The year 1936 in art involved some significant events and new works.
- February 15 – Exhibition Abstract and Concrete, curated by Nicolete Gray, opens at 41 St Giles', Oxford, prior to touring England. It is the first showing of abstract art, and of the work of Mondrian, in the country.
- May 27 – RMS Queen Mary begins her maiden Atlantic crossing. Interior design, under the direction of E. C. Leach, is by Arthur Joseph Davis and J. C. Whipp of Mewès & Davis (UK) and Benjamin Wistar Morris (USA) with much craftsmanship undertaken by the Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts. Graphic artists commissioned to supply work include Edward Wadsworth and Anna and Doris Zinkeisen.
- June 11–July 4 – London International Surrealist Exhibition, opened by André Breton.
- November – Exhibition Cubism and Abstract Art, curated by Alfred H. Barr, Jr., opens at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
- Summer – Spanish Civil War breaks out. Photographers Endre Friedmann and Gerda Taro, who have jointly devised the name Robert Capa, journey from Paris to cover it.
- November 23 – Margaret Bourke-White's photographs of the construction of the Fort Peck Dam are featured in the first issue of Life magazine.
- December 1 – Members of the Artists Union occupy the New York City offices of the Federal Art Project; police arrest 219 of them, the largest-ever arrest in the city at this date.
- Walter Seymour Allward – Canadian National Vimy Memorial
- Balthus – André Derain (Museum of Modern Art, New York City)
- Robert Capa – The Falling Soldier (Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death, Cerro Muriano, September 5, 1936; photograph)
- Salvador Dalí
- Herndon Davis – The Face on the Barroom Floor (Teller House, Central City, Colorado)
- M. C. Escher – first Regular Division of the Plane drawings
- Walker Evans – Allie Mae Burroughs, Wife of a Cotton Sharecropper, Hale County, Alabama (photograph)
- Charles Hartwell – St Mary-le-bone War Memorial with sculpture of St George and the Dragon, London (bronze)
- Bernhard Hoetger – Lichtbringer (relief over entrance to Böttcherstraße, Bremen)
- Sylvia Shaw Judson – Bird Girl (bronze)
- Harry Kernoff – In Davy's Parlour Snug: Self portrait with Davy Byrne and Martin Murphy
- Dorothea Lange – Migrant Mother (photograph of Florence Owens Thompson)
- Carl Milles – Indian God of Peace (onyx)
- Joan Miró – series
- Ronald Moody – Johanaan (elm wood carving)
- Méret Oppenheim – Objet: Le Déjeuner en fourrure
- Joseph Pollia – General Philip Henry Sheridan (bronze statue, New York City)
- Diego Rivera – Indian Spinning
- Charles Sheeler – City Interior
- James Walker Tucker – Hikers
- Han van Meegeren – The Supper at Emmaus (forgery in the style of Vermeer)
- Edward Weston – Nude (Charis, Santa Monica) (photograph)
- Archibald Prize: W B McInnes – Dr. Julian Smith
- Dame Laura Knight becomes the first woman elected to the Royal Academy
- January 11 – Eva Hesse, German-born American sculptor (d. 1970)
- January 23 – Willoughby Sharp, American author, curator and critic (d. 2008)
- February 29 – Frank Bowling, Guyana-born British abstract artist
- March 23 – Jannis Kounellis, Greek-born artist (d. 2017)
- April 1 – Dhiraj Choudhury, Indian painter (d. 2018)
- May 10
- May 12 – Frank Stella, Italian American painter
- May 15 – Ralph Steadman, English caricaturist
- June 15 – Edward Avedisian, American abstract painter (d. 2007)
- June 27 – Tadanori Yokoo, Japanese graphic designer, illustrator, printmaker and painter
- July 13 – Joan Jonas, American visual artist, pioneer of video and performance art
- August 1 – Yves Saint Laurent, French fashion designer (d. 2008)
- August 12 – Hans Haacke, German conceptual artist working in the United States
- August 29 – Richard Haas, American muralist
- September 14
- November 5 – William Christenberry, American photographer and conceptual artist (d. 2016)
- November 29 – Gregory Gillespie, American magic realist painter (d. 2000)
- Full date unknown – Marko Stupar, Serbian artist living and working in France from 1964
- February 25 – Anna Boch, Belgian painter (b. 1848)
- March 8 – Victor Noble Rainbird, English painter, stained glass artist and illustrator (b. 1887)
- March 18 – W. Herbert Dunton, American Western painter, member of the Taos art colony (b. 1878)
- April 21 – Ottó Baditz, Hungarian painter (b. 1849)
- July 7 – Heinrich Hoerle, German constructivist artist (b. 1895)
- July 10 – Carl von Marr, American-born German painter (b. 1858)
- October 12 – Edwin Blashfield, American painter and muralist (b. 1848)
- November 12 – Patrick Henry Bruce, American Cubist painter (b. 1881)
- Alexander Fisher, English silversmith and enamel painter (b. 1864)
- Donald Maxwell, English illustrator and travel writer (b. 1877)
- Green, Christopher; Wright, Barnaby, eds. (2012). Mondrian / Nicholson in Parallel. London: Courtauld Gallery. ISBN 978-1-90737232-2.
- Wuellner, Margarita J.; Fratinardo, Marlise; Kainer, Amanda (2009). "Final Inventory Report: Survey of Original Fine and Decorative Arts on the Royal Mail Ship Queen Mary" (PDF). Santa Monica: PCR Services Corporation. Retrieved 2015-04-14.