Also known as the New York School, or “action painting”, Abstract Expressionism is usually characterized by large abstract painted canvases, although the movement also includes sculpture and other media. Abstract Expressionism originated in the 1940s, and became popular in the 1950s.
Artists typically applied paint rapidly, and with force to huge canvases attempting to visualize feelings and emotions. They painted gesturally, non-geometrically, using large brushes or dripping or even throwing paint onto the canvas. The works depend heavily on what appears to be accidental but is actually highly planned. In most works there was no attempt to represent subject matter.
Although some work within this movement was not abstract, and some was not expressive, it overall idea that the spontaneity of the artists’ process would draw from their unconscious creativity. The process and method of expressive painting was considered by some as important as the resulting product.
Artists who painted in this style include:
- Hans Hoffman (German-American, 1880-1966)
- Adolph Gottlieb (American, 1903-1974)
- Mark Rothko (American, 1903-1970)
- Willem De Kooning (Dutch-American, 1904-1997)
- Clyfford Still (American, 1904-1980)
- Barnett Newman (American, 1905-1970)
- ranz Kline (American, 1910-1962)
- William Baziotes (American, 1912-1963)
- Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956)
- Philip Guston (American, 1913-1980)
- Ad Reinhardt (American, 1913-1967)
- Robert Motherwell (American, 1915-1991)
- Sam Francis (American, 1923-1994)
- Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928-)