The advancement of summary Expressionism

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

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Key Takeaways

Key PointsAbstract expressionism has photo of being rebellious, anarchic, extremely idiosyncratic, and nihilistic. In practice, the term is used to any variety of artists functioning (mostly) in new York who had actually quite different styles, and even to work that is neither specifically abstract no one expressionist.Although that is true that spontaneity or the impression that spontaneity characterized many that the abstract expressionists works, many of this paintings affiliated careful planning, especially since their large size demanded it.Abstract expressionist paintings share particular characteristics, consisting of the usage of big canvases and also an all-over approach, in which the entirety canvas is treated v equal importance.Key TermsNew York School: The new York college (synonymous v abstract expressionist painting) was an informal group the American poets, painters, dancers, and musicians energetic in the 1950s and also 1960s in brand-new York City.

Abstract Expressionism Overview

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

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

Abstract expressionism has plenty of stylistic similarity to the Russian artist of the at an early stage 20th century, such as Wassily Kandinsky. Although the is true that spontaneity or the impression the spontaneity identified many that the summary expressionists’ works, in reality most of this paintings associated careful planning, especially since their large size demanded it. In countless instances, abstract art include the expression of ideas that problem the spiritual, the unconscious, and the mind.

Characteristics of summary Expressionist Painting

Abstract expressionism expanded and developed the definitions and possibilities that artists had easily accessible in the creation of new works that art. Although abstract expressionism spread conveniently throughout the united States, the significant centers that this format were brand-new York and California. Abstract expressionist paints share specific characteristics, consisting of the usage of huge canvases and also an all-over approach, in which the entirety canvas is treated v equal importance (as protest to the facility being of much more interest than the edges).


No. 5: Jackson Pollock is well-known for his approaches in action painting, a style of abstract expressionism in which repaint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed, or smeared top top the canvas, quite than being closely applied, as watched in this painting done in 1948.

Jackson Pollock’s energetic activity paintings, v their busy feel, are different both technically and also aesthetically native the violent and also grotesque Women collection of Willem de Kooning. In comparison to the emotional energy and gestural surface marks the Pollock and de Kooning, the color-field painters initially appeared to be cool and austere, eschewing the individual mark in favor of large, flat locations of color, which these artists thought about to be the crucial nature of visual abstraction, together with the actual form 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 increase to and also during people War II, modernist artists, writers, and poets, and important collectors and also dealers, fled Europe and also the onslaught the the Nazis for for sure haven in the unified States. Brand-new York changed Paris together the new center of the art world.

The 1940s in new York City heralded the triumph the American summary expressionism—a modernist activity that an unified lessons learned native Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Surrealism, Joan Miró, Cubism, Fauvism, and also early Modernism via the good teachers that arrived in America, choose Hans Hofmann native Germany and also John D. Graham native Russia.

Graham’s affect on American art throughout the early on 1940s was an especially visible in the occupational of Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, and Jackson Pollock. Gorky’s contributions to American and also world arts are daunting 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 so late 1940s, Jackson Pollock’s radical approach to paint revolutionized the potential for all modern art that complied with him. To part extent, Pollock realized that the journey toward making a occupational of arts was as important as the work of art itself.

Pollock redefined what it to be to create art. His relocate away native easel painting and also conventionality was a liberating signal to the artists of his era and also to every that come after. Artist realized the Jackson Pollock’s process—the placing of unstretched life canvas ~ above the floor whereby it can be assaulted from all four sides making use of artist materials and also industrial materials—essentially take it making art beyond any type of prior boundary.

Jackson Pollock and action Painting

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

Learning Objectives

Describe Jackson Pollock’s method of action painting

Key Takeaways

Key PointsAction paint was developed as component of the abstract expressionism movement that took ar in post–World war II America, particularly in new York, during the 1940s through until the early on 1960s.Action painting areas the emphasis on the action of paint rather 보다 the last work together an imaginative object.Jackson Pollock tested traditional conventions of paint by making use of synthetic, resin-based paints, laying his canvas top top the floor, and also using hardened brushes, sticks, and even basting syringes to apply paint.Key Termsabstract: art that does not depict objects in the organic world, yet instead uses shade and type in a non-representational way.aesthetic: came to with beauty, artistic impact, or appearance.

Action Painting

Action paint is a layout of painting in which repaint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed, or smeared top top the canvas, fairly than being carefully used with a brush. The resulting work regularly emphasizes the physical act of painting itself as crucial aspect of the perfect work.

Action painting is inextricably attached to summary expressionism, a institution of painting renowned in post-World war II America that was defined by the watch that art is non-representational and also chiefly improvisational. The major artists connected with this activity are Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, and Mark Rothko, among others.

The term activity painting was coined by the American art critic Harold Rosenberg in 1952 in his essay The American activity Painters, signaling a major shift in the aesthetic perspective of the new York college painters and critics. According to Rosenberg, the canvas was no an object, however rather “an arena in which come act. ”

Rosenberg’s critique change the emphasis from the object to the battle of painting itself, with the finished occupational being only the physical manifestation, a type of residue, of the actual work-related of art, which remained in the procedure of the painting’s creation.

Action painting refers to the spontaneous activity that was the action of the painter—through arm and wrist movement, painterly gestures— and also led to repaint that to be thrown, splashed, stained, splattered, poured, and dripped. The painter would occasionally let the repaint drip onto the canvas when rhythmically dance or even while stand on peak of the unstretched canvas laying top top the floor—both techniques developed by among the most important abstract expressionists: Jackson Pollock.

Jackson Pollock

My painting does not come indigenous the easel. I favor to tack the unstretched canvas to the hard wall surface or the floor. I require the resistance the a tough surface. On the floor ns am much more at ease. Ns feel nearer, an ext part that the painting, because this method I have the right to walk around it, work-related from the 4 sides, and also literally it is in in the painting.

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

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

Materials and also Process

After his move to Springs, he started painting with his canvases laid out on the studio floor, transforming to synthetic, resin-based paints called alkyd enamels. These to be much much more fluid than traditional paint and, at that time, to be a novel medium. Pollock defined his use of family members paints, instead of fine art paints, together “a natural development out that a need.”

He offered hardened brushes, sticks, and also even basting syringes as repaint applicators. By defying the convention of painting on an upright surface, he included a brand-new dimension by being able come view and apply paint to his canvases from every directions—the hatchet all-over painting has actually been offered to define some the his work, and the work of various other artists from that time.

In the procedure of making paints in this way, he relocated away from figurative representation, and also challenged the Western legacy of using easel and also brush. In addition, he additionally moved away from the use of only the hand and also wrist, because he offered his entirety body to paint.

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

Titles with Numbers

Pollock want an end to the search for figurative elements in his paintings, for this reason he abandoned titles and started number is numbered his paints instead. The number is numbered relates come the way composers title your works. Furthering the musical metaphor, Pollock’s activity paintings have been often explained as improvisational works of art, similar to exactly how jazz musicians approach the power of a piece.


At the peak of his fame, Pollock abruptly exit the drip style and by 1951 his works had actually turned darker in color. This was complied with by a go back to color, and also he reintroduced figurative elements. Throughout this period Pollock relocated to a an ext commercial gallery and there was good demand indigenous collectors because that his brand-new paintings.

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

After Pollock’s death at period 44, his widow, Lee Krasner, managed his estate and also ensured that Pollock’s call remained solid despite transforming art-world trends. They room both hidden in green River Cemetery in Springs, long Island, NY.

Color-Field Painting

Color-field painting can be known by its huge fields of solid shade spread across or stained into the canvas come create locations of unbroken surface and also a flat picture plane.

Learning Objectives

Differentiate color-field painting from other modern abstract arts such as summary expressionism

Key Takeaways

Key PointsColor-field painting is a style of abstract paint that arised in brand-new York City during the 1950s and also 1960s. That is closely linked to summary expressionism, post-painterly abstraction, and lyrical abstraction.Distinct indigenous the emotionally energy and also gestural surface ar marks and paint handling seen in the work of summary expressionists prefer Jackson Pollock, color-field paint came across as cool and also austere.The movement areas less focus on gesture, brushstrokes, and action in favor of an overall consistency of type and process, with color itself coming to be the subject matter.Mark Rothko, frank Stella, Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, Adolph Gottlieb, and also Morris louis are amongst the plenty of artists who offered color-field approaches in your work.Color-field painters transformed the method paint can be effectively applied, with their usage of acrylic paint and techniques such together staining and also spraying.Key Termsabstract expressionism: an American genre of modern art that offered improvised approaches to generate extremely abstract forms.action painting: A genre of modern art in which the repaint is dribbled, splashed, or poured onto the canvas to achieve a spontaneous and also totally summary image.lyrical abstraction: A kind of abstract paint related to summary expressionism; in use because the 1940s.

Color-Field Painting

Color-field painting is a style of abstract painting that emerged in new York City during the 1950s and 1960s. Motivated by european modernism and closely pertained to abstract expressionism, plenty of of that is notable early on proponents were among the pioneering summary expressionists.

Color-field is defined primarily by its usage of big fields the flat, solid color spread throughout or stained into the canvas come create locations of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane. The movement locations less focus on gesture, brushstrokes, and activity than summary expressionism, favoring instead an all at once consistency of type and process, with shade itself coming to be the subject matter.

Encompassing several decades from the mid-20th century v the early on 21st century, the background of color-field painting can be separated into three separate however related generations that painters:

Abstract expressionism.Post-painterly abstraction.Lyrical abstraction.

Some of the artists made functions in all three eras that called to all of the three styles.

Clement Greenberg

The focus of fist in the modern art world started to change from Paris to brand-new York after people War II and also the breakthrough of American abstract Expressionism. Throughout the late 1940s and also early 1950s, Clement Greenberg was the first art movie critic to suggest and identify a dichotomy in between differing tendencies in ~ the abstract expressionist canon—especially between action painting and 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 away stylistically from summary expressionism, exploring with new ways of managing paint and color. Moving away indigenous the gesture and angst of action painting in the direction of flat, clear picture planes and also a seemingly more quiet language, color-field artist used layouts of stripes, targets, and basic geometric trends to concentrate on shade as the leading theme their paintings.

Color-field painting originally 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 several series of paints by Joan Miró.

Color-field painting sought to rid arts of superfluous rhetoric and also gesture. Artists favor Morris Louis, Jules Olitski, Kenneth Noland, Friedel Dzubas, and Frank Stella often used greatly diminished formats, simplified or regulated systems, and simple references to nature to attract the focus of the painting 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 development of minimalism, post-painterly abstraction, and color-field painting. His shame canvases the the 1960s transformed abstract painting, such together this one from 1967.

Beginning: This color-field paint is identified by simple geometric forms and repetitive, regulation systems. It was painted by Kenneth Noland in 1958.

Who’s fear of Red, Yellow and also Blue?: The flat, solid photo plane the is usual of color-field paints is apparent in this 1966 piece by Barnet Newman, where the shade red takes centre stage.

An important difference between color-field painting and abstract expressionism is the method paint is handled. The most an easy defining an approach of paint is the application of paint, and also the color-field painters transformed the way paint could be successfully applied.

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

Stain painting, where artists mix and dilute their repaint in buckets or coffee cans to make it a an ext fluid liquid, then pour it onto raw, unprimed canvas and also draw shapes and also areas together they stain.Spray painting, a an approach using a spray gun to create huge expanses and also fields of color sprayed across the canvas.The use of stripes.

Color-field painting initially appeared to be cool and also austere due to these methods of managing paint that often tended to eschew the individual note 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 provided geometric, straightforward forms to highlight the pure interaction of color, as have the right to be checked out in this 1968 work.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe new York school was an informal group of summary painters and also other artist in NYC though it has become linked most through the summary expressionist movement. Although summary expressionism spread quickly throughout the joined States, the major centers the this style were new York City and California.New York School artists drew inspiration from surrealism and contemporary art motions such as action painting, abstract expressionism, jazz, improvisational theater, and experimental music.The work-related of the new York institution was recorded through yearly exhibitions that painting and also sculpture from 1951–1957, most notably in the ninth Street arts Exhibition.In enhancement to painting, the brand-new York college was linked with many poets, dancers, composers, jazz musicians, and writers.Key Termssurrealism: An creative movement and also an aesthetic philosophy, pre-dating summary expressionism, that intends for the liberation that the psychic by emphasizing the critical and imaginative powers of the subconscious.GI Bill: The Servicemen’s Readjustment action of 1944, recognized informally together the GI Bill, was a legislation that detailed a selection of services for returning civilization War II veterans (commonly referred to as GIs).abstract expressionism: one American genre of contemporary art that supplied improvised methods to generate highly abstract forms.

The brand-new York School

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

The artists of the brand-new York School drew their catalyst from surrealism and also other contemporary, avant-garde arts movements, in certain action painting, abstract expressionism, jazz, improvisational theater, experimental music, and also the communication of friends in the new York City art world’s vanguard circle.

No. 5: Jackson Pollack is known for his methods in action painting, a format of summary expressionism in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared top top 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 college of paint that thrived after people War II till the early 1960s, summary expressionism is characterized by the check out that art is non-representational and also chiefly improvisational. Summary expressionist paints share certain characteristics, including the usage of big canvases, and an all-over technique whereby the whole canvas is treated through equal prestige (as protest to the facility being of more interest than the edges). The canvas together the arena came to be a credo of action painting, while the integrity of the picture plane ended up being a credo the the color-field painters.

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

Many artists from all throughout the U.S. Arrived in brand-new York City to look for recognition, and also by the end of the te the list of artists linked with the brand-new York school had significantly increased. Painters, sculptors, and printmakers developed art that was termed activity painting, fluxus, color-field painting, hard-edge painting, pop art, minimal art and lyrical abstraction, amongst other styles and movements linked with summary expressionism.

9th Street arts Exhibition

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

The display was hung by Leo Castelli, together he was chosen by most of the artists and also thought of together someone that would cave the exhibition there is no favoritism. The opened of the display was a an excellent success. According to the critic, historian, and also curator Bruce Altshuler, “It appeared as though a line had actually been crossed, a step right into a larger art world whose future was bright with possibility.”

Interdisciplinary impacts in the new York School

In enhancement to painting, the new York college was associated with plenty of poets, dancers, composers, jazz musicians, and writers. Poets attracted on incentive from surrealism and the contemporary avant-garde arts movements, in particular the action painting of your friends in the brand-new York City art people like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

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

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

Abstract Expressionist Sculpture

During the postwar period, many sculptors made work in the prevalent layouts of the time: abstract expressionism, minimalism and also pop art.

Learning Objectives

Evaluate how sculpture from 1945–1970 was influenced by abstract expressionism, minimalism, and also pop art

Key Takeaways

Key PointsAbstract expressionist sculpture was significantly influenced by surrealism and also its emphasis on voluntarily or subconscious creation.Minimalist sculptures often set out to disclose the significance or identity of a topic through the removed of all non-essential develops or concepts. These works room often identified by geometric, cubic forms, equality the parts, repetition, neutral surfaces, and the use of industrial materials.The sculptors Claes Oldenburg and also George Segal were necessary proponents that pop arts in their use of found-objects and also how lock reproduced everyday commercial objects as fine art.Key Termspop art: an art motion that emerged in the 1950s, that presented a an obstacle to legacies of fine art by including imagery native popular culture such as advertising, news, etc.found object: A natural object, or one produced for some various other purpose, taken into consideration as part of a job-related of art.

Abstract Expressionism and Sculpture

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

Similar to abstract expressionist painting, sculptural occupational from the movement was substantially influenced by surrealism and also its focus on voluntary or subconscious creation. Summary expressionist sculpture, like painting from the movement, was more interested in procedure than product, which have the right to make it difficult to visually differentiate works by aesthetics alone, so it is vital to take right into account what the artist has to say around their process.

The sculptures the David Smith, for example, sought come express two-dimensional subjects that had never prior to been shown in three dimensions. His occupational blurred the distinctions in between sculpture and painting, usually making usage of delicate tracery quite than hard form, v a two-dimensional appearance that contradicted the traditional idea that sculpture in the round.

Ancient Household: David smith was an essential abstract expressionist sculptor.


Minimalism throughout the 1960s and also 1970s to be a reaction versus the painterly subjectivity of abstract expressionism that dominated the vault decades. Minimalist artist explicitly declared that their art was not about self-expression. Instead, Minimalist functions often set out to reveal the significance or identification of a topic through the removed of every non-essential develops or concepts.

These works room often identified by geometric, cubic forms, equality the parts, repetition, neutral surfaces, and also the usage of commercial materials. Some prominent artists who operated with sculpture and were linked with minimalism (though not all agreed v the association) include Donald Judd, man McCracken, Anthony Caro, Tony Smith, solar LeWitt, Carl Andre, and Dan Flavin.

Dan Flavin

Dan Flavin was an American minimalist famed for producing sculptural objects and installations indigenous commercially available fluorescent light fixtures. The absence of the note of the artist’s hand in these situations speak come the concept of exposing the true form of the sculptural object, a far-ranging tenet that the minimalist movement.

Donald Judd

Donald Judd, who disavowed the hatchet minimalism, and also preferred to refer to his sculptures as certain objects, offered simple, repeated creates to discover space. His functions were regularly fabricated (rather 보다 sculpted) out of metals, commercial plywood and concrete, and also therefore defied easy group as sculpture.

Judd’s “Untitled,” 1977, applies the simplicity and also geometric kind typical of minimalist works. Fabricated indigenous concrete, the item comes across as possibly industrially produced as the lacks the note of the artist’s hand that is so often seen in works of art, favoring rather a cool austerity the highlights the characteristics of the kind and the product used come fabricate it.

Untitled: Donald Judd, who disavowed the term minimalism, wanted to describe his sculptures as certain objects. Judd uses simple, repeated forms to explore space.

Pop Art

There were many artists working in sculpture who were associated with the pop art movement. Two crucial examples space Claes Oldenburg and George Segal.

Claes Oldenburg

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

George Segal

George Segal, one more artist linked with the pop-art movement, was best known because that his life-size figures made from plaster and bandage casts. These figures, often left v minimal color and also detail and given a ghostly, hollow appearance, lived in tableaux created of discovered objects such together a street corner, a bus, or a diner.

Common practices seen in pop-art sculptural work encompass the display screen of uncovered art objects, the representation of consumer goods, the placing of usual non-art objects in ~ a collection setting, and also the abstraction of familiar objects. We can see this abstraction in such functions as Plug through Oldenburg.

This reproduction the a familiar or mundane thing is displayed at such an boosted size the the subject matter becomes abstracted, the original duty simultaneously altered and also highlighted.

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Plug: Claes Oldenburg produced oversized reproductions of acquainted objects in boosted sizes to abstract the topic matter, such as this one excellent in 1970.