1949 in art
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- Formation of Penwith Society of Arts in St Ives, Cornwall.
- Young Contemporaries exhibition, initiated by Carel Weight for the British Society of Artists Galleries, establishes the New Contemporaries series.
- David Jones begins a 5-year sequence of watercolours of flowers in glasses.
- Yves Klein paints his first monochromes, in London.
- Francis Bacon – Head VI
- Brenda Chamberlain – The Fisherman's Return (National Museum of Wales)
- Salvador Dalí
- Sir William Reid Dick – Lady Godiva (equestrian bronze, Coventry)
- Tadeusz Kantor – Man with Umbrella
- L. S. Lowry
- The Canal Bridge
- The Football Match
- Robert Motherwell – Five in the Afternoon
- Barnett Newman – Abraham
- William Scott
- Frying Pan and Eggs
- Still Life with Candlestick
- Graham Sutherland – Somerset Maugham
- Vladimir Tretchikoff – The Dying Swan
- Boris Vladimirski – Roses for Stalin
- Lucien Wercollier – Le prisonnier politique (bronze)
- April 9 – Stephen Hickman, illustrator, sculptor and author
- May 7 – Deborah Butterfield, sculptor
- May 12 – Ross Bleckner, painter
- July 6 – Tibor Kalman, Hungarian-American graphic designer (d. 1999).
- August 12 – Glòria Muñoz, Spanish painter
- August 15 – Richard Deacon, sculptor
- August 27 – Istvan Kantor, performance artist
- Jim Dolan, sculptor
- March 17 – Aleksandra Ekster, painter and designer, Art Deco pioneer (b. 1882)
- May 3 – Mariano Fortuny, fashion designer (b. 1871)
- June 21 – Edward Wadsworth, painter (b. 1889)
- August 8 – Joaquín Torres García, Uruguayan painter (b. 1874)
- September 25 – Henri Manguin, painter (b. 1874)
- November 3 – Solomon R. Guggenheim, art collector (b. 1861)
- November 19 – James Ensor, painter (b. 1860)
- (Herbert Barnard) John Everett, English marine artist (b. 1877)