Art in Motion: 16 Legendary Paintings With Bicycles

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The bicycle is an object of timeless fascination.

From the tranquil landscapes of the 19th century to the vibrant abstractions of the 21st, bicycles have inspired countless paintings that encapsulate the spirit of cycling and its cultural significance.

Discover how artists across different eras and styles have captured the essence of movement, freedom, and human connection through their brushstrokes.

Join us on a journey through history and creativity, as we unveil the enchanting world of legendary paintings with bicycles.

Legendary Paintings with Bicycles: Title Image

#1. At the Cycle-Race Track (1912) by Jean Metzinger

At the Cycle-Race Track (1912) by Jean Metzinger.

Cubist Jean Metzinger infused the bike painting At the Cycle-Race Track with a sprinkle of Futurism, adding a creative twist to a naturalistic racing scene.

This piece displays Cubist touches. Like collaged prints, textured surfaces, and transparent planes defining space.

It echoes Futurism in the energetic subjects, suggestion of speed, and merging shapes. Despite some rough edges and lingering Impressionist vibes, notably in the dotted color crowd backdrop, it marks Metzinger’s bold experimentation with fresh visual lingo.

#2. Cyclist (1913) by Natalia Goncharova

Cyclist (1913) by Natalia Goncharova

A bicycle painting where the sensation of speed jumps out at you. That’s what Goncharova nailed in her Cubo-Futurist masterpiece.

A full-speed cyclist with wheels spinning in a burst of movement. Futurist traits – displaced contours, repeated details, and raw fragments – supercharge the scene’s dynamism.

Goncharova pulls together a tribute to the 20th century. An era of booming tech and pace of life, right after the Russian Revolution of 1905 and on the brink of World War I in 1914.

Her subject is an everyday cyclist. But the message taps into a deeper social turbulence.

#3. A Velocipede Race at Jardin du Luxembourg in 1818 by Jules Duvaux

A Velocipede Race at Jardin du Luxembourg in 1818 by Jules Duvaux.

King Henry IV of France’s widow, Marie de’ Medici, created the Luxembourg Garden in 1612. After years of neglect and partial sale, the French Revolution sparked a revival.

French Directory leaders confiscated land from the Carthusian monks and expanded the garden. Arc de Triomphe architect, Jean Chalgrin, was in charge of sprucing up the place.

He redesigned the Medici Fountain and laid out a scenic view from the palace to the observatory. All while preserving the old nursery garden and vineyards, keeping the French style intact. Think of Jules Duvaux’s painting of bikes as a blast from the past.

It showcases velocipedes – the early, human-powered bikes. The painting is a journey back to a time when the seeds of our cycling passion were starting to sprout.

#4. Les Quatre Cyclistes (1969) by Fernand Léger

Les Quatre Cyclistes (1969) by Fernand Léger

Painted between 1943-48, “Les Quatre Cyclistes” features four women cyclists chilling out. Many of Léger’s most iconic artworks came to life in postwar America.

He worked in teaching positions on both the East and West Coasts. The result was an introduction to the lifestyle and fashion of the students of that time.

With cross-country bus trips, Léger also soaked up the epic landscapes and striking styles, shaping how he used vibrant colors and future motifs. Swimmers, divers, and… cyclists.

#5. In Vaudeville, the Bicycle Rider (1919) by Charles Demuth

In Vaudeville, the Bicycle Rider (1919) by Charles Demuth

Check out this watercolor piece by Charles Demuth.

He was an artist who was part of the Precisionism movement, a style of painting that led to American Modernism and anticipated Pop Art.

“In Vaudeville, the Bicycle Rider,” depicts a cyclist decked out in a shirt and tie. Demuth’s style in the ’20s brought a twist to everyday scenes, like this commute.

#6. Bicycle Rider (1982) by Alex Katz

Bicycle Rider (1982) by Alex Katz

Passionate printmaker Alex Katz was a leading figure in the New York art scene that emerged after Pop Art.

He’s known for his signature flat style. Some even credit him with keeping figurative painting alive. Bicycle Rider is a testament to this laid-back approach to portraiture.

With a 17-color palette, Alex captures a fleeting yet intimate moment on a summer day.

#7. Cyclists In Sophiatown (1942) by Gerard Sekoto

Cyclists In Sophiatown (1942) by Gerard Sekoto

Sophiatown – what once was home for social realism artist Gerard Sekoto.

Here’s a poignant painting of South Africa in the 1940s. Line of men on bicycles commuting to work at dawn, embodying the social struggles during the Apartheid times.

No access to cars or public transport. Cycling was the community’s lifeline. Sekoto’s spot-on use of color brings alive the crisp morning light, guiding your gaze through the scene.

#8. Bicycle, National Gallery (1992) by Robert Rauschenberg

Bicycle, National Gallery (1992) by Robert Rauschenberg

For Rauschenberg, poster design was a medium to team up with printmakers and connect with more people.

You won’t get what he’s trying to say at first glance. The featured works he did were like a puzzle of layered images and text full of hidden symbols and details.

#9. Blue Bicycle (1979) by Will Barnet

Blue Bicycle (1979) by Will Barnet

Pop-art cycling painting “Blue Bicycle” presents a barefoot woman on a (you guessed it) a blue bicycle, her basket full of cherries, and a white dove. All while looking at the viewer.

Barnet’s specialty? Sleek color block figures in serene landscapes. And monochromatic backgrounds for touches of mystery and suspense in the atmosphere.

#10. View of the Gate (2020) by Willard Dixon

View of the Gate (2020) by Willard Dixon

Although the bicycle isn’t the centerpiece, it’s a key part of the View of the Gate composition. From Crissy Field at sundown, American Realist painter Dixon portrays the Golden Gate Bridge.

The mood of a San Francisco evening resonates, drenched in warm gold and soothing blues.

#11. Le cirque: Acrobate à la bicyclette (1955) by Bernard Buffet

Le cirque: Acrobate à la bicyclette (1955) by Bernard Buffet

Expressionism at its finest. Buffet’s “Le cirque: Acrobate à la bicyclette” is drama in paint.

Take a closer look at this bicycle painting. I get the sensation of being trapped, disturbed, and miserable. Questioning the choices you’ve made – or worse, the ones you haven’t.

#12. Młody poeta średniego pokolenia (2008) by Edward Dwurnik

Młody poeta średniego pokolenia (2008) by Edward Dwurnik

The exact translation to English is Young Poet of the Middle Generation. You’re in front of a love story set framed by Polish contemporary artist Edward Dwurnik.

A camo-clad man leans in for a kiss and the lady in the soldier’s arms balances on a pile of books to meet him. The painting is symbol-rich. With elements like the Solidarity Flag, and the Wigry bike. It’s a nostalgic nod to love, homeland, and literature.

All hallmarks of Dwurnik’s original blend of figurative and primitive art.

#13. Slab City Rendezvous (1964) by Red Grooms

Slab City Rendezvous (1964) by Red Grooms

Red Grooms paints a picture of post-WWII New York-based avant-garde artists escaping to Maine’s summer.

Breaking away from Abstract Expressionism, this collective charted out new directions for contemporary art with a return to realism and figurativism. Slab City Rendezvous was another proof of Maine’s timeless influence on American art.

#14. Cycling (1896) by Federico Zandomeneghi

Cycling (1896) by Federico Zandomeneghi

Time changes, but that carefree spirit of riding around – with friends in this case – remains.

When it comes to bicycle paintings, Impressionism is not far behind. This one’s an 1800s-oldie. Federico Zandomeneghi’s Cycling is a love letter to the early days of biking.

#15. Tour de France Annee 2003 (2003) by Choquet Christian

Tour de France Annee 2003 (2003) by Choquet Christian

It’s 2003. Leading Le Tour are Laurent Jalabert, Lance Armstrong, and Jan Ulrich.

Contemporary French artist Christian Choquet made this genius bike painting. He was invested in the process of making busts, especially those involving facial expressions on the subject’s personality.

One moment immortalized in Classicism.

#16. The Simpson Chain (1896) by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

The Simpson Chain (1896) by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Back in the late 1800s, the London manufacturer W. S. Simpson invented a bicycle lever chain. Toulouse-Lautrec was in charge of the ad to promote the new product.

Pro cyclist Constant Huret stars in the design riding a bike with “The Simpson Chain” and pedaling to victory.

The final poster version you’re seeing right now has a much more dynamic composition and realistic depiction of bicycles – at least compared to previous attempts!

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Manuel is BikeTips' urban cycling aficionado. Based in Buenos Aires, he weaves his love for sustainable transportation into his cycling writing. When he's not writing for cycling publications or watching the Tour de France, you'll find him exploring the city on one of his vintage steel racing bikes.

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