"Abstract expressionism" refers to the non-representational use of form and color as a means of expression that emerged in America in the 1940s, largely thanks to the innovative work of Arshile Gorky. Interestingly, abstract expressionism is considered to be the first movement originating in America to have a worldwide influence. Two very different sub-categories of the movement developed: "action painting" (exemplified notably by Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock) and "color field painting," made most famous by Mark Rothko. Abstract expressionists strove to express directly on canvas pure emotion, via color and especially texture (the surface quality of the brushstroke), by embracing "accidents," and celebrating painting itself as a communicative action. TASCHEN's Basic Art movement and genre series: each book includes a detailed introduction with approximately 30 photographs, plus a timeline of the most important events (political, cultural, scientific, sporting, etc.) that took place during the time period. The body of the book contains a selection of the most important works of the epoch; each is presented on a 2-page spread with a full-page image and, on the facing page, a description/interpretation of the work, a reference work, portrait of the artist, quotes, and biographical information.
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Barbara Hess studied art history and romance languages in Cologne and Florence. Based in Cologne, she is a freelance author and translator and has written extensively on modern and contemporary art for magazines including Camera Austria, Flash Art, and Texte zur Kunst.
Abstract Expressionism by Barbara Hess
Taschen Basic Art Series
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