1990 in art
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- 18 March – Twelve paintings, collectively worth from $100 to $300 million, are stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts by 2 thieves posing as police officers. This is the largest art theft in US history, and the paintings (as of 2007[update]) have not been recovered.
- 6 April – Robert Mapplethorpe's "The Perfect Moment" show of nude and homosexual photographs opens at the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Centre, in spite of accusations of indecency by Citizens for Community Values.
- 15 May – Portrait of Doctor Gachet by Vincent van Gogh is sold for a record $82.5 million.
- John Keane commissioned by the British Imperial War Museum as an official war artist in the Gulf War.
See also: Category:1990 sculptures
- Peine Del Viento XVII – Eduardo Chillida
- Bell Circles II (sound installation, Portland, Oregon) – Robert Coburn
- Desert Quartet (sculpture, Worthing, England) – Elisabeth Frink
- Meaning and Location – Douglas Gordon
- A Thousand Years – Damien Hirst
- September Defeat – Tadeusz Kantor
- Friendship Circle (installation, Portland, Oregon) – Lee Kelly with Michael Stirling
- Packy mural (Portland, Oregon) – Eric Larsen
- Cancer, There Is Hope (bronze, Houston, Texas) – Victor Salmones
- Ghost – Rachel Whiteread
- Turner Prize – No prize was offered because of lack of sponsorship.
- January – Daniel du Janerand, French painter (b. 1919)
- 22 January – Roman Vishniac, Russian-American photographer (b. 1897)
- 15 February – Norman Parkinson, English fashion photographer (b. 1913)
- 16 February – Keith Haring, American artist and social activist (b. 1958)
- 15 March – Jim Ede, English art collector (b. 1895)
- 21 April – Romain de Tirtoff, Russian-born French artist and designer (b. 1892)
- May – Fuller Potter, American Abstract expressionist artist (b. 1910)
- 30 June – Jacques Lob, French comic book creator (b. 1932)
- 18 July – Yves Chaland, French cartoonist (b. 1957)
- 23 July – Pierre Gandon, French illustrator and engraver of postage stamps (b. 1899)
- 25 July – Leonard Bahr, American portrait and mural painter (b. 1905)
- 14 October – Clifton Pugh, Australian artist (b. 1924)
- 26 October – Joan Brown, American figurative painter (b. 1938)
- 7 December – Jean Paul Lemieux, Canadian-American painter (b. 1904)
- 8 December – Tadeusz Kantor, Polish painter, assemblage artist, set designer and theatre director (b. 1915)
- 23 December – Serge Danot, French animator (b. 1931)
- 28 December – Ed van der Elsken, Dutch photographer (b. 1925)