ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Abstract Art

Updated on August 18, 2010

Abstract Art usually means painting and sculpture in which the materials of art (for example, paint and canvas) and the ways in which they are used (forms and colors) are the means that convey the artist's purpose. Many 20th century artists feel that they can express "reality" most directly in abstract art.

Origins of Abstract Art

When a painting or sculpture distorts or exaggerates the image of a recognizable figure or subject, it is often said to have been abstracted from that figure or subject. In the first decade of the 20th century, Henri Matisse exaggerated and heightened "natural" color, and Pablo Picasso fragmented and rearranged the "natural" contours of his subjects. These artists were working on the threshold of abstract art. In 1913, Wassily Kandinsky painted the presumably first pure abstraction- Improvisation No. 30. Its forms were free, and its colors were strong and violent. Rather than being representational, the work "expressed" an emotional condition.

Billy Alexander
Billy Alexander

Development of Abstract Art

In the early 1920's the work of the de Stijl movement (named after its periodical) was almost classical in form, contrasting sharply with Kandinsky's experimental freedom. Its leading exponent was Piet Mondrian, whose art relied chiefly on horizontal and vertical lines of differing widths. In the Soviet Union, Kasi-mir Malevich experimented with geometric forms and used the terms "nonobjective" and "su-prematist" to describe his work. His most famous painting, White on White, is a white square placed against a white background. Jean Arp called his works "concrete art" because they represented only their own concrete sensuous existence as forms and colors. The most ambitious manifestation of abstract art is "abstract expressionism," best represented by the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock and the sweeping brushwork of Willem de Kooning.

In its early years, abstract art met with opposition, especially in Nazi Germany, where it was considered decadent, and in the Soviet Union under Stalin. Even in democratic countries some critics considered abstract art "subversive" (aesthetically) and incomprehensible. Today, however, this type of art is generally accepted as a legitimate form of artistic expression.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Silver Poet profile image

      Silver Poet 

      6 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      I'm glad abstracts became popular. It would be crummy if everything were the same and we could not experiment with new styles.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)