The breakthrough of summary Expressionism

Abstract expressionism was an American, post–World war II arts movement.

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Key Takeaways

Key PointsAbstract expressionism has an image of gift rebellious, anarchic, extremely idiosyncratic, and nihilistic. In practice, the hatchet is used to any variety of artists functioning (mostly) in brand-new York who had quite various styles, and also even to job-related that is neither especially abstract nor expressionist.Although that is true the spontaneity or the impression of spontaneity characterized many of the summary expressionists works, many of these paintings involved careful planning, especially because their big size demanded it.Abstract expressionist paintings share specific characteristics, consisting of the use of big canvases and also an all-over approach, in which the totality canvas is treated v equal importance.Key TermsNew York School: The brand-new York school (synonymous v abstract expressionist painting) was casual group of American poets, painters, dancers, and musicians active in the 1950s and 1960s in brand-new York City.

Abstract Expressionism Overview

Abstract expressionism was an American post–World battle II arts movement. Return the term summary expressionism was an initial applied come American arts in 1946 by the art critic Robert Coates, it had actually been used previously in Germany’s Der Sturm magazine in 1919.

Abstract expressionism is acquired from the combination of the emotional intensity and self-denial of the German expressionists with the anti-figurative aesthetic the the European abstract schools, such together futurism, the Bauhaus, and also synthetic cubism. Additionally, that has photo of being rebellious, anarchic, very idiosyncratic, and nihilistic. In practice, the hatchet is applied to any variety of artists who functioned (mostly) in new York during the 1940s.

Abstract expressionism has many stylistic similarities to the Russian artists of the at an early stage 20th century, such together Wassily Kandinsky. Although it is true the spontaneity or the impression that spontaneity identified many the the summary expressionists’ works, in reality many of this paintings associated careful planning, especially due to the fact that their huge size inquiry it. In plenty of instances, abstract art implied the expression of ideas that worry the spiritual, the unconscious, and also the mind.

Characteristics of abstract Expressionist Painting

Abstract expressionism expanded and developed the definitions and also possibilities that artists had accessible in the development of brand-new works that art. Although summary expressionism spread easily throughout the unified States, the significant centers of this style were brand-new York and California. Summary expressionist paints share certain characteristics, consisting of the use of huge canvases and an all-over approach, in i m sorry the entirety canvas is treated v equal importance (as opposed to the facility being of much more interest 보다 the edges).


No. 5: Jackson Pollock is well-known for his methods in action painting, a format of abstract expressionism in which repaint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed, or smeared ~ above the canvas, quite than being closely applied, as checked out in this paint done in 1948.

Jackson Pollock’s energetic activity paintings, with their busy feel, are various both technically and aesthetically indigenous the violent and also grotesque Women series of Willem de Kooning. In comparison to the emotional energy and also gestural surface marks the Pollock and de Kooning, the color-field artist initially appeared to it is in cool and also austere, eschewing the individual note in donate of large, flat locations of color, which these artists taken into consideration to be the crucial nature of visual abstraction, along with the actual shape of the canvas. In later on years, color-field painting has proven to it is in both sensual and also deeply expressive, albeit in a different means from gestural summary expressionism.

New York

During the duration leading up to and during world War II, modernist artists, writers, and also poets, and important collectors and also dealers, fled Europe and the onslaught of the Nazis for for sure haven in the joined States. New York changed Paris as the brand-new center of the arts world.

The 1940s in new York City heralded the triumph of American abstract expressionism—a modernist movement that merged lessons learned from Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Surrealism, Joan Miró, Cubism, Fauvism, and early Modernism via the an excellent teachers that arrived in America, favor Hans Hofmann from Germany and John D. Graham indigenous Russia.

Graham’s influence on American art during the at an early stage 1940s was an especially visible in the job-related of Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, and Jackson Pollock. Gorky’s contribute to American and also world arts are an overwhelming to overestimate. His works—such together The Liver is the Cock’s Comb, The Betrothal II, and also One Year the Milkweed—immediately prefigured abstract expressionism.

Jackson Pollock

During the late 1940s, Jackson Pollock’s radical strategy to painting revolutionized the potential for all contemporary art that complied with him. To some extent, Pollock realized the the journey towards making a job-related of art was as crucial as the occupational of arts itself.

Pollock redefined what it was to create art. His move away native easel painting and conventionality to be a liberating signal to the artist of his era and also to all that come after. Artists realized the Jackson Pollock’s process—the put of unstretched raw canvas on the floor whereby it might be attacked from all four sides making use of artist materials and also industrial materials—essentially took making arts beyond any kind of prior boundary.

Jackson Pollock and action Painting

Action painting, produced by Jackson Pollock, is a style in which repaint is spontaneously splattered, smeared, or dripped top top the canvas.

Learning Objectives

Describe Jackson Pollock’s an approach of action painting

Key Takeaways

Key PointsAction paint was arisen as component of the abstract expressionism movement that took place in post–World war II America, specifically in new York, during the 1940s through until the at an early stage 1960s.Action painting areas the emphasis on the plot of paint rather than the final work as an imaginative object.Jackson Pollock tested traditional conventions of paint by using synthetic, resin-based paints, laying his canvas on the floor, and using hardened brushes, sticks, and even basting syringes to use paint.Key Termsabstract: arts that does not depict objects in the natural world, yet instead uses shade and form in a non-representational way.aesthetic: pertained to with beauty, creative impact, or appearance.

Action Painting

Action painting is a format of painting in which repaint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed, or smeared ~ above the canvas, rather than being carefully used with a brush. The result work often emphasizes the physical act of painting itself as critical aspect the the finished work.

Action painting is inextricably attached to summary expressionism, a college of painting famous in post-World war II America that was defined by the check out that arts is non-representational and chiefly improvisational. The significant artists linked with this activity are Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, and Mark Rothko, amongst others.

The term activity painting to be coined by the American art doubter Harold Rosenberg in 1952 in his essay The American action Painters, signaling a significant shift in the aesthetic view of the new York school painters and also critics. According to Rosenberg, the canvas was not an object, but rather “an arena in which to act. ”

Rosenberg’s critique change the focus from the object to the struggle of painting itself, through the finished occupational being only the physics manifestation, a kind of residue, that the actual occupational of art, which remained in the process of the painting’s creation.

Action painting refers come the spontaneous task that to be the activity of the painter—through arm and wrist movement, painterly gestures— and also led to paint that to be thrown, splashed, stained, splattered, poured, and dripped. The painter would sometimes let the paint drip ~ above the canvas if rhythmically to dance or also while stand on optimal of the unstretched canvas laying top top the floor—both techniques designed by among the most important abstract expressionists: Jackson Pollock.

Jackson Pollock

My painting does no come native the easel. I favor to tack the unstretched canvas to the hard wall or the floor. I require the resistance the a hard surface. On the floor i am much more at ease. I feel nearer, much more part that the painting, due to the fact that this way I can walk approximately it, work from the 4 sides, and literally it is in in the painting.

Born in Cody, Wyoming in 1912, Jackson Pollock moved to brand-new York City in 1930, wherein he learned under thomas Hart Benton at the arts Students organization of brand-new York. In 1948 that married the American artist Lee Krasner, and also they relocated to what is now well-known as the Pollock-Krasner House and also Studio in the Springs area of east Hampton, long Island, NY.

The Pollock Barn: Pollock’s studio in Springs, brand-new York.

Materials and Process

After his relocate to Springs, he began painting v his canvases laid out on the studio floor, turning to synthetic, resin-based paints referred to as alkyd enamels. These to be much an ext fluid than timeless paint and, at that time, to be a novel medium. Pollock explained his use of household paints, rather of fine art paints, together “a natural development out the a need.”

He offered hardened brushes, sticks, and even basting syringes as paint applicators. By defying the convention of painting on one upright surface, he added a new dimension by gift able come view and also apply repaint to his canvases from all directions—the term all-over painting has been offered to define some that his work, as well as the job-related of various other artists from that time.

In the procedure of making paintings in this way, he relocated away indigenous figurative representation, and also challenged the Western legacy of using easel and also brush. In addition, he additionally moved away from the usage of just the hand and also wrist, because he used his entirety body to paint.

Jackson Pollock in his studio: The artist threw, splashed, stained, splattered, poured, and dripped paint to create his works.

Titles v Numbers

Pollock wanted an finish to the search for figurative facets in his paintings, therefore he exit titles and started numbering his paintings instead. The numbering relates to the way composers title their works. Furthering the musical metaphor, Pollock’s activity paintings have actually been often described as improvisational works of art, similar to just how jazz musicians method the power of a piece.


At the peak of his fame, Pollock abruptly exit the drip style and also by 1951 his works had turned darker in color. This was complied with by a return to color, and he reintroduced figurative elements. Throughout this duration Pollock moved to a more commercial gallery and also there was great demand from collectors because that his brand-new paintings.

In solution to this pressure, along with an individual frustration, his long-term trouble with alcoholism worsened. That painted his two last works in 1955. On respectable 11, 1956, Pollock passed away in a single-car crash in his Oldsmobile convertible when driving under the affect of alcohol.

After Pollock’s death at age 44, his widow, Lee Krasner, managed his estate and ensured that Pollock’s reputation remained solid despite an altering art-world trends. They are both hidden in eco-friendly River Cemetery in Springs, lengthy Island, NY.

Color-Field Painting

Color-field painting can be well-known by its large fields the solid color spread across or stained right into the canvas to create locations of unbroken surface and a flat photo plane.

Learning Objectives

Differentiate color-field paint from other modern-day abstract art such as abstract expressionism

Key Takeaways

Key PointsColor-field paint is a style of abstract painting that emerged in brand-new York City throughout the 1950s and also 1960s. It is very closely linked to summary expressionism, post-painterly abstraction, and lyrical abstraction.Distinct indigenous the emotionally energy and gestural surface ar marks and also paint managing seen in the occupational of abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock, color-field painting came across as cool and also austere.The movement areas less focus on gesture, brushstrokes, and activity in favor of an overall consistency of kind and process, with color itself ending up being the subject matter.Mark Rothko, candid Stella, Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, Adolph Gottlieb, and Morris luigi are amongst the plenty of artists who used color-field methods in your work.Color-field painters changed the way paint can be efficiently applied, through their use of acrylic paint and also techniques such as staining and spraying.Key Termsabstract expressionism: an American genre of modern-day art that provided improvised methods to generate highly abstract forms.action painting: A genre of modern art in i m sorry the repaint is dribbled, splashed, or poured ~ above the canvas to acquire a spontaneous and totally abstract image.lyrical abstraction: A form of abstract paint related to summary expressionism; in use because the 1940s.

Color-Field Painting

Color-field paint is a layout of abstract painting that emerged in brand-new York City throughout the 1950s and also 1960s. Influenced by european modernism and closely related to abstract expressionism, plenty of of the notable early proponents were among the pioneering summary expressionists.

Color-field is identified primarily through its usage of large fields the flat, solid color spread across or stained right into the canvas to create locations of unbroken surface and also a flat photo plane. The movement areas less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes, and activity than summary expressionism, favoring rather an as whole consistency of form and process, with shade itself coming to be the subject matter.

Encompassing several years from the mid-20th century with the early 21st century, the background of color-field painting have the right to be separated into three separate but related generations of painters:

Abstract expressionism.Post-painterly abstraction.Lyrical abstraction.

Some the the artists made works in all three eras that relate to every one of the three styles.

Clement Greenberg

The emphasis of fist in the modern art world started to transition from Paris to new York after people War II and also the development of American abstract Expressionism. Throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s, Clement Greenberg was the first art doubter to suggest and also identify a dichotomy in between differing tendencies within the abstract expressionist canon—especially between activity painting and also what Greenberg termed post-painterly abstraction (today recognized as color-field).

Color-Field Formats

By the so late 1950s and also early 1960s, young artists started to break far stylistically from abstract expressionism, exploring with new ways of handling paint and color. Relocating away from the gesture and angst of activity painting towards flat, clear photo planes and a seemingly more quiet language, color-field artist used styles of stripes, targets, and straightforward geometric fads to concentrate on shade as the leading theme your paintings.

Color-field painting at first referred to a particular kind of abstract expressionism, exemplified especially in the work of mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell, Adolph Gottlieb and also several collection of paints by Joan Miró.

Color-field paint sought come rid art of superfluous rhetoric and gesture. Artists favor Morris Louis, Jules Olitski, Kenneth Noland, Friedel Dzubas, and also Frank Stella often used greatly decreased formats, streamlined or regulation systems, and basic references come nature to attract the focus of the paint to color, and the interaction of color, as the most crucial element.

Harran II: during the so late 1950s and early 1960s, frank Stella to be a far-reaching figure in the appearance of minimalism, post-painterly abstraction, and color-field painting. His shame canvases of the 1960s transformed abstract painting, such as this one indigenous 1967.

Beginning: This color-field painting is identified by basic geometric forms and also repetitive, regulated systems. It to be painted by Kenneth Noland in 1958.

Who’s afraid of Red, Yellow and also Blue?: The flat, solid photo plane the is common of color-field paintings is evident in this 1966 item by Barnet Newman, whereby the color red takes center stage.

An important distinction between color-field painting and also abstract expressionism is the way paint is handled. The most an easy defining technique of paint is the applications of paint, and also the color-field painters revolutionized the means paint might be efficiently applied.

Water-soluble, artist-quality acrylic paints very first became commercially accessible in the at an early stage 1960s, coinciding with the color-field movement. The most common applications were:

Stain painting, wherein artists mix and dilute their paint in buckets or coffee can be ~ to make it a an ext fluid liquid, then pour it onto raw, unprimed canvas and draw shapes and areas as they stain.Spray painting, a method using a spray gun come create large expanses and also fields of shade sprayed across the canvas.The use of stripes.

Color-field paint initially showed up to it is in cool and also austere due to these methods of handling paint that had tendency to eschew the individual mark of the artist. However, color-field painting has actually proven to it is in both sensual and deeply expressive, albeit in a different method from gestural abstract expressionism.


Big A: Jack shrub was a color-field artist who used geometric, straightforward forms to to mark the pure interaction of color, as can be seen in this 1968 work.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe brand-new York school was casual group of summary painters and also other artist in NYC though it has actually become connected most through the abstract expressionist movement. Although abstract expressionism spread conveniently throughout the joined States, the major centers that this format were brand-new York City and California.New York School artists drew inspiration from surrealism and modern-day art motions such as action painting, summary expressionism, jazz, improvisational theater, and also experimental music.The work-related of the new York college was recorded through annual exhibitions the painting and also sculpture indigenous 1951–1957, most notably in the 9th Street arts Exhibition.In enhancement to painting, the new York school was linked with many poets, dancers, composers, jazz musicians, and also writers.Key Termssurrealism: An creative movement and an aesthetic philosophy, pre-dating summary expressionism, that aims for the liberation that the mind by emphasizing the an essential and imaginative powers of the subconscious.GI Bill: The Servicemen’s Readjustment act of 1944, recognized informally together the GI Bill, was a regulation that provided a variety of benefits for returning civilization War II veterans (commonly referred to as GIs).abstract expressionism: one American genre of contemporary art that provided improvised approaches to generate highly abstract forms.

The new York School

The brand-new York institution was an informal group that American poets, painters, dancers, and also musicians the was energetic in the 1950s and also 1960s in new York City. That represented, and also is often synonymous with, the art activity of aAbstract expressionism, such as the job-related of Jackson Pollack and Willem de Kooning.

The artist of the brand-new York School attracted their incentive from surrealism and also other contemporary, avant-garde arts movements, in certain action painting, summary expressionism, jazz, improvisational theater, speculative music, and also the communication of girlfriend in the new York City art world’s vanguard circle.

No. 5: Jackson Pollack is well-known for his methods in activity painting, a format of abstract expressionism in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, quite than carefully applied, such as this one done in 1948.

Woman V: Willem de Koonig was an influential abstract expressionist painter.

Abstract Expressionism

A school of painting that flourished after civilization War II until the early 1960s, abstract expressionism is defined by the see that arts is non-representational and also chiefly improvisational. Summary expressionist paints share certain characteristics, including the use of big canvases, and an all-over strategy whereby the whole canvas is treated through equal prominence (as protest to the center being of an ext interest than the edges). The canvas together the arena ended up being a credo of activity painting, while the truth of the photo plane came to be a credo that the color-field painters.

The post-World battle II era benefited some of the artists that were recognized early on by arts critics. Part artists from brand-new York, such together Norman Bluhm and also Sam Francis, took advantage of the GI Bill and left for Europe, to return later with acclaim.

Many artists from all throughout the U.S. Come in new York City to seek recognition, and also by the finish of the decade the perform of artists linked with the brand-new York school had considerably increased. Painters, sculptors, and printmakers produced art that was termed action painting, fluxus, color-field painting, hard-edge painting, pop art, minimal art and lyrical abstraction, amongst other styles and also movements associated with abstract expressionism.

9th Street arts Exhibition

The ninth Street arts Exhibition was organized on may 21–June 10, 1951. It was a historical, ground-breaking exhibition the gathered a number of notable artists, and also it to be the stepping-out of the post-war new York avant-garde, jointly known together the new York School.

The show was hung by Leo Castelli, together he was preferred by many of the artists and also thought of together someone who would hang the exhibition there is no favoritism. The opened of the show was a good success. Follow to the critic, historian, and curator Bruce Altshuler, “It appeared as though a line had actually been crossed, a step into a bigger art world whose future was bright through possibility.”

Interdisciplinary impacts in the new York School

In enhancement to painting, the new York college was connected with numerous poets, dancers, composers, jazz musicians, and also writers. Poets drew on motivation from surrealism and the modern avant-garde arts movements, in specific the action painting of their friends in the new York City art civilization like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

In the 1960s, the work of the avant-garde minimalist composers La Monte Young, Philip Glass, Tony Conrad, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley came to be prominent in the brand-new York arts world. The new bebop and cool jazz musician in the 1940s and 1950s (such together Charlie Parker, miles Davis, john Coltrane, and also Gerry Mulligan) coincided with the new York School and also abstract expressionism.

There are additionally commonalities amongst the brand-new York School and members of the beat-generation poets who were active in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s in new York City, consisting of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, william S. Burroughs, Diane Wakoski, and also several others.

Abstract Expressionist Sculpture

During the postwar period, countless sculptors made job-related in the prevalent styles of the time: summary expressionism, minimalism and pop art.

Learning Objectives

Evaluate just how sculpture indigenous 1945–1970 was influenced by summary expressionism, minimalism, and also pop art

Key Takeaways

Key PointsAbstract expressionist sculpture was greatly influenced by surrealism and its emphasis on voluntary or subconscious creation.Minimalist sculptures often set out to disclose the significance or identification of a topic through the elimination of every non-essential develops or concepts. This works are often identified by geometric, cubic forms, equality the parts, repetition, neutral surfaces, and the use of industrial materials.The sculptors Claes Oldenburg and George Segal were essential proponents that pop arts in their use of found-objects and also how castle reproduced day-to-day commercial objects together fine art.Key Termspop art: one art activity that emerged in the 1950s, the presented a challenge to traditions of fine art by consisting of imagery from popular society such together advertising, news, etc.found object: A organic object, or one made for some other purpose, considered as component of a occupational of art.

Abstract Expressionism and also Sculpture

While abstract Expressionism is most closely associated with painting, a number of sculptors were integral come the motion as well. David Smith, Dorothy Dehner, Herbert Ferber, Isamu Noguchi, Ibram Lassaw, Theodore Roszak, Phillip Pavia, mary Callery, Richard Stankiewicz, Louise Bourgeois, and Louise Nevelson in specific were considered to be essential members that the movement.

Similar to abstract expressionist painting, sculptural work from the activity was greatly influenced by surrealism and its emphasis on voluntary or subconscious creation. Summary expressionist sculpture, like paint from the movement, was more interested in procedure than product, which deserve to make it difficult to visually identify works through aesthetics alone, so it is essential to take right into account what the artist needs to say around their process.

The sculptures that David Smith, for example, sought come express two-dimensional topics that had never prior to been displayed in 3 dimensions. His job-related blurred the distinctions in between sculpture and painting, usually making use of delicate tracery rather than heavy form, through a two-dimensional appearance the contradicted the traditional idea of sculpture in the round.

Ancient Household: David blacksmith was critical abstract expressionist sculptor.


Minimalism throughout the 1960s and 1970s to be a reaction versus the painterly subjectivity of abstract expressionism that dominated the ahead decades. Minimalist artist explicitly proclaimed that their art was not around self-expression. Instead, Minimalist functions often set out to expose the significance or identity of a topic through the removed of all non-essential develops or concepts.

These works room often defined by geometric, cubic forms, equality of parts, repetition, neutral surfaces, and also the usage of industrial materials. Some influential artists who functioned with sculpture and were linked with minimalism (though not all agreed through the association) incorporate Donald Judd, man McCracken, Anthony Caro, Tony Smith, sol LeWitt, Carl Andre, and Dan Flavin.

Dan Flavin

Dan Flavin to be an American minimalist famed for developing sculptural objects and installations indigenous commercially easily accessible fluorescent irradiate fixtures. The absence of the mark of the artist’s hand in these situations speak to the notion of exposing the true form of the sculptural object, a far-reaching tenet that the minimalist movement.

Donald Judd

Donald Judd, that disavowed the hatchet minimalism, and preferred to describe his sculptures as particular objects, supplied simple, repeated develops to explore space. His functions were often fabricated (rather 보다 sculpted) the end of metals, commercial plywood and concrete, and therefore defied easy category as sculpture.

Judd’s “Untitled,” 1977, uses the simplicity and geometric form typical the minimalist works. Fabricated native concrete, the piece comes throughout as potentially industrially developed as it lacks the mark of the artist’s hand that is so regularly seen in functions of art, favoring rather a cool austerity the highlights the features of the type and the material used come fabricate it.

Untitled: Donald Judd, who disavowed the ax minimalism, wanted to refer to his sculptures as particular objects. Judd provides simple, repeated creates to check out space.

Pop Art

There were countless artists functioning in sculpture who were associated with the pop arts movement. Two crucial examples space Claes Oldenburg and also George Segal.

Claes Oldenburg

Oldenburg began his imaginative practice as component of a group of artists reacting to summary Expressionism’s sublime gestures v figural drawings and also papier mache sculptures. His artistic trajectory took him from making found-object paints littered through urban debris come plaster sculptures of everyday commercial and also manufactured objects. He subsequently developed sculptures of comparable subjects top top larger and also larger scales, first sewing soft sculptures the end of canvas, then turning to large outdoor monuments in public spaces.

George Segal

George Segal, another artist connected with the pop-art movement, was finest known because that his life-size numbers made native plaster and also bandage casts. These figures, regularly left v minimal color and detail and also given a ghostly, hole appearance, lived in tableaux built of found objects such together a street corner, a bus, or a diner.

Common practices seen in pop-art sculptural work include the display of uncovered art objects, the representation of consumer goods, the put of typical non-art objects in ~ a gallery setting, and also the abstraction of familiar objects. We have the right to see this abstraction in such functions as Plug by Oldenburg.

This reproduction the a familiar or mundane object is displayed at together an boosted size the the subject matter becomes abstracted, that original function simultaneously altered and also highlighted.

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Plug: Claes Oldenburg produced oversized reproductions of acquainted objects in boosted sizes to summary the subject matter, such together this one excellent in 1970.