Pablo Picasso's controversial "Guernica" is a political statement. This paintings illustrates an immediate reaction to the Nazi's casual bombing during the Spanish Civil War. This painting is an antiwar symbol, and a reminder of the tragedies. Guernica interpretations vary widely. There are also critics warn against trusting the political message.
Amedeo Modigliani - Tête, 1911-1912. Tête is one of 27 known sculptures by Modigliani and was made between 1910 and 1912. The limestone head stands over 2 feet tall and depicts the head of a woman wearing a tribal mask with her hair swept back. Modigliani was clearly inspired by the geometric designs of African sculpture and the simplification of form evident in the work of his mentor Constantin Brâncuși. It is among the most expensive works of art ever sold.
Viewing Mark Rothko's 'No. 14, 1960' at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) I just saw this the other day. I never used to appreciate Rothko, but seeing this painting up close changed my mind. Seemingly simple enough, but each stroke is actually very purposeful.