Abstract Expressionism

Wassily Kandinsky, Composition VIII, 1923

Wassily Kandinsky, Composition VIII, 1923

Abstract Expressionism is a term applied to a movement in American painting that flourished in New York City after World War II referred to as the New York School or, more narrowly, as action painting The varied work produced by the Abstract Expressionists resists definition as a cohesive style;  instead, these artists shared an interest in using abstraction to convey strong emotional expressive content. These artists moved away from European traditions of painting to create a distinctly American kind of art, which both acknowledged and challenged the domination of early 20th century giants such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Wassily Kandinsky. Abstract Expressionism is best known for large-scale paintings that break away from traditional processes, often taking the canvas off of the easel and using unconventional materials such as house paint. While Abstract Expressionism is often considered for its advancements in painting, its ideas had deep resonance in many media, including drawing and sculpture.

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