Abstraction in Art
Abstraction is the act of drawing out the essential qualities in a thing. Pablo Picasso is one artist who mastered this style of painting. Pablo’s father was a painter, and this influenced Pablo’s career choice of becoming a painter. He started studying Art aged eleven, and some of his notable influencers include Edvard Munch, Paul Cezanne, and Henri Rousseau. One of the famous works of Pablo Picasso, The Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (“The Young Women of Avignon”), which was painted in the year 1907, is not only considered as Picasso’s most innovative work but also one of the most revolutionary works of modern art. The painting depicts five nude women who are clearly prostitutes in a brothel, facing the viewer. The women are not interacting with one another. The image depicts a painting of two women in the act of raising the curtains while the other three strike seductive and sensual poses. The painting clearly emphasizes Pablo’s sexual intent. Additionally, he was a pioneer of the cubism movement. The works of Picasso have influenced several painters such as Henri Matisse and Francisco Goya.
Henri Matisse is another artist whose abstract depiction of nature has set new standards in painting. He was a member of the Fauvism movement, and he described Fauvism as construction by colored surfaces. According to Johnson (2010), “the painting titled the Red Studio, which was painted in the year 1911, is covered in a deep, cool, rich red, which contains slight variations within it but does not change in hue or saturation to denote the changing planes of the room.” Paul Signac and Cezanne are some of the notable influencers of Henri Matisse’s artworks. Besides, Wassily Kandinsky is one of the pioneers of modern abstract art. In his book titled Über das Geistige inder Kunst that was published in 1912, the painter, Kandinsky, constantly speaks of inner necessity as alone determining the choice of elements, just as inner freedom, he tells us, is the sole criterion in ethics (Schapiro, 1937). Furthermore, Kandinsky is a founder of Abstract Expressionism and Color field painting. Notable influencers of his work include Claude Monet and Alexei Jawlensky.
Jason Pollock was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement (Pollock, 2003). He attended the Art Students League of New York, which was run by Thomas Hart Benton who became one of the influencers of Pollock’s art style. The painting, Autumn Rhythm, which was done in 1950, uses pour and drip techniques which rely on a linear structure. By observing the painting, one can see that there are no simple shapes at all. Moreover, the painting showcases nature not only in its title but also in the coloring.
Another artist who expressed his art using abstraction is the Russian Kazimir Malevich. He is credited as being the pioneer of geometric abstract art. The painting titled Black Square, which he painted using oil on canvas in the year 1915, is one of his renowned art piece. Malevich saw the artist not as imitating the forms and shapes of nature, but as creating his own natural like forms: “An artist is given talent in order that he may present to life his share of creation and swell the current of life, so versatile”(Crowther, 2012). According to Malevich (2018), “In the Black Square, a seemingly simple black square belies the magnitude of feeling which the work represents while the white background emphasizes on nothingness.” Moreover, Malevich is credited as the founder of Suprematism, which is a type of Abstract art.
Schapiro, M. (1937). Nature of Abstract Art (pp. 185-86). American Marxist Association.
Pollock, J., & Robertson, B. (2003). Jackson Pollock. Polígrafa.
Malevich, K. (2018). Black Square. Retrieved from http://www.kazimirmalevich.net/black-square/
Johnson, A. (2010). Henri Mattise’s” The Red Studio”: Art as Real/The World as Illusion.
Crowther, P., & Wünsche, I. (Eds.). (2012). Meanings of Abstract Art: Between Nature and Theory (Vol. 2). Routledge.