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Abstract drawing developed as a fully formed discipline with the rise of modern art and continues to the present day. Its development can be largely credited to the invention of cameras. The camera's introduction around the turn of the 19th century enabled artists to perfectly replicate images of daily life, consequently causing a shift in traditional art forms away from realism. Artists became increasingly more interested in transforming the world around them through paints, pastels, pencil, and other traditional media rather than reproducing it with scientific exactitude.
Impressionism and abstract drawing arose along with the popularization of the camera. Artists including Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, and Paul Cezanne sought to capture the feeling and chromatic subtleties of a particular moment, which the camera struggles with.
While the artworks of artists from this time period tend toward the figurative, they also have elements of abstraction as their drawings turned from realistic to expressive. This tradition remains very much alive today as artists continue to explore new ways to present non-figurative imagery through drawing.
The trend of abstract drawing, and more famously painting, fully matured with the rise of modern art in the mid-20th century. Artists including Barnett Newman and Jackson Pollock began to produce works that appeared completely devoid of reference to the outside world
The esteemed artist Robert Longo recently produced a body of work replicating the paintings of Abstract Expressionist masters like Ad Reinhardt and Jackson Pollock using charcoal on paper
The Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky was one of the first artists to create drawings of a purely abstract nature in the early 20th century