Abstract Expressionism History

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

This time it was America’s turn. This was the very first strictly American art movement that achieved world wide recognition. It followed World War II and put New York on the map as the capital of the art work, leaving Paris in a distant second place. This was a time when the emotional impact and self-expression of the German Expressionists met with the figurative and anesthetic look of European abstract movement. Thus Cubism, Bauhaus, and Futurism were all inspirations for Abstract Expressionism.
Abstract Expressionism was considered by many to be very rebellious, anarchic, and idiosyncratic. However, the term itself was applied to any New York artist that produced unique art in his own style and some artists, such as Mark Rothko, who would not class their own work as Abstract Expressionism, were still included in this category. Surrealists who had fled war-torn Europe to settle in the United States helped to greatly influence the art movement there and with the freedom to express themselves they inspired a new generation of artists to move on into Abstract Expressionism.
In other words, this art movement was about a specific attitude, not a specific style. The artists did not always paint in the abstract nor were they always expressive in their art. Rather they promoted themes that were high with morals and tended toward the tragic. Of course, these are the types of themes you would expect in a post-war art movement. There was a strong belief in freedom of expression and this spurred artists on to create art work that took the world by storm.
The most famous artists at the time included Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Clyfford Still, Arshile Gorky, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Philip Guston, Lee Krasner, and Ad Reinhardt. Some of these men immigrated to the United States and many of them were born there. Together they formed The New York School. They were interested in the paint itself to a great degree. It qualities of the paint and the actual act of painting itself were of great importance in their expression.
Abstract art itself was pioneered by Vasily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, and Piet Mondrian in the 1910s, who painted separately, but shared the belief that art should not be merely a reflection of reality, but that it should be a spiritual experience. These painters used philosophical writings and metaphysics to influence them and help them in their quest for a higher truth through art. In this light, another important influence on the work of many of the Abstract Expressionists of this time was the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. The work of these men brought about a large amount of intellectual context for them to create impulsive and raw works of art.
What did the art really look like? The styles varied so much that on the one hand you have Pollock’s work which were a series of paintings create by splattering paint on a canvas that was laid on the floor. Even though this sounds so rudimentary, it captures the ideal conception of Abstract Expressionism, the non-objective and non-representational art that is not centered on a specific object. Paintings such as “Autumn Rhythm” portray a ethereal feeling of immense proportions.
Then you can turn to the work of Hans Hoffman, who enjoyed using lines, shapes, and colors to portray three-dimensional objects in two-dimensional space. And of course, one only has to look at de Kooning’s paintings of women, the abstract distortion of reality in this case, to see the Freudian undertones in the work. In these works, he often differed from his abstract colleagues in painting figuratively instead of using blatant abstract technique and imagery.
Abstract Expressionism can be divided into two groups. One is the Action Painting, the purpose of which was to capture the actual physical action involved in painting. The other group was Color Field Painting, which was used to explore the effects of pure color on the canvas. Regardless of how abstract a painting might appear, it was always approached with discipline as the artist worked very specifically with the materials at his disposal. It was never simply a smattering of color or a bunch of shapes put down to fill the canvas. There was always direction to the work and a feeling that came from the artist to give the painting life and a voice.
Abstract Expressionism was a strong movement into the 1960s, when it was overshadowed by the pop art movement. Until then the artists were able to thrive in the freedom of post-war United States, which was rapidly becoming the new empire on earth. It was a completely free time in which to explore art in new ways and made North America an important part of the art world for good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *