Lately I've been loving the work of modernist Charley Harper (1922-2007). Harper's stylized wildlife illustrations graced the pages of children's books and magazines. He created works for nature-based organizations such as the Cincinnati Zoo and the National Parks Service. Harper worked in a style he referred to as "minimal realism."
If you'd like to see more of Charley Harper's work, check out this site:
Another modernist I admire is Stig Lindberg (1916-1982), one of Sweden's most important designers, who was a painter and illustrator as well.
Here's a lovely site that features the work Lindburg did in a variety of media:
I've seen some of Lindburg's ceramic work on e-bay, but it's a bit too
dear for my budget. I love looking, though!