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Abstract Expressionism

Abstract Expressionism was a movement in art that took place in America in the 1940s that introduced a radical direction in art. This was never a formal society of artists but rather a loosely associated group that agreed on certain technique and subject matter of their works. This group is also referred to as New York School, and sometimes Action Painting. The term was first coined in relation to the work of Vasily Kandinsky in 1929, however as a movement in art it refers more to the works of the generation of artists active in New York from the 1940s and 50s. Some of them are Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), Willem de Kooning (1904-1997), Franz Kline (1910-1962), Lee Krasner (1908-1984), Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), William Baziotes (1912-1963), Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Barnett Newman (1905-1970), Adolph Gottlieb (1903-1974), Richard Pousette-Dart (1916-1992), and Clyfford Still (1904-1980). These artists valued form as an important aesthetic of their works, wherein spontaneity and improvisation while making a piece of art becomes important. The formlessness and the dynamism of movement characterized their work.

Further Reading

MOMA, MET museum


Jackson Pollock, No. 5, 1948, oil on fibreboard, 96 × 48 in, private collection