Major Artists and Influences of the Abstract Expressionism Movement


Abstract expressionism is a revolutionary movement in the realm of modern art that emerged in the late 1940s in New York City. It is characterized by its spontaneous and free-form approach, which sought to convey the inner emotions and thoughts of the artists rather than portraying the external reality. Abstract expressionism has had a profound influence on the development of modern art and continues to be a significant force in the art world today.

The major artists of the abstract expressionism movement are revered for their groundbreaking contributions to the art world. Their artworks not only challenged traditional artistic conventions but also paved the way for a new way of thinking about art and its purpose. Here, let us take a closer look at some of the most prominent artists and their influential works that shaped the abstract expressionism movement.

Jackson Pollock is often regarded as the leader of abstract expressionism. He is best known for his famous drip paintings, where he would allow the paint to drip onto the canvas without any preconceived plan. This spontaneous and intuitive approach was a break from the traditional methods of painting, where precision and control were essential. Pollock’s works were a direct reflection of his subconscious mind, as he believed in the idea of ‘action painting,’ where the physical act of creating was just as important as the final product.

Another prominent artist of the movement was Willem de Kooning. His paintings are characterized by their energetic brushwork and bold use of color. He is most famous for his abstract expressionist female figures, which were a result of his fascination with the human form. De Kooning’s work challenged the traditional depiction of the female form and paved the way for exploring new ways of representing the human body in art.

Mark Rothko is another accomplished abstract expressionist who is well-known for his large-scale, color field paintings. His works comprised of rectangular blocks of vibrant colors, which aimed to evoke an emotional response from the viewers. Rothko believed that color had the power to move people and his paintings were an attempt to capture the essence of human emotions through color.

Another influential figure in the abstract expressionism movement was Franz Kline. His works were characterized by bold, black brushstrokes against a white background. Kline’s paintings were a result of his interest in urban landscapes and his technique of creating strong, black lines was inspired by the bold and dynamic structures of the city.

The abstract expressionism movement was not limited to just painters. Lee Krasner, a talented artist in her own right, also played a crucial role in shaping the movement. She was married to Jackson Pollock and was one of the few female artists to gain recognition during this time. Krasner’s works are characterized by their powerful yet controlled brushstrokes, which often depicted a sense of chaos and disorder.

The abstract expressionists were greatly influenced by various factors like European surrealism, primitive art, and the tumultuous social and political events of the time. The movement embraced the idea of spontaneity, intuition, and emotional expression in art, and the artists who spearheaded this movement were passionate about creating something new and unconventional.

In conclusion, abstract expressionism was a revolutionary movement that challenged traditional artistic techniques and conventions. The major artists of this movement broke the mold and created new ways of thinking about art. They had a significant impact not only on the art world but also on the cultural and social context of their time. Their influence can still be seen in contemporary art, making them timeless and enduring figures in the history of modern art.