Abstract Expressionism. (Classroom Use)

By Hubbard, Guy | Arts & Activities, April 2002 | Go to article overview

Abstract Expressionism. (Classroom Use)


Hubbard, Guy, Arts & Activities


THINGS TO LEARN

* Following the poverty of the Great Depression and the horrors of World War II, forward-looking artists no longer felt that the earlier art movements of the 20th century fit the times. They wanted to flee themselves from subject matter, and also believed that they should follow their feelings while they worked. These ideas resulted in "Abstract Expressionism," which enabled artists to reach down deeply into themselves for artistic meaning.

* Abstract Expressionism is a mixture of opposite kinds of artistic thinking--or "isms." One part consists of abstract ideas developed 50 years earlier by the artists who created Cubism. The other part of the mixture is from Expressionism, where artistic ideas focused on emotional feelings rather than on careful preparation. These two unlikely sets of artistic ideas came together to create a new and original art movement.

* Abstract Expressionists concentrated on the actions involved in creating artworks rather than trying to produce images that people could recognize. As a result, they welcomed successful accidents and chance events. They often thought of themselves as working blindfold. As a result, another name for this art movement is "Action Painting."

* Abstract Expressionism was very unusual and therefore difficult for most people to understand. For this reason, the opinions of several New York art critics were very influential in making the importance of these artists known through their writings in newspapers and magazines, as well as through their lectures.

While many people might think the ideas guiding this movement were new and strange, in fact that wasn't true. Traditional Chinese painters, for example, were less interested in being realistic than in focusing attention on their feelings while painting rapidly. Abstract Expressionists also borrowed ideas from other modern art "isms" such as Dadaism and Surrealism.

* New York became the center of Abstract Expressionist art after World War II. This was partly because large numbers of European artists had come to live there as refugees. The city also became the center for young Americans returning from military service who were anxious to continue with their artistic careers.

The artists who established Abstract Expressionism were Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Adolf Gottlieb, Clyfford Still and Franz Kline. Many other painters were also active and students may want to find out for themselves who they were.

* It would be a mistake to believe Abstract Expressionist paintings all looked alike. Each artist had a very distinctive style. One of those whose work was extremely different from Pollock's was Mark Rothko. Yet, some critics believed Rothko to be another of the most original of this group of artists.

Rothko's paintings were large and were composed of simple, rough-looking rectangles with blurry edges. They were painted with thin paint--almost like a dye--in just a few colors that make them look ghostly. Because the paint is very thin, viewers can easily see the weaving of the canvas.

* While most people think of Abstract Expressionist artists as painters, several very fine sculptors also worked in this movement. Three of them were David Smith, Theodore Roszak and Seymour Lipton. All three of them worked in metal, which means that their work could not be produced as fast as paintings. However, all of their work is every bit as abstract as that of the painters and printmakers.

THINGS TO DO

* In order for students to develop a better understanding of Abstract Expressionism, they need to become familiar with as many examples as possible. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Abstract Expressionism. (Classroom Use)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.