Romanticism, Impressionism, and Expressionism were three art styles that influenced the creation of abstract art. During the nineteenth century, artists' artistic liberty was increased. They were no longer bound by the rules of perspective or color harmony. Abstract art is any kind of artwork that uses form as its main subject rather than reality itself or a natural scene. The term can also be applied to works that use abstract ideas or concepts as their theme rather than physical objects.
Abstract art is one of the earliest recognized genres. It can be as old as human history itself. Paintings on cave walls in France have been found that are more than 30,000 years old! They show evidence of being painted abstractly before anyone even knew what paint was. For many centuries after these paintings were created, people believed they were made using natural pigments from plants or minerals. Only in the 19th century did people discover how things like ochre and zinc were actually used to create colors for paintings.
In the modern world, abstraction is often associated with modern art, but this is not necessarily the case. Many great artists have worked in both abstract and representational painting modes simultaneously. Some examples include Pablo Picasso, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol.
These two trends, Fauvism and Expressionism, were among the earliest instances of abstract painting, very narrowly preceding Cubism, another major contemporary art movement. They can both be considered responses to the revolutionary ideas in modern science and technology, especially physics.
Fauvism was an artistic movement that began in France around 1914. The name is a portmanteau of fauve, which means "wild beast" in French, and smithy, which refers to the area where many of the artists lived and worked. Their paintings are characterized by intense colors, often inspired by animals, and a rough, almost graphic style. Many of the leading figures were painters who had studied under Edgar Degas at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, including Maurice Denis, Albert Marquet, Georges Rouault, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Expressionism is a term used to describe the main theme of expression rather than representation in art. This concept was first proposed by the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer in his book On the Freedom of the Arts (1810). He argued that while painting and sculpture were useful tools for conveying information, they could also have additional psychological effects on their audience that went beyond mere communication.
By the late 1940s, most had abandoned such styles, but they had learnt a lot from their early work. It bolstered their dedication to an art form founded on personal experience. Time spent painting murals inspired them to produce abstract paintings on a similarly gigantic scale later on.
Abstract expressionism as a movement was born in the United States around 1947. The first exhibition of its kind was held at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York, with twenty-one American artists including Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and Robert Motherwell.
It came about after World War II when many Americans were looking for new ways to express themselves artistically. Previously, all imagery was based on reality either directly or through metaphor. Abstraction allowed them to escape from this limitation and explore new ideas. Also, money was becoming more difficult to come by after the war so people turned towards more affordable materials such as paint and canvas instead of using cheaper alternatives like oil or tempera paints.
Abstract expressionism is defined by its use of emotion over reason to create artwork. Previous to this time, American artists mainly used realistic techniques, so this move away from reality was new. It also meant that viewers could interpret the images in different ways - some might see shapes and forms while others might focus on the colors alone.
Jackson Pollock is considered the father of abstraction.