20th Century Art Styles II: Abstract Art

An abstract art is one without a recognisable subject, one which doesn't relate to anything external or try to "look like" something. Instead the colour and form (and often the materials and support) are the subject of the abstract painting. It's completely non-objective or non-representational.
Abstract art is a way of  figurative abstractions and paintings which represent things that aren't visual, such an emotion, sound, or spiritual experience. Figurative abstractions are abstractions or simplifications of reality, where detail is eliminated from recognisable objects leaving only the essence or some degree of recognisable form.
Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism were the the previous "avant garde" to the total break with real models.
There are different tendences of representation into the label "abstract":
  • Pure Abstraction: KANDINSKY was the pioneer. Art like a representation of feelings of the artist but at the same time, very philosofical and intellectual.
  • Geometric way: MONDRIAN, MALEVITCH,LEGER.Three aspects became the fundamental characteristics of abstract geometric art. The freedom of experimentation with different materials and spatial relationships between various compositional parts, which evolved from the Cubist practice of collage and papiers collés (1912), also emphasized the flatness of the picture surface—as the carrier of applied elements—as well as the physical "reality" of the explored forms and materials. Geometric abstraction, through the Cubist process of purifying art of the vestiges of visual reality, focused on the inherent two-dimensional features of painting.
  • ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM- This is a style of painting that combines abstract form and expressionist emotional value. It started in the mid 1940’s in New York but its influence comes much earlier from Surrealism and Cubism. POLLOCK, his wife LEE KRASNER, WILLEM de KOONING, MARK ROTHKO etc. Jackson Pollock was an American abstract expressionist painter who was famous for innovative "action paintings". Instead of careful brush strokes, Jackson Pollock dripped, poured, and splattered paint. As Pollock experimented and developed his distinctive techniques, his paintings became ever larger and more dramatic. He would unroll large canvases onto the floor of his studio and work on them from all sides. Occasionally he would have to step carefully onto the canvas, or lean out over it. (Sometimes he even left handprints in the paint!)

WILLIAM DE KOONING working in his studio