Russian Immigrant from Odessa The New Deal’s Federal Art Project enabled Krasner to work full-time as an artist from 1934 to 1943. During that time she studied with the hugely influential German painter Hans Hofmann, who exposed her to Pablo Picasso’s use of form in Synthetic Cubism as well as Henri Matisse’s use of colour and outline.
Krasner met Harold Rosenberg in 1932 when she was a cocktail waitress at Sam Johnson's nightclub in Greenwich Village, &quot;which was frequented by such well-known figures as Lionel Abel, Maxwell Bodenheim, Joe Gould, Harold and David Rosenberg, and Parker Tyler. Soon after meeting Rosenberg at the club, Krasner and her &quot;live-in companion, Igor Pantuhuff, a White Russian émigré who later became a portrait painter of little reknown,&quot; rented rooms in Mr. Rosenberg's apartment. Mr. Hobbs wrote that Lionel Abel, the literary critic, &quot;believes Krasner to have been far more knowledgeable about art than Rosenberg, and in fact, considered her to be Rosenberg's artistic mentor. The bond between the two was no doubt cemented by the similarity of their backgrounds and interests. Both had been brought up by Orthodox Jews living in Brooklyn. Both were upwardly mobile and both were committed to art. Graduating from law school in 1928, Rosenberg suffered from a chronic bone infection and decide to forsake law in order to follow his father's love of poetry. A few informal classes in painting enabled him to obtain a position as an assistant with the Mural division of the Fine Arts project of the Works Progress Administration, and during the years 1938-42 he served as art editor of the WPA's American Guide.
Studied at Harvard under Meyer Shapiro.
Studied at Harvard under Meyer Shapiro.
Greek from Pittsburg…died at 50. Taught for ten years at Hunter College.
A visit to America Abstract Expressionism and other Styles of the 50s Introduction to American Art and Visual Culture – Lecture 6
American Art was influenced by European Art - Cubism, Surrealism Identity - Personal and National Social Realism, WPA
What they did: [They] advanced formal inventions in a search for significant content . Breaking away from accepted conventions in both technique and subject matter, the artists made monumentally scaled works that stood as reflections of their individual psyches—and in doing so, attempted to tap into universal inner sources . These artists valued spontaneity and improvisation , and they accorded the highest importance to process. Read more: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/abex/hd_abex.htm
Categories: Their work resists stylistic categorization, but it can be clustered around two basic inclinations: an emphasis on dynamic, energetic gesture , in contrast to a reflective, cerebral focus on more open fields of color . In either case, the imagery was primarily abstract. Read more: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/abex/hd_abex.htm
For Abstract Expressionists: The authenticity or value of a work lay in its directness and immediacy of expression. A painting is meant to be a revelation of the artist's authentic identity. The gesture, the artist's "signature," is evidence of the actual process of the work's creation. Read more: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/abex/hd_abex.htm
Harold Rosenberg: Coined the term “Action Painting” Read more: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/abex/hd_abex.htm
"At a certain moment the canvas began to appear to one American painter after another as an arena in which to act—rather than as a space in which to reproduce, re-design, analyze, or 'express' an object, actual or imagined. What was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event.”
- Harold Rosenberg (1952)
Adolph Gottlieb (1958) Tan Over Black
Clement Greenberg: An early article on criticism in the magazine, "Avant-Garde and Kitsch" in 1939 demonstrated an interest in social conditions for creating the art. The following year he became editor of the Partisan Review. Greenberg contributed a regular column on art for the Nation beginning in 1942 (though 1949). He was the foremost spokesperson for modernism during the war years. His art theory was drawn almost exclusively from Hans Hofmann's notion of the dissolution of subject. As such, he attacked art movements containing subject matter, such as Surrealism, as reversing the trend of abstraction. http://www.dictionaryofarthistorians.org/greenbergc.htm
Early Abstract Expressionism Very early works by artists were awkward academic styles They were also influenced primitive myth and archaic art, Jungian psychology and its assertion of the collective unconscious
Mature Abstract Expressionism Gesture Color Field
Major Artists: Jackson Pollock (1912–1956) Willem de Kooning (1904–1997) Franz Kline (1910–1962) Lee Krasner (1908–1984) Robert Motherwell (1915–1991) William Baziotes (1912–1963) Mark Rothko (1903–1970) Barnett Newman (1905–1970) Adolph Gottlieb (1903–1974) Richard Pousette-Dart (1916–1992) Clyfford Still (1904–1980) Joan Mitchell (1925-1992)
Jackson Pollock: In 1947, Pollock developed a radical new technique, pouring and dripping thinned paint onto raw canvas laid on the ground (instead of traditional methods of painting in which pigment is applied by brush to primed, stretched canvas positioned on an easel). The paintings were entirely nonobjective. In their subject matter (or seeming lack of one), scale (huge), and technique (no brush, no stretcher bars, no easel), the works were shocking to many viewers… Read more: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/abex/hd_abex.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_jgKkP96LI&NR=1 A longer video of his house in the Hamptons and his “small drip paintings” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otBdXcWOELY&feature=fvst
Jackson Pollock (1948-49) Untitled (Oil on Paper)
Jackson Pollock: “ The method of painting is natural growth out of a need. I want to express my feelings rather than illustrate them.” American Art Since 1945 by David Joselit
Willem de Kooning: In his fascination with landscape and figurative subjects, Willem de Kooning has always veered away from mainstream Abstract Expressionism, a movement of primarily abstract painting, in which he was nevertheless a leader . Later, in the 1950s, his subjects favored fierce female characters (such as Woman, 1950, 1984.613.6), for which he is still best known. Read more:
Willem de Kooning (1981) Pirate Read more: http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/1997/dekooning/essay.html
Willem de Kooning (1982) Untitled Works Read more: http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/1997/dekooning/essay.html
Willem de Kooning: De Kooning himself summed up [his] impulse in 1951: "Art never seems to make me peaceful or pure. I always seem to be wrapped in the melodrama of vulgarity. I do not think of inside or outside—or art in general—as a situation of comfort." Read more:
Franz Kline: As a means to break free of figurative representation, Kline experimented with a Bell-Opticon enlarger (in de Kooning's studio) to project some of his small drawings in large scale, and he made a leap toward abstraction. By late 1950, he was exhibiting abstract work that immediately brought him success. Large-scale black and white compositions of energetic, dramatic gestures in which wide swaths of paint thrust across the canvas. For many, even these works of complete abstraction still evoke figural references (to various landscapes or urban scenes of industry, or to trees or other referents). Kline acknowledged this residue of imagery: "There are forms that are figurative to me, and if they develop into a figurative image … it's all right if they do. I don't have the feeling that something has to be completely non-associative as far as figure form is concerned."
Franz Kline (no date) Untitled (Suitcase Paintings)
Franz Kline (1951) Untitled (study for Mahoning)
Franz Kline (1953) Untitled (study for Mahoning)
Lee Krasner: Starting in 1937, she took classes with Hans Hofmann, who taught the principles of cubism, and his influence helped to direct Krasner's work toward neo-cubist abstraction. When commenting on her work, Hofmann stated, "This is so good you would not know it was painted by a woman." Read more:
Lee Krasner (1972) Mysteries Read More: www.thecityreview.com/ krasner.html
Robert Motherwell: Motherwell's path to becoming an abstract artist was through philosophy, art history, and poetry. He studied at Stanford, Harvard, and then Columbia, where he was introduced to émigré Surrealists (including Matta) by art historian Meyer Schapiro. His particular genesis as an abstractionist has its basis in Mallarmé, whose dictum "To paint, not the thing, but the effect it provides" was pivotal. Read more:
Robert Motherwell (1971) Elegy to the Spanish Republic no. 110
Robert Motherwell (1961) Elegy to the Spanish Republic no. 70
Robert Motherwell: “ Art is an experience, not an object.” Robert Motherwell is very quotable: http://quote.robertgenn.com/auth_search.php?authid=67
William Baziotes: Baziotes' meditative methods required time—but also a lack of premeditation. Fantastical biomorphic forms inhabit a milieu built from layer upon layer of thinned oil paint that has been gradually rubbed onto the canvas to create a rich, almost iridescent or opalescent surface. At the height of his career during the 1950s, Baziotes produced only one or two oil paintings per year, maintaining that each work "has its own way of evolving." As he wrote in 1947 in an essay he titled "I Can't Evolve Any Concrete Theory," "Each beginning suggests something. Once I sense the suggestion, I begin to paint intuitively. The suggestion then becomes a phantom that must be caught and made real." For the viewer, too, Baziotes suggests an engagement in process: "I want my pictures to take effect very slowly, to obsess and haunt." Read more:
Mark Rothko: For Rothko, his glowing, soft-edged rectangles of luminescent color should provoke in viewers a quasi-religious experience, even eliciting tears. Read more:
Rothko's forms are reduced, but they are not geometric. Edges and boundaries are soft, frayed, feathered—merging imperceptibly as one ethereal field of color transitions into another, producing an effect that is almost halo-like. Luminosity is achieved with translucent veils of diluted pigment, sometimes applied with rags and sponges rather than brushes. In some areas, the paint is scumbled; in other places, it acts as a stain, saturating the canvas fibers. Using various types of wet media and varying the thickness of his paint layers, he sometimes changed the orientation of his pictures in the studio, depending on how their colors harmonized. Read more:
Mark Rothko (1958 ) No. 13 (White, Red, on Yellow)
Mark Rothko (1949) Red, Tan, Orange and Purple
Barnett Newman: Newman described his reductivism as one means of "… freeing ourselves of the obsolete props of an outmoded and antiquated legend … freeing ourselves from the impediments of memory, association, nostalgia, legend, and myth that have been the devices of Western European painting.” Newman was interested in creating an art of "pure idea" that could speak to man's tragic condition, yielding metaphysical understanding. To reach that state, the art would have to jettison all narrative, all figuration, and even pare down detail and painterly incident. By 1948, he had honed his concept of "pure idea.” Zips. Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2002/04/15/020415craw_artword
Barnett Newman: "I start each painting as if I had never painted before. … I have no formal solutions … I paint out of high passion, and although my way of working may seem simple, for me it is difficult and complex."
Adolph Gottlieb: Gottlieb told Irving Sandler that when, during the war years, he and his future Abstract Expressionist peers were struggling to find their voices, Abstraction was their father, Surrealism their mother — “we were the bastard offspring of both.” Determined to forge a distinctly American style that drew on the lessons of European Modernism without aping its forms, Pollock, Rothko, and Gottlieb turned to “myth-making” — a kind of archaic primitivism — to lay bare layers of the collective unconscious. Read more: http://artcritical.com/DavidCohen/SUN76.htm
Richard Pousette-Dart: Pousette-Dart worked in several media simultaneously, including painting and photography, and he also wrote a great deal, including poetry, art theory, and a host of other observations. He left more than 200 diaristic notebooks, providing an exceptional snapshot of the world view that shaped his art making. In a notebook probably written in 1940, he wrote , "Art is only significant as it takes us to the whole man and gives us new insights and opens secrets toward the unknown heart of our total mystic awareness." He also wrote, "My definition of religion amounts to art and my definition of art amounts to religion. … Art and religion are the inseparable structure and living adventure of the creative."
Richard Pousette-Dart (1941-42) Symphony No. 1, The Transcendental
Richard Pousette-Dart (1961) White Gothic no. 5
Richard Pousette-Dart (1947-48) The Atom. One World.
Clifford Still: Still was one of the foremost "color field" painters - his paintings are non-objective, and largely concerned with arranging a variety of colors in different formations. However, while Mark Rothko or Barnett Newman organized their colors in a relatively simple way (Rothko in the form of nebulous rectangles, Newman in thin lines on vast fields of color), Still's arrangements are less regular. His jagged flashes of color give the impression that one layer of color has been "torn" off the painting, revealing the colors underneath. :
Joan Mitchell: She said that she wanted her paintings "to convey the feeling of the dying sunflower.” In the late 1940s, Chicagoan Joan Mitchell moved to New York City, where she met Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and Frank O’Hara. By 1950, Joan Mitchell—who had studied at Smith College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Columbia University—was a prominent member of New York’s downtown art scene and the Abstract Expressionists, a group that, up to then, had been known for its strong-armed male chauvinism….. Her paintings reveal her empathy for de Kooning’s inventive color and line; however, unlike most Abstract Expressionists, Mitchell resisted the notion that painting is a matter of instinct. Instead, she viewed painting as an intentional act rather than the result of chance effect. Read more:
In conclusion Abstract Expressionism Finding the “universal” through the individual, Looking at “primitive” cultures Process, Brush Stroke, Action Color and Perception of Color The Cult of the “Personality” The Dominance of the “White Male” hegemony