What is Abstract Expressionism?

After Jackson Pollock, de Kooning was the most prominent and celebrated of the Abstract Expressionist Painters. Although he established his reputation with a series of entirely abstract pictures, he felt a strong pull towards traditional subjects and would eventually become most famous for his pictures of women, which he painted in spells throughout his life. Later he turned to landscapes, which were also highly acclaimed, and which he continued to paint even into his eighties when his mind was significantly impaired by Alzheimer’s disease.


Abstract art does not always have a recognisable focus. Instead, colours, forms,  lines, curves, mixed media materials, textures, and the imagination of the artist are the focus and elements of the creativity shown on the canvas.  The characteristics of what specifies Abstract Expressionism is difficult to define as all artists work in different ways and styles;  putting their own twist. But it isn't the knowledge of characteristics that categorise the artists under one movement but the act of creating the art, not the completion of the artwork itself. Abstract  Expressionists also share the desire of using art to express the subconscious or untouched.

This movement is also known as action painting as it includes intense, rapid brushstrokes and dripped and splattered paints on to a large canvas. It works with the artist and expresses their mind, emotions or what they see unrealistically. Pollock is a great example as his pieces are messy and random to other but to him it is actually planned. The style is also related to surrealism as it shows the need to emphasis the mind.

Image result for abstract expressionism
Jackson Pollock
Woman I, (1950–2), oil, enamel and charcoal on canvas, 192.7 x 147.3 cm (75 x 58 in), The Museum of Modern Art, New York Artwork by Willem de Kooning © 2014 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society, (ARS), New York
Willem de Kooning

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.