Abstract Expressionism Artists by Estelle Asmodelle

Abstract Expressionism Artists

Abstract Expressionism Artists. Here is a list of my favourite abstract expressionism artists, while the list is not comprehensive by any means. However, it does list my most significant influences.

Jackson Pollock was the most significant and influential American painter in the abstract expressionist movement. He was well known for his unique style of drip painting. During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety, a major artist of his generation. Regarded as reclusive, he had a volatile personality and struggled with alcoholism for most of his life. In 1945, he married the artist Lee Krasner, who became an important influence on his career and on his legacy. Pollock died at the age of 44 in an alcohol-related single-car accident when he was driving. In December 1956, several months after his death, Pollock was given a memorial …more on Wikipedia

Mark Rothko was an American painter of Russian Jewish descent. He is generally identified as an Abstract Expressionist. With Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, he is one of the most famous postwar American artists. …more on Wikipedia

Franz Kline was an American painter born in Pennsylvania. He is mainly associated with the abstract expressionist movement of the 1940s and 1950s. Kline, along with other action painters like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell and Lee Krasner, as well as other poets, dancers, and musicians of the time came to be known as the informal group, the New York School. Although he explored the same innovations to painting as the other artists in this group, Kline’s work is distinct in itself and has been revered since the 1950s. …more on Wikipedia

Clyfford Still was an American painter, and one of the leading figures in the first generation of Abstract Expressionists, who developed a new, powerful approach to painting in the years immediately following World War II. Still has been credited with laying the groundwork for the movement, as his shift from representational to abstract painting occurred between 1938 and 1942, earlier than his colleagues like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, who continued to paint in figurative-surrealist styles well into the 1940s. …more on Wikipedia

Joan Mitchell was a “second generation” abstract expressionist painter and printmaker. She was an essential member of the American Abstract expressionist movement, even though much of her career took place in France. Along with Lee Krasner, Grace Hartigan, Helen Frankenthaler and Sonia Gechtoff, she was one of her era’s few female painters to gain critical and public acclaim. Her paintings and editioned prints can be seen in major museums and collections across the United States and Europe. On 13 May 2014, Mitchell became the most expensive female artist at auction when an untitled abstract dating from 1960 was sold for $11,925,000 at Christie’s, New York. The previous record holder had been... …more on Wikipedia

Robert Rauschenberg did not originally set out to become an artist. Born in Texas in the 1920s, Rauschenberg grew up in a fairly strict and frugal Christian household. As a teenager, he hoped to become a minister. However, he eventually switched paths. Rauschenberg attended the University of Texas and briefly studied pharmacology. During WWII, he served in the United States Navy as a neuropsychiatric technician. It was during his time in the military that Rauschenberg realized his artistic aspirations …more on Wikipedia

Frank Stella is an American painter and printmaker, noted for his work in the areas of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction. Stella continues to live and work in New York. …more on Wikipedia

If you would like to learn more about my understanding of Abstract Expressionism in art – please read my articles in Art Muse.

Abstract Expressionism, a significant movement in mid-20th-century art, introduced a new wave of creativity that rejected traditional aesthetics and prioritized individual freedom and emotion. At the forefront of this radical movement were a cohort of visionary artists who ventured beyond established conventions and explored the boundaries of abstraction, creating a unique, transformative language of expression.

One of the most renowned Abstract Expressionists is Jackson Pollock, known for his revolutionary ‘drip paintings’. Rejecting the easel and brush, Pollock would fling, drip, and pour paint onto his canvas laid out on the floor. This innovative method, termed ‘action painting’, was a spontaneous and physically engaging process that resulted in complex, layered compositions pulsating with energy and rhythm. Pollock’s work signified a shift from painting as an act of depiction to painting as an act of pure expression.

Another prominent figure is Willem de Kooning, whose work oscillated between abstraction and figuration. His most iconic series, ‘Woman’, demonstrates his abstract expressionist style characterized by vigorous, gestural brushstrokes and a bold, expressive palette. De Kooning’s work embodies the tension between form and chaos, a key theme in Abstract Expressionism.

Mark Rothko, a pioneer of the ‘Color Field’ subset of Abstract Expressionism, sought to express profound human emotions through his exploration of color and form. His signature style consisted of large, soft-edged rectangles of color applied onto massive canvases. Rothko’s work aimed to evoke emotional responses from the viewer, embodying his belief in the transcendent potential of art.

Barnett Newman, another leading artist within the Color Field Painting genre, is known for his ‘zip’ paintings. These works feature vast fields of color interrupted by vertical lines or ‘zips.’ Newman saw these compositions as self-revelatory, stating that they were “a revelation of the individual’s expression of his own emotions.”

Lastly, Helen Frankenthaler, a second-generation Abstract Expressionist, brought a fresh perspective to the movement with her pioneering ‘soak-stain’ technique. By pouring thinned paint directly onto unprimed canvas, she created beautifully translucent, watercolor-like effects. Her innovative approach had a significant influence on the subsequent Color Field painters.

In conclusion, the artists of Abstract Expressionism, with their innovative techniques and bold exploration of emotion and form, significantly broadened the boundaries of art. They shifted the focus from the traditional, representational depiction to the expression of subjective experiences and emotions, leaving a profound and lasting impact on the world of art. Their pioneering work remains a testament to the transformative power of creativity and the enduring relevance of individual expression.

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