Definition of abstract expressionism in US English:

abstract expressionism


  • A development of abstract art that originated in New York in the 1940s and 1950s and aimed at subjective emotional expression with particular emphasis on the creative spontaneous act (e.g., action painting). Leading figures were Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

    • ‘As an artist who gained prominence in the turbulent and exciting 1960s, he was instrumental in the transition from abstract expressionism toward a return to the object and representationalism.’
    • ‘In the 1950s, with the prominence of abstract expressionism, Lawrence swam ‘against the stream’ in certain respects.’
    • ‘They combine the meticulous planning and craftsmanship of, say, the Amish quiltmaking tradition with the emotional power and formal daring we associate with abstract expressionism.’
    • ‘In its five galleries, the museum hosts exhibits ranging from cowboy art to abstract expressionism.’
    • ‘His move to Miami to make a fresh start, aged 40, coincided with a sea-change in American art, as abstract expressionism gave way to the ascendancy of pop.’
    • ‘Gary Engle, a self-taught artist, explains that the heart of his portfolio consists of images of nature that lean toward abstract expressionism.’
    • ‘It's for people from the suburbs who think Monet is far-out radical chic or don't know that abstract expressionism is passé.’
    • ‘A good painter, an accomplished art critic, and a published poet, Porter maintained a stubborn allegiance to representational painting at a time when American art was deeply committed to abstract expressionism.’
    • ‘But Bacon's abstraction is a kind of middle way between pure abstraction, which buries the creative spark in geometric formalism, and abstract expressionism, which surrenders form to chaos.’
    • ‘Yeats never made the leap into abstract expressionism that marked art in America after the second world war, but he pushed expressionism to the edge of abstraction in some later works.’
    • ‘In the mid-1940s, abstract expressionism came to the forefront of American modernism, with its emphasis on flat, all-over compositional structure and rejection of representation.’
    • ‘In addition, the post-war New York school of abstract expressionism - of which he and Jackson Pollock were the leading members - was not just another art movement.’
    • ‘Clark assures the reader that he is not being ironic when praising abstract expressionism for its vulgarity: the strength of this art cannot be separated from its ‘true petty-bourgeois pathos’.’
    • ‘The repertoire was extremely unconventional, and highly experimental; the subject-matter of its ballets embraced everything from African dance and Muslim traditions to roller skating, feminism, and abstract expressionism.’
    • ‘Expressionism relocated to the US where it became abstract expressionism, the dominant US style, in the hands of artists like Pollock and De Kooning.’
    • ‘He called himself a literary painter, and his passionate canvases became unfashionable with the rise of abstract expressionism in the 1940s.’
    • ‘Pollock was one of a group of painters - de Kooning was another - developing the new genre of abstract expressionism.’
    • ‘By the late 1960s, pop art had risen to take the place of abstract expressionism.’
    • ‘It was a transition from something in which I had been totally immersed - abstract expressionism - to the coming of pop art.’
    • ‘There is also a large selection of styles - from landscapes and still lifes to abstract expressionism and surrealist art.’


abstract expressionism