Discover art for sale. Buy and sell Abstract Expressionism prints & editions online. Abstract Expressionism emerged as a philosophical shift in art, championing emotional intensity and subconscious creativity.
Abstract Expressionism, emerging in the late 1940s, marked a pivotal shift steering away from figurative realism towards emotional and spiritual abstraction. This movement, primarily centred in New York, represented a departure from traditional European art forms, signifying America's burgeoning role in the artistic avant-garde. It was characterised by an emphasis on spontaneous, automatic, or subconscious creation, with its practitioners sharing a common approach to art-making that was intensely personal and expressive, often reflecting the angst of the post-war era.
Abstract Expressionism, a term coined in 1946, germinated in the backdrop of post-World War II America, a period marked by profound existential uncertainty and a quest for new means of expression. This movement was significantly influenced by Surrealism, particularly its emphasis on the subconscious and automatism, yet it diverged sharply by discarding figurative representation. The roots of Abstract Expressionism are often traced to the 1930s and early 1940s, with artists in New York City gradually moving away from representational art towards more abstract forms.
The movement's formation was less about a singular manifesto and more about a collective yearning to express individuality and emotional depth. Pioneering figures in this movement didn't just adopt abstract techniques; they composed their art with personal significance and were driven by a desire to convey authentic experiences.
At the heart of Abstract Expressionism was the transformation of the canvas into an active playing field for the artist. This fundamental idea underscored the movement's primary goal of utilising art as a direct channel for inner emotional and psychological states. This approach was further expanded by artists like Robert Rauschenberg, who introduced found objects in his works. Rauschenberg's practice of incorporating everyday items like cardboard, sticks, or bedding into his art created a new route for painting and sculpture, emphasising the interaction between the artist, their materials, and the surrounding world.
The essence of Abstract Expressionism was shaped largely by the influx of European influences, especially as New York became a haven for European artists fleeing wartime turmoil. The presence of artists like Salvador Dalí and Max Ernst launched a synthesis, combining European modernist ideas with American artistic innovation. Influenced by Surrealism and its techniques, Abstract Expressionists embraced spontaneous, improvisational methods, allowing their subconscious to guide their creative process.
The desire for a deeper, more authentic form of expression led to the development of new visual languages. Abstract Expressionism became a philosophical stance, prioritising individual perspective and emotional intensity over traditional aesthetics. It represented a break from the past and a move towards a more introspective approach in a rapidly changing world.
Twombly, particularly, stands out for his distinctive approach to Abstract Expressionism. His renowned Bacchus series is a prime example of the movement's core principles. In this series, Twombly's characteristic scribbles and gestural brushstrokes lend themselves to create a sense of raw movement and energy. The series, named after the Roman god of wine, is marked by its bold, looping swirls in a vibrant red that dominates the canvas. This visceral use of colour and form keenly represents the essence of Abstract Expressionism: a pursuit of emotional depth and personal expression through means of abstraction.
Contrasting with the controlled brushwork of Impressionism and the deliberate compositions of Pointillism, Abstract Expressionism embraced a more instinctual, dynamic method of art-making. The movement's emphasis on personal expression, through both colour and technique, paved the way for later developments in modern art, influencing a wide range of styles and movements.
Abstract Expressionism saw the use of bold, intense colours that broke free from traditional palettes, used to evoke and express complex emotional states. Gestural brushwork was another key element which allowed artists to employ spontaneous, vigorous strokes that captured a sense of movement or physical energy.
The variety of Abstract Expressionism is exemplified in Rauschenberg's Combine series. These works, a fusion of traditional painting with sculptural elements, represented a radical change from conventional artistic practices. Rauschenberg's assemblages incorporated a variety of materials and objects, from clothing to newspaper clippings, to develop a new approach to creating multi-dimensional experiences for viewers to engage with.
Abstract Expressionism continues to echo through contemporary art, notably in the works of Helen Frankenthaler and her innovative soak-stain technique. Frankenthaler's approach represents a significant evolution of Abstract Expressionism, as she explores the interplay of colour, form, and texture in novel ways.
Her technique, involving layers of colour and the manipulation of the canvas, allows gravity and the medium's fluidity to play pivotal roles in the artwork's narrative. Frankenthaler's method, characterised by pouring, dripping, blotting, and lifting, requires both technical skill and intuition. By embracing the inherent qualities of her materials and relinquishing a degree of control, Frankenthaler's art achieves a fusion of both intention and chance.
Frankenthaler's approach contributes not just variety but also depth and innovation to the movement, presenting a unique perspective within the modern art scene.
We connect buyers and sellers of original contemporary and modern prints, facilitating discreet, independent, investment led private sales. Fixed, clear and mutually agreed upon between both parties - simple, safe and secure.