"Abstract expressionism was the first American art that was filled with anger as well as beauty." -Robert Motherwell

Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, America has been a place of significant change, innovation, and artistry. Some of the world's greatest inventions and most divisive ideas blossomed from the United States of America. And, whether you like it or not, America is a world leader in many sectors.

The movie stars, artists, and inventors from America have inspired many persons from the UK and other areas of Europe. 

Without further ado, in today's article, we shall discuss an art period that developed in the United States known as Abstract Expressionism and how it shaped the style of many modern artists across the world.

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A Brief History of Abstract Expressionism

artists hailing from NYC
The art movement known as Abstract Expressionism boasts its origins from New York City in the middle of the 20th century. (Source: Unsplash)

When you think of Abstract Expressionism, AE for short, what comes to mind? Do you imagine abstract paintings that seem hard to understand and larger than life? If so, you're not necessarily wrong!

Abstract Expressionism is an art movement that commenced in the years following WWII in the United States. It's worth mentioning that the AE era that took place and started in America is quite significant since most noteworthy art periods from the Western world occurred in cities such as Paris and Rome on the European continent.

Nonetheless, though Abstract Expressionism didn't start in a posh Euro city like Paris, Vienna, Rome, London, or Venice, that doesn't make it any less important.

The AE movement in 1950s NYC created some of America's most widely recognised artists and has shaped the way paintings and drawings are completed today.

But, why is it called Abstract Expressionism? Also known as New York School, Abstract Expressionism aimed to create art that was abstract and vague yet emotional and expressive at the same time.

Artists from the AE period believed that art should stem from the unconscious mind, which led to masterful creations that had never been seen before. 

In the following subheading, we'll look at the unique elements of the Abstract Expressionism period and how they can be easily identified by curious art students.

Unique Elements of the Abstract Expressionism Period

bright style
Abstract Expressionism is known for its intriguing designs and its bright colours. (Source: Unsplash)

As is the case with all art periods, Abstract Expressionism has identifiable characteristics that make it different from other art movements. Such as? Without further delay, the following list draws attention to the distinctive details of Abstract Expressionism:

  • Monumental in scale and ambition, 
  • Evokes the spirit of American independence and individualism, 
  • Features the drip technique that Pollock made famous, 
  • Abstract Expressionism is under two categories known as action painting and colour field painting, 
  • Known to balance chaos and control,
  • Canvases of Abstract Expressionism are authentic and imaginative. 

Without most of the previously mentioned details, a piece of art struggles to be categorised as Abstract Expressionism.

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Renowned Art Pieces that are Clearly from the Abstract Expressionism Era

To get a better idea of what Abstract Expressionism is, it helps to have a visual. Seeing some examples of paintings, sculptures, or collages provide us with the answers to some of the questions we may have had. So, without further delay, the following are some of the most acclaimed art pieces from the AE movement:

  • Autumn Rhythm: arguably Jackson Pollock's most famous work and probably his magnum opus, Autumn Rhythm, was completed in 1950 and observed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Autumn Rhythm features prime examples of Pollock's drip works. Some credit the Autumn Rhythm canvas as the exemplary painting of the Abstract Expressionism era.
  • Excavation: masterfully painted by Willem de Kooning, Excavation is an essential part of Kooning's collection and features multiple outlines forms and familiar shapes. Kooning's Excavation boasts a lot of imagery and movements that can be seen at the moment.
  • White Flag: on display at the MET in NYC, White Flag is one of Jasper Johns most marvellous works. Though it's the United States of America flag and has been recognised for decades, the bleached and composite appearance of the flag that Johns creates is formidable. It leaves viewers gazing at the complexities of the painting.

While we could go on and on about the various Abstract Expressionist paintings that are worth looking at, the previously mentioned ones are a significant place to start.

Continue reading the following subheading to learn more about the artists who created the AE era's masterful works.

Famous Artists from the Abstract Expressionism Period

nyc style artists
Jackson Pollock is one of the most popular Abstract Expressionists and is considered a pioneer. (Source: Unsplash)

For an art movement to be remembered and viewed as significant to historians, noteworthy artists who made extraordinary contributions must be part of that era.

So, when we mention the AE era, it's safe to say that there are quite a few famous individuals whose works of art have stood the test of time. Such as?

Without further delay, the following list draws attention to the most acclaimed artists (painters, sculptors, drawers) of the Abstract Expressionist period:

  • Jackson Pollock: it's impossible for an article that mentions famous Abstract Expressionists not to discuss Jackson Pollock. Why? Pollock is the father of Abstract Expressionism, and his techniques have been methodically studied for the past few decades. Born in Cody, Wyoming, in 1912, Pollock's artistic works in the late 1940s and early 1950s have been described as masterpieces. In addition, Pollock's drip techniques, all-over painting method, and action painting have been praised by art experts.
  • Lee Krasner: the wife of Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner was a talented individual who positively influenced the works of Pollock and had considerable success on her own. Krasner specialised in collages and spent her entire career in New York. Her works have been featured in retrospective displays at museums such as MoMA in NYC. She began her career as an artist in her teens and worked throughout her life. A few of her paintings have sold for millions to private vendors.
  • Joan Mitchell: inspired by Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Monet, Joan Mitchell was another famous woman who had a lot of success during her lifetime as an Abstract Expressionist painter. Mitchell was active in the 1950s in the New York School of painters. She used pastels and created softer abstract paintings than her contemporaries. Joan Mitchell was known to have given her paintings a more lyrical and emotional direction.

If art enthusiasts take a serious look at the artistic renderings from any of the three previously mentioned artists, albeit slightly different in style one from the next, they will notice the techniques that made AE an impressive era of art in the Western World.

Taking Abstract Expressionism Classes with a Private Tutor

Do you sometimes struggle to grasp the fundamental subtopics of the new academic discipline that you are learning? Do you need a more personalised approach to supplement the occasionally chaotic atmosphere of the traditional classroom? If so, you should probably be shopping for a personal tutor.

No matter what academic discipline you decide to study, abstract Expressionism included, you can find a private tutor in the United Kingdom. Really? Is it that easy? Absolutely! Since the start of the digital age, private tuition has moved online, and the e-learning industry has made personalised education available for everyone.

But, where does one search to find an art tutor in the UK? The answer is simple: Superprof. With more than 16 million instructors teaching 1000+ topics of interest, Superprof is a worldwide learning Mecca!

Also, for those who need to learn more about Abstract Expressionism, either for curiosity or to pass a course they are studying, it's worth stating that according to the most updated version of our site, there are currently three tutors that specialise in that era of art. The tutors are available for face-to-face lessons if you live near them or for virtual learning sessions if you are based in a faraway city or town.

If you choose Superprof when honing your Abstract Expressionism art skills, you are guaranteeing yourself the following things:

  • Affordable Tuition: while there are many online tutoring communities, Superprof prides itself on providing reasonable academic instruction for persons of all budgets. When browsing, the price per hour of the tutor is seen, and you can filter the results to make sure you're choosing effectively.
  • Engaging Lessons: rather than being part of boring classes where you learn nothing, we remarkably recommend hiring an Abstract Expressionism tutor on Superprof since you are guaranteed to have a good time. Courses touch on subjects that you are interested in, and they are always taught entertainingly.
  • Quality Teachers: since they are vetted to ensure quality, the tutors on Superprof are highly professional, and they boast brilliant qualifications and accreditations to back up their abilities.

We can confirm that if you have a tutor by your side to learn more about Abstract Expressionism, all the information will sink in more effectively.

In conclusion, by researching Abstract Expressionism and learning about its fundamentals, the next time you are in a museum, and there are pieces shown from the era, you will be able to appreciate them in their entirety more fully.

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