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About Abstract Painting

Abstract Painting is generally understood to include art that does not depict the objects of the real world; but uses color, form and texture in a nonobjective, non-representational way.

In the very early 20th century, abstract painting was a term more often used to describe art, such as Cubist and Futurist art, that depicts real forms in a simplified and stylized way ó only alluding to the original external object. Such paintings were often claimed to capture something of the depicted object's inner qualities rather than its external appearance.

Non-figurative, nonobjective, and non-representational are all forms of abstract painting that avoid ambiguity.

Nonobjective art is not an invention of the twentieth century. In the Jewish and Islamic religion the depiction of human beings was not allowed. Consequently the Islamic and Jewish cultures developed a high standard of decorative arts. Calligraphy is also a form of nonfigurative art. Abstract designs have also existed in western culture in many contexts. However, Abstract painting is distinct from pattern-making in design, since it draws on the distinction between decorative art and fine art, in which a painting is an object of thoughtful contemplation in its own right.

Most of the mature works of the American Abstract Expressionists are nonobjectively abstract, including: Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and Hans Hofmann, although they were at times inspired by myth, figuration, architecture, and nature. It is of course possible that an artist's work is seen as a separate entity rather than part of a movement. The late Yves Klein and the late John McLaughlin, as well as Callum Innes, Sean Scully, and Yuko Shiraishi are a few of the many abstract painters whose works are more recently produced.


More About Abstract Painting

Abstract Painting, Abstract Expressionism, has emphasized the pictorialization of emotions, not objects. Most of these abstract painters preferred to work on a large canvas and use strong color with contrast. The abstract painters of this movement originated in New Yorkís Greenwich Village in the mid-1940ís. Abstraction Expressionism was known as "action painting" and the "New York School" in many circles. These abstract artists pushed an independence from European trends; Abstract Expressionism was the first American school to influence artists overseas rather than vice versa. The movement was put into motion by Arshile Gorky whose abstract paintings were derived from the art of Surrealism, Picasso, and Miro. As in Surrealism, the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung provided a basis for the intellectual and internal subject matter. Their influence came from many of the artists who fled Europe for American during World War II, notably Piet Mondrian and Max Ernst. These artistsí departure from traditional painting inspired the revolutionary attitude of the Abstract Expressionist movement. Abstract Expressionism held prominence until the 1960ís, but is still a major force in artistic expression. The movement allowed New York to replace Paris as the center of the art world.

Although Abstract Expressionism encompassed an array of abstract styles there were several common themes in the movement. Abstract Expressionist paintings consisted of shapes, lines, and forms meant to create a separate reality from the real and natural visual world. Technically, most abstract expressionists paid attention to the surface quality and texture and used large canvases. Abstract Expressionists wished to emphasize the accident and chance in their work, but often highly planned their execution of these abstract paintings. So, mistakes that did occur during the painting process were used to the abstract artistís advantage. Arshile Gorky and Hans Hoffman were integral in calling artistsí attention to the physicality of paint and the potential for expression in abstraction. The two major types of Abstract Expressionism of the time were Action Painting and Color Field Painting. Action painters such as Jackson Pollock wished to portray paint texture and the movement of the artistís hand. Color Field painters such as Mark Rothko were concerned with color and shape in order to create peaceful and spiritual paintings with no representative subject matter.

Abstract Expressionists of the time saw painting as a pure expression of emotion and means of visual communication. Not all Abstract Expressionist work was abstract and expressive, although the movement was united in its spontaneous release of unconscious creativity. The act of painting was considered as important as the finished product itself.

The philosophy of Abstract Expressionism searched for answers to the questions of human existence. It addressed personal psychological battles, the external struggle between man and nature, and the hunt for spiritual comfort. All of these concepts were expressed through abstraction, finding meaning in relating the act of painting with a release of subconscious feelings and desires. The movement had a profound impact on later generations of American artists, particularly in their use of color and materials.


Notable Abstract Artists

Baziotes, William - 1912 - 1963
Bourgeois, Louise - 1911 -
Burri, Alberto - 1915 - 1995
Bush, Jack - 1909 - 1977
De Kooning, Willem - 1904 - 1997
Dubuffet, Jean - 1901 - 1985
Francis, Sam - 1923 - 1994
Frankenthaler, Helen - 1928 -
Gorky, Arshile - 1904 - 1948
Gottlieb, Adolph - 1903 - 1974
Guston, Philip - 1913 - 1980
Held, Al - 1928 -
Hofmann, Hans - 1880 - 1966
Kline, Franz - 1910 - 1962
Lewis, Norman - 1909 - 1979
Louis, Morris - 1912 - 1962
Motherwell, Robert - 1915 - 1991
Nevelson, Louise - 1899 - 1988
Newman, Barnett - 1905 - 1970
Noland, Kenneth - 1924 -
Olitski, Jules - 1922 -
Pepi, Vincent - 1926 -
Pollock, Jackson - 1912 - 1956
Ronald, William - 1926 -
Rothko, Mark - 1903 - 1970
Scott, William - 1913 - 1989
Scully, Sean - 1945 -
Siskind, Aaron - 1903 - 1991
Smith, David - 1906 - 1965
Still, Clyfford - 1904 - 1980
Tobey, Mark - 1890 - 1976
Weber, Max - 1881 - 1961









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