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, Fauvism, 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 Jackson Pollock Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko , Hans Hofmann, Clyfford Still, Adolph Gottlieb, Barnett Newman, Philip Guston, Robert Motherwell , and Franz Kline, among others. 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 Synthetic Cubism. Abstract expressionism, 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 drip paintings.

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 color in Mark Rothko's work (which is not what would usually be called expressionist and which Rothko denied was abstract), yet all three are classified as abstract expressionists.

The Abstract Expressionist painters have many stylistic similarities to the Russian artists of the early twentieth century such as Wassily Kandinsky 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 painters.

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

Action Painting , while the integrity of the picture plane became a credo of the Main Color Field painters.

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, Lyrical Abstraction , 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!

Early Abstract Pioneers.
Critics of painters
Techniques: Collage
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