The ineffable language of paint
Abstract expressionism—the non-representational use of paint as a means of personal expression—emerged in America in the 1940s, inspired by the innovative work of Arshile Gorky. Considered the first art movement originating in the Americas to have a worldwide influence, abstract expressionism spawned two very different sub-categories: action painting (exemplified by Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock) and color field painting, made most famous by Mark Rothko. Abstract expressionists strove to express emotions and ideas directly on canvas via color, form and texture—the quality of brushstrokes and other marks, the dripping of paint, for example—while embracing accident and chance, and celebrating the very act of painting.
Featured artists: William Baziotes, Helen Frankenthaler, Arshile Gorky, Adolph Gottlieb, Philip Guston, Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, David Smith, Theodoros Stamos, Clyfford Still, Mark Tobey, Bradley Walter Tomlin