MoMA | Abstract Expressionism
The most prominent American Abstract Expressionist painters were Jackson Pollock, Willem Most of these artists worked, lived, or exhibited in New York City. The Abstract Expressionist were committed to expressions of profound emotion and universal themes that fitted the post-war mood of anxiety and trauma. Abstract expressionism is a post–World War II art movement in American painting , developed in Although the term abstract expressionism was first applied to American art in by the art critic Robert Coates, In the United States, Alfred Barr was the first to use this term in in relation to works by Wassily Kandinsky.
Harold Rosenberg spoke of the transformation of painting into an existential drama in Pollock's work, in which "what was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event". The gesture on the canvas was a gesture of liberation from value—political, aesthetic, moral. Meyer Schapiro and Leo Steinberg along with Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg were important art historians of the post-war era who voiced support for abstract expressionism.
During the early-to-mid-sixties younger art critics Michael FriedRosalind Kraussand Robert Hughes added considerable insights into the critical dialectic that continues to grow around abstract expressionism.
Many of those who didn't flee perished. The post-war period left the capitals of Europe in upheaval, with an urgency to economically and physically rebuild and to politically regroup. In Paris, formerly the center of European culture and capital of the art world, the climate for art was a disaster, and New York replaced Paris as the new center of the art world. In Europe after the war there was the continuation of SurrealismCubismDadaand the works of Matisse.
Also in Europe, Art brut and Lyrical Abstraction or Tachisme the European equivalent to abstract expressionism took hold of the newest generation. Gorky was an Armenian -born American painter who had a seminal influence on abstract expressionism.
He had an extraordinary gift for hitting the nail on the head; remarkable. So I immediately attached myself to him and we became very good friends. Graham's influence on American art during the early s was particularly visible in the work of Arshile GorkyWillem de KooningJackson Pollockand Richard Pousette-Dart among others. Gorky's contributions to American and world art are difficult to overestimate.
His work as lyrical abstraction      was a "new language. The early work of Hyman Bloom was also influential. Hans Hofmann in particular as teacher, mentor, and artist was both important and influential to the development and success of abstract expressionism in the United States. Pollock and Abstract influences[ edit ] During the late s, Jackson Pollock's radical approach to painting revolutionized the potential for all Contemporary art that followed him.
To some extent, Pollock realized that the journey toward making a work of art was as important as the work of art itself.
Like Pablo Picasso 's innovative reinventions of painting and sculpture near the turn of the century via Cubism and constructed sculpture, with influences as disparate as Navaho sand paintingssurrealism, Jungian analysis, and Mexican mural art,  Pollock redefined what it was to produce art.
His move away from easel painting and conventionality was a liberating signal to the artists of his era and to all that came after. Artists realized that Jackson Pollock's process—the placing of unstretched raw canvas on the floor where it could be attacked from all four sides using artist materials and industrial materials; linear skeins of paint dripped and thrown; drawing, staining, brushing; imagery and non-imagery—essentially took art-making beyond any prior boundary.
Abstract expressionism in general expanded and developed the definitions and possibilities that artists had available for the creation of new works of art. The other abstract expressionists followed Pollock's breakthrough with new breakthroughs of their own. The new art movements of the s essentially followed the lead of abstract expressionism and in particular the innovations of Pollock, De Kooning, Rothko, Hofmann, Reinhardt, and Newman.
The radical Anti-Formalist movements of the s and s including FluxusNeo-DadaConceptual artand the feminist art movement can be traced to the innovations of abstract expressionism.Photoshop Tutorial: How to Transform a Photo into an Abstract Expressionist, Pop Art Portrait
Rereadings into abstract art, done by art historians such as Linda Nochlin Griselda Pollock  and Catherine de Zegher  critically shows, however, that pioneer women artists who have produced major innovations in modern art had been ignored by the official accounts of its history, but finally began to achieve long overdue recognition in the wake of the abstract expressionist movement of the s and s.
Abstract expressionism emerged as a major art movement in New York City during the s and thereafter several leading art galleries began to include the abstract expressionists in exhibitions and as regulars in their rosters. Some of those prominent 'uptown' galleries included: Action painting[ edit ] Action painting was a style widespread from the s until the early s, and is closely associated with abstract expressionism some critics have used the terms action painting and abstract expressionism interchangeably.
A comparison is often drawn between the American action painting and the French tachisme.
The term was coined by the American critic Harold Rosenberg in  and signaled a major shift in the aesthetic perspective of New York School painters and critics. According to Rosenberg the canvas was "an arena in which to act".
While abstract expressionists such as Jackson PollockFranz Kline and Willem de Kooning had long been outspoken in their view of a painting as an arena within which to come to terms with the act of creation, earlier critics sympathetic to their cause, like Clement Greenbergfocused on their works' "objectness.
Boon by James Brooks, Tate Gallery Rosenberg's critique shifted the emphasis from the object to the struggle itself, with the finished painting being only the physical manifestation, a kind of residue, of the actual work of art, which was in the act or process of the painting's creation. This spontaneous activity was the "action" of the painter, through arm and wrist movement, painterly gestures, brushstrokes, thrown paint, splashed, stained, scumbled and dripped.
The painter would sometimes let the paint drip onto the canvas, while rhythmically dancing, or even standing in the canvas, sometimes letting the paint fall according to the subconscious mind, thus letting the unconscious part of the psyche assert and express itself.
All this, however, is difficult to explain or interpret because it is a supposed unconscious manifestation of the act of pure creation. Pollock's energetic action paintingswith their "busy" feel, are different both technically and aesthetically, to the violent and grotesque Women series of Willem de Kooning. Woman V is one of a series of six paintings made by de Kooning between and that depict a three-quarter-length female figure. He began the first of these paintings, Woman I, collection: The Museum of Modern ArtNew York City, in Junerepeatedly changing and painting out the image until January or Februarywhen the painting was abandoned unfinished.
The art historian Meyer Schapiro saw the painting in de Kooning's studio soon afterwards and encouraged the artist to persist.
Abstract expressionism - Wikipedia
De Kooning's response was to begin three other paintings on the same theme; Woman II, collection: During the summer ofspent at East Hamptonde Kooning further explored the theme through drawings and pastels.
He may have finished work on Woman I by the end of June, or possibly as late as Novemberand probably the other three women pictures were concluded at much the same time. Another important artist is Franz Kline. James Brooks' paintings were particularly poetic and highly prescient in relationship to Lyrical Abstraction that became prominent in the late s and the s.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles Clyfford StillBarnett NewmanAdolph Gottlieb and the serenely shimmering blocks of color in Mark Rothko 's work which is not what would usually be called expressionist and which Rothko denied was abstractare classified as abstract expressionists, albeit from what Clement Greenberg termed the Color field direction of abstract expressionism.
Both Hans Hofmann and Robert Motherwell can be comfortably described as practitioners of action painting and Color field painting. In the s Richard Pousette-Dart 's tightly constructed imagery often depended upon themes of mythology and mysticism; as did the paintings of Adolph Gottlieband Jackson Pollock in that decade as well.
Art critic Clement Greenberg perceived Color Field painting as related to but different from Action painting. The Color Field painters sought to rid their art of superfluous rhetoric.
In general these artists eliminated recognizable imagery, in the case of Rothko and Gottlieb sometimes using symbol and sign as replacement of imagery. In pursuing this direction of modern artartists wanted to present each painting as one unified, cohesive, monolithic image. In distinction to the emotional energy and gestural surface marks of abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooningthe Color Field painters initially appeared to be cool and austere, effacing the individual mark in favor of large, flat areas of color, which these artists considered to be the essential nature of visual abstraction, along with the actual shape of the canvas, which later in the s Frank Stella in particular achieved in unusual ways with combinations of curved and straight edges.
However Color Field painting has proven to be both sensual and deeply expressive albeit in a different way from gestural abstract expressionism. Abstract expressionist paintings share certain characteristics, including the use of large canvases, an "all-over" approach, in which the whole canvas is treated with equal importance as opposed to the center being of more interest than the edges.
The canvas as the arena became a credo of Action paintingwhile the integrity of the picture plane became a credo of the Color field painters.
- Abstract expressionism
Baziotes' abstract expressionist works show the influence of Surrealism Although Pollock is closely associated with Action Painting because of his style, technique, and his painterly touch and his physical application of paint, art critics have likened Pollock to both Action painting and color field painting.
Another critical view advanced by Clement Greenberg connects Pollock's allover canvasses to the large-scale Water Lilies of Claude Monet done during the s. Greenberg, art critic Michael Friedand others have observed that the overall feeling in Pollock's most famous works — his drip paintings — read as vast fields of built-up linear elements often reading as vast complexes of similar valued paint skeins that read as all over fields of color and drawing, and are related to the mural-sized late Monets that are constructed of many passages of close valued brushed and scumbled marks that also read as close valued fields of color and drawing that Monet used in building his picture surfaces.
Pollock's use of all-over composition lend a philosophical and a physical connection to the way the color field painters like Newman, Rothko and Still construct their unbroken and in Still's case broken surfaces.
In several paintings that Pollock painted after his classic drip painting period of —, he used the technique of staining fluid oil paint and house paint into raw canvas.
During he produced a series of semi-figurative black stain paintings, and in he produced stain paintings using color.
In his November exhibition at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York City Pollock showed Number 12,a large, masterful stain painting that resembles a brightly colored stained landscape with an overlay of broadly dripped dark paint ; the painting was acquired from the exhibition by Nelson Rockefeller for his personal collection.
In the painting was severely damaged by fire in the Governors Mansion in Albany that also severely damaged an Arshile Gorky painting and several other works in the Rockefeller collection. However, by it had been restored and was installed in Albany Mall. They emphasize free, spontaneous, and personal emotional expression, and they exercise considerable freedom of technique and execution to attain this goal, with a particular emphasis laid on the exploitation of the variable physical character of paint to evoke expressive qualities e.
They show similar emphasis on the unstudied and intuitive application of that paint in a form of psychic improvisation akin to the automatism of the Surrealists, with a similar intent of expressing the force of the creative unconscious in art.
They display the abandonment of conventionally structured composition built up out of discrete and segregable elements and their replacement with a single unified, undifferentiated field, network, or other image that exists in unstructured space. And finally, the paintings fill large canvases to give these aforementioned visual effects both monumentality and engrossing power.
Eyeconart: Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art
The early Abstract Expressionists had two notable forerunners: Arshile Gorkywho painted suggestive biomorphic shapes using a free, delicately linear, and liquid paint application; and Hans Hofmannwho used dynamic and strongly textured brushwork in abstract but conventionally composed works. Such artists greatly stimulated the native New York City painters and gave them a more intimate view of the vanguard of European painting.
One, Action paintingis characterized by a loose, rapid, dynamic, or forceful handling of paint in sweeping or slashing brushstrokes and in techniques partially dictated by chance, such as dripping or spilling the paint directly onto the canvas.
Pollock first practiced Action painting by dripping commercial paints on raw canvas to build up complex and tangled skeins of paint into exciting and suggestive linear patterns. De Kooning used extremely vigorous and expressive brushstrokes to build up richly coloured and textured images.
Kline used powerful, sweeping black strokes on a white canvas to create starkly monumental forms. The middle ground within Abstract Expressionism is represented by several varied styles, ranging from the more lyrical, delicate imagery and fluid shapes in paintings by Guston and Frankenthaler to the more clearly structured, forceful, almost calligraphic pictures of Motherwell and Gottlieb.