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Abstract Expressionism

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The Abstract Expressionists | "The Irascibles"

Abstract Expressionism
, sometimes called The New York School, originated in New York’s Greenwich Village in the mid forties. The term was first coined by art critic Robert Coates in 1946. Up until this period most American artists were influenced by art movements in Europe. Abstract Expressionism changed that pattern, becoming the first American art movement to have an influence on Europe.
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Abstract Expressionism emphasized the portrayal of emotions rather than objects. Most painters of the movement preferred large works on canvas, vivid colors, and loose brushwork. It is seen as combining the emotional earnestness and self-expression of the German Expressionists with the anti-figurative aesthetic of the European abstract schools such as the Bauhaus and Futurism.
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The term "Action Painting" was used for the first time in 1952 by art critic Harold Rosenberg to describe the works of painters Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning. Artists would drip, throw, spatter, and pour paint on to the surface using various tools such as meat basters, pieces of wood, or sticks, along with the more traditional brushes and palette knives.
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Color-field artists, such as Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland, and Clyfford Still, moved toward a more impersonal and intellectual aesthetic. They concentrated on what they considered to be the fundamental formal elements of abstract painting: pure, unmodulated areas of color; flat, two-dimensional space; monumental scale; and the varying shape of the canvas itself.
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