The end of the surrealism movement came about with the beginning of World War II in Europe when artists were requisitioned to contribute to the war efforts by creating works of art that would motivate support for the war effort by creating "righteous anger".
After World War I in 1918, many artists were disillusioned and angry. The Dada movement provided nihilistic, antirationalistic critiques of society with some artists mocking all formal artistic conventions. The pre-occupation with the bizarre and irrational included artists like Marcel Duchamp who submitted an old urinal to an art museum as a piece of work.
Surrealism reunited conscious and unconscious realms of experience so completely that the world of dream and fantasy would be joined to the everyday rational world in “an absolute reality, a surreality”. With bizarre paintings with dream-like qualities, Surrealism was the return to a calmer art movement seeking to dig deep into human consciousness providing a broad range of work from artists.
Abstract Expressionism in the late 1940s is considered the birth of “modern art”. One of their main innovations was to dramatically increase the scale of their paintings in a move away from easel painting.
Emerging in the mid to late 1950s from artists who felt that Abstract Expressionist art was alienating audiences. Roy Lichtenstein, expressed emotion and ideas in a way that could be easily understood and related to, taking imagery used in advertising, product labelling and logos. Other well-known artists included Andy Warhol and his famous Campbell's Soup Cans.
Super-realism further interpreted the Pop Art movement in the 1960s in which an artist studies a photograph and then attempts to reproduce the image as realistically as possible in another medium. This return to a more classical style did not last long, being followed by the more political art of the 1970s and 1980's.