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Art Encyclopedia - Abstract Expressionism

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Abstract Expressionism
A post World War II art movement, abstract expressionism was the first specifically American art movement to achieve world wide influence. "Abstract expressionism" was first applied to describe this American art in 1946 by art critic Robert Coates.

Surrealism was an important predecessor to abstract expressionism because of its emphasis on spontaneous, automatic or subconscious creation. Jackson Pollock's technique of dripping paint onto a canvas laid on the floor has its roots in the surrealist work of Max Ernst.

The art movement gets its name because it is seen as combining the emotional intensity and self-expression of the German Expressionists with the anti-figurative aesthetic of the European abstract schools such as Futurism, the Bauhaus and Synthetic Cubism. Abstract expressionism has an image of being rebellious and anarchic and the term was applied to the work of a number New York artists who had different styles of work. Abstract expressionism spread quickly throughout the United States but the major centers of this style were New York City and California.

Abstract expressionist paintings share certain characteristics such the use of large canvases and an "all-over" approach in which the whole canvas is treated with equal importance.

Some important abstract expressionist include: William Baziotes, Marcel Duchamp, Hans Hofman, Arshile Gorky, Adolph Gotlieb, Paul Jenkins, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Mark Tobey and Stuart Sutcliffe.

 





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