Main Pioneers ; Painters using the abstract art form.
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The painters of the Abstract Expressionist Movement
The Main Abstract Pioneers of the 1940's heralded the triumph of its American Expressionism, a modernist movement that combined lessons learned from Henri Matisse,
Pablo Picasso,Surrealism, Joan Miro,Cubism,
and early Modernism via great Abstract teachers in America
like Hans Hofmann and John D. Graham. The Main American artists
benefited from the presence of the main pioneers Piet Mondrian, Fernand Leger, Max Ernst and the Andre Breton group, Pierre Matisse's gallery, and Peggy Guggenheim's gallery
The Art of This Century, as well as other factors.
The Post-Second World War Main American painters Movement called Abstract expressionism included artists like
Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky,
Hofmann, Clyfford Still, Adolph Gottlieb, Barnett Newman,
, and Franz Kline,
Main Abstract Pioneers were named as Expressionist
in 1946 from the art critic Robert Coates.
It is seen as combining the emotional intensity
and self-denial of the German Expressionists with the
anti-figurative aesthetic of the main European abstract
pioneers and schools such as Futurism, the Bauhaus and
Action Painting,and Color Field
painting are synonymous with the painters of the New York School.
The Important Pioneer's Predecessor
Technically Surrealism was an important predecessor for the
Pioneers of the Abstract expressionist Movement with its main emphasis on spontaneous, automatic or subconscious creation. The painter Jackson Pollock's dripping paint onto a canvas laid on the floor is a
technique that has its roots in the work of André Masson.
Another important early manifestation of what came to
be abstract expressionism is the work of American
Northwest artist Mark Tobey, especially his "white
writing" canvases, which, though generally not large
in scale, anticipate the "all over" look of Pollock's
The picture is of an interesting book I found about Jackson Pollock called (Text link takes you to Amazon... where you can find out more about this book!) Action Jackson
by Jan Greenberg, Sandra Jordan, Robert Andrew Parker. I've always been interested in his process and thought that it must be so simple.....But luckily I was wrong!
I also found this book review by Judy K. Polhemus, the "Book Collector."
She is very knowledgable about Jackson Pollock.......
Book Review by Judy K. Polhemus, the "Book Collector:"
When modern art is brought to the table, the question for the untrained is quite often: Is this art? What makes art? Can I do this? For such questions, answers always vary. It is art if you think it is art even if it may not be good art. The final consensus is that it is art if it challenges and sustains. Such art is universally held to be art.
Early on, modern art broke tradition, broke stereotypes, and set the art world on its heels, becoming a Pioneer. Until this time artists tried to capture a realistic experience--people, objects, landscapes--and put them on canvas. The moderns were the first to ignore the boundaries of the canvas. In fact, iconoclasts that they were, they acknowledged the confines of the canvas and its two-dimensional world and started experimenting with new techniques. The Impressionistic painters were the first, then the Post-Impressionistic painters went jumps ahead. Instead of painting broad realistic pictures, they began defying shapes, colors, time.
Jackson Pollock represents one segment of this new modern art, that which is called "action painting," or "spatter painting." This book, "Action Jackson," details Jackson's technique of creating art and making the viewer feel and appreciate his vision and told simply enough for a child to understand.
How did Jackson work? He lay out a huge canvas on the floor of his studio, studied it, then spattered house paint across it--directly from the can, from a stick, a brush. He worked over a series of days to get everything just right.
His vision was to lay out colors and patterns and the intermixing of colors and patterns to create a canvas that spoke of something more cosmic than a bowl of apples. For Jackson the process of painting said as much as the final product. This book beautifully conveys the idea of his vision and his process and his final product. I never dreamed a writer and an illustrator could capture the essence of Pollock's work in one thin children's book, but this most definitely does.
Perhaps the success of this book in capturing Jackson's style and work earned it an Honor Award in the Robert F. Siebert contest, and a New York Times Best Book of the Year, and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. "Action Jackson" was published in 2002. Jackson Pollock died in a car crash in 1956.
Time for a slide show....
The Rebellious Movement
Additionally,the Abstract expressionist painters had an image
of being rebellious, anarchic, highly idiosyncratic
and, some feel, rather nihilistic. In practice, the
term is applied to any number of artists working (mostly)
in New York who had quite different styles, and even
applied to work which is not especially abstract nor
expressionist. Pollock's energetic "action paintings",
with their "busy" feel, are different both technically
and aesthetically, to the violent and grotesque Women
series of Willem de Kooning (which are figurative
paintings) and to the serenely shimmering blocks of
work (which is not what would
usually be called expressionist and which Rothko denied
was abstract), yet all three are classified as abstract
The Abstract Expressionist painters have many stylistic similarities to the Russian artists of the early twentieth century such as
Although it is true that
spontaneity or of the impression of spontaneity
characterized many of the abstract expressionists works,
most of these paintings involved careful planning,
especially since their large size demanded it. An
exception might be the drip paintings of Pollock.
Why this style gained mainstream acceptance in the 1950s
is a matter of debate. American Social realism had been
the mainstream in the 1930s. It had been influenced not
only by the Great Depression but also by the Social
Realists of Mexico such as David Alfaro Siqueiros and
Diego Rivera. The political climate after World War II
did not long tolerate the social protests of those
Abstract expressionism arose during World
War II and began to be showcased during the early 1940s
at galleries in New York like The Art of This Century
Gallery and painters.
The late 1940s through the mid 1950s ushered
in the McCarthy era. It was after World War II and a
time of political conservatism and extreme artistic
censorship in the United States. Some people have
conjectured that since the subject matter was often
totally abstract, Abstract expressionism became a safe
strategy for artists and painters to pursue this Pioneering style. Abstract art could be seen as apolitical. Or if the art was political, the message was largely for the insiders. However those theorists are in the minority. As the first truly original
school of painting in America, Abstract expressionism
demonstrated the vitality and creativity of the
country in the post-war years, as well as its ability
(or need) to develop an aesthetic sense that was not
constrained by the European standards of beauty.
Although Abstract expressionism spread quickly throughout
the United States, the Main centers of this style were
New York City and California, especially in the New York
School, and the San Francisco Bay area. 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
, while the integrity
of the picture plane became a credo of the Main Color Field
In Europe there was the continuation of the
Early Main Movements
using Surrealism, Cubism, Dada and the works of Matisse. Also in Europe, Tachisme (the European equivalent of the Pioneering Abstract Expressionist movement) took hold of the newest generation. Serge Poliakoff, Nicolas de Staël, Georges Mathieu, Vieira da Silva, Jean Dubuffet, Yves Klein and Pierre Soulages among others are considered important figures in post-war European painting.
Eventually abstract painting in America evolved into
movements such as Neo-Dada, Color Field painting, Post
painterly abstraction, Op art,
Hard Edge painting
, Minimal art, shaped canvas painting,
Neo-expressionism and the continuation of Abstract
expressionism. As a response to the tendency toward
abstraction imagery emerged through various new
movements, notably Pop art.
Here is a display of Books about Abstract Artists....Enjoy!