters" at the Museum of Modern Art (New York) introduces Grandma Moses to the public.
- First of the Madeline books, illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans.
- Harvey Fite begins work on his environmental sculpture Opus 40 at Saugerties, New York.
See also: Category:1939 sculptures
- Maurice Ascalon – The Scholar, The Laborer, and The Toiler of the Soil (beaten copper relief sculpture for Jewish Palestine Pavilion at 1939 New York World's Fair)
- Alexander Calder – Lobster Trap and Fish Tail (mobile)
- Salvador Dalí – Shirley Temple, The Youngest, Most Sacred Monster of the Cinema in Her Time
- Paul Delvaux – The Phases of the Moon I
- Aaron Douglas – Power Plant, Harlem
- James Earle Fraser – Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt
- Leo Friedlander – Pioneer Woman (sculpture)
- Julio González – Monsieur Cactus (sculpture)
- Edward Hopper – Cape Cod Evening
- Frida Kahlo
- Fernand Léger – Adam and Eve
- David Low – Rendezvous (political cartoon)
- Musa McKim – Spanish Hill and the Early Inhabitants of the Vicinity (mural at United States Post Office (Waverly, New York))
- Marino Marini – The Pilgrim (bronze)
- Joan Miró – Constellations (series begun)
- Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen – The Young Man playing Pan-pipes on a Wingless Pegasus (monument to the sculptor's husband, the composer Carl Nielsen (d. 1931), in Copenhagen)
- José Clemente Orozco – Man of Fire (fresco in Hospicio Cabañas, Guadalajara, Mexico, 1936-39)
- Eric Ravilious – watercolours
- Train Landscape
- Westbury Horse
- Percy Shakespeare – Tropical Bird House, Dudley Zoo
- Charles Sheeler – Power series (paintings)
- Situ Qiao – Guqin
- Elizabeth Wyn Wood – Welland-Crowland War Memorial (Welland, Ontario)
- Grant Wood
- Xu Beihong – Put Down Your Whip
- February 16 – David Griffiths, Welsh portrait painter
- February 21 – Gert Neuhaus, German mural artist
- March 17 – Jim Gary, American sculptor (d. 2006)
- March 24 – Gérard Coste, French painter and diplomat
- April 1 – Spider Martin, American photographer (d. 2003)
- April 8 – Trina Schart Hyman, American illustrator of children's books (d. 2004)
- April 25 – Patrick Lichfield, English photographer (d. 2005)
- July 27 – William Eggleston, American color photographer
- November 2 – Richard Serra, American sculptor
- December 11 – Peter Bagge, American author and illustrator
- December 23 – Nancy Graves, American sculptor, painter and printmaker (d. 1996)
- unknown date
- April 11 – Willard Huntington Wright, American art critic and detective-story writer as S. S. Van Dine (b. 1888)
- May 25 – Joseph Duveen, 1st Baron Duveen, English art dealer (b. 1869)
- June 3 – Sir Philip Sassoon, 3rd Baronet, English art collector (b. 1888)
- June 23 – Mark Gertler, English painter (b. 1891) (suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning)
- July 21 – Ambroise Vollard, French art dealer (b. 1866)
- August 14 – Isaak Brodsky, socialist realist painter (b. 1884)
- August 24 – Frederick Carl Frieseke, American Impressionist painter (b. 1874)
- August 29 – Jessica Dismorr, Vorticist painter (b. 1885) (suicide by hanging)
- September 6 – Arthur Rackham, illustrator (b. 1867)
- September 18
- December 1 – Jorma Gallen-Kallela, painter (b. 1898)
- December 3 – Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, member of the British Royal Family and sculptor (b. 1848)
- December 14 – Helene Kröller-Müller, art collector (b. 1869)
- December 18 – Ernest Lawson, Canadian-American painter, member of The Eight (b. 1873)
- December 25 – Margrethe Mather, photographer and painter (b. 1886)
- December 27 – Rinaldo Cuneo, American painter (b. 1877)
- date unknown – Jane Mary Dealy, painter and illustrator (1856)