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Potd21 precursors to Abstract Expressionism


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Exploring the art world in America to show what kind of cultural climate (in painting) led to Abstract Expressionism.

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Potd21 precursors to Abstract Expressionism

  1. 1. American Precursors to ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM Painting of the day #21
  2. 2. <ul><li>In western art, for the first forty years of the 20 th century, the further you were away from Paris, meant the further you were from the art world. American art was far from cutting edge. It evolved sluggishly from historical paintings to landscapes and agricultural genre scenes. Compared to what was going on in Europe at the time, overall- American art was pretty fucking boring. </li></ul><ul><li>Flashes of brilliance did occur here and there and the artists that provided these flashes were very influential in what was to be the art movement that changed the epicenter of the art world firmly from Paris to New York. Yeaeeeeeaaaaaah motherfucker! </li></ul>George Bellows Stag at Sharkey’s 1909 Oil on Canvas 36 1/4 x48 ¼” The Cleveland Museum of Art
  3. 3. American Impressionism <ul><li>American Impressionism was mostly brought over by folks who studied in Europe. Folks like Childe Hassam and Marie Cassat helped popularize it in the US and it became an instant hit, due to the fact that the paintings were calming peaceful works, usually of nature contrasting with the Industrial Revolution and WWI. They served as sort of a mind numbing escapist entertainment in that regard. They were well executed and safe paintings. There was nothing real daring or overly interesting about the works, aside from technical aspects such as color usage, composition, brushwork and blah blah blah. </li></ul>Childe Hassam Church at Old Lyme Oil on Canvas 1905 John Henry Twachtman Winter, Gloucester Harbor 24x30” Oil on Canvas Also known for his awesome name.
  4. 4. Thomas Hart Benton <ul><li>THB considered himself to be a “Regionalist” artist. His palette and brushwork kept him far from Impressionism and his clean theatrical pieces kept him from the later Ash Can movement. Benton’s work seems to be highly influenced by Baroque, with it’s large scale flowing compositions and was more steeped in traditional American genre paintings in both rural and urban settings. An Illinois native, his work was coined by some as “Okie Baroque”. For awhile Benton drew and painted for his duty in the Navy and his work was mainly for the recording of daily life in the ship yards of Norfolk VA. This lead to epic scenes filled with many workers and lots of machinery. </li></ul>Cut the Line 1944 I really wanted to find a size for this, but couldn’t… :(
  5. 5. <ul><li>Benton hated Avante Garde art. He didn’t like anything that was going on in Europe and considered himself very conservative amongst some of his peers in the art world. Eventually he’d produce one of the biggest things in Modern Art…Jackson Pollock. </li></ul><ul><li>… well wait… he was his teacher, not his Dad. I didn’t mean produce like that. You know what I mean. </li></ul>Wreck of the Ol’ 97 Train 1943 29x46”
  6. 6. American Social Realism <ul><li>American Realism came from a backlash of bullshit sweety-pie American Impressionism that lasted well into the 1930’s (and still is unfortunately created today). Many artists didn’t like this “Kenny G” kind of painting and wanted their art to represent their current day America. Though they got a lot of flack for painting cities without rose colored glasses (and with garbage cans) and portraits of people who weren’t as beautiful as those represented in American Impressionism, Romanticism (don’t get me started) and Art Nouveu; they were highly influential to artists who were also looking for truth in their art. </li></ul>Thomas Pollock Anshutz The Ironworkers Noontime 1880 Oil on Canvas Robert Henri was a teacher out of PAFA (Penn Academy of Fine Arts, Phila) who, with some other friends, started the Ash Can School. This was a group of painters who wanted their paintings to be ‘realistically ugly’. Street scenes and realistic urban landscapes were a cornerstone for this movement. Above is a painting by an obviously influential teacher of Henri’s named Thomas Anshutz (who seemed to have been doing this realism thang waaay before Henri.
  7. 7. Ash Can School Everett Shinn The Fight Mixed Media 8x13” Robert Henri Snow in New York Oil on Canvas Nat’l Gallery, Wash DC George Bellows Cliff Dwellers, 1913 Oil on Canvas 40 1/4x 42 1/16 LA County Fund :(
  8. 8. John French Sloan &quot; Six o'clock, Winter &quot; 1912 The Ash Can folks refuted naysayers with the argument that ‘life is beautiful, this is what life actually looks like’.
  9. 9. Edward Hopper <ul><li>Hopper, a realist and another member of the Ash Can School is easily the most famous member to come out of the movement. Hoppers early work was in American Impressionism, but later, his palette darkened and he became intrigued with indoor painting and urban realism. </li></ul>Rooftops 1926 12x19 Watercolor on paper
  10. 10. Nighthawks 1942 Oil on Canvas 33x60” New York Movie 1939 Oil on Canvas 32 1/4x 40 1/8 Automat 28x36 Oil on Canvas Des Moines Art Center More Ed Hopper
  11. 11. Wee Gee (OMG a photographer!?) <ul><li>Wee Gee (Arthur Fellig) wasn’t your run of the mill photographer. He was a fuckin’ bad ass. In the 30’s and early 40’s, the Hell’s Kitchen and Bowery Area’s of NYC were crime ridden. They were terrible w/ murders and all kinds of crap going down. While most people stayed inside at night, Wee Gee (nicknamed after the Oujia board for his psychic like ability to know when/where the shit was going to go down) was hanging out in alleys and nightclubs w/ his camera and a police radio. When an emergency went down, he often beat the fuzz there and took pics. Now that’s some mofo American Realism. </li></ul>Charles Sodokoff and Arthur Webber Use Their Top Hats to Hide Their Faces, January 27, 1942 Simply Add Boiling Water Gi rl Jumps out of Car, and was killed, on Park Ave (c. 1940)
  12. 12. END. PARIS FR NEW YORK, NY George Bellows Dempsey and Firpo 1924 51 x 63 1/4 in. Whitney Museum of American Art  Here it comes! LOL