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Abstract Drawings

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.


Quick Facts

  • 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

Recommended Items at Auction

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DONALD JUDD etchings
Oct 30, 12:00 PM EDT
DONALD JUDD etchings
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Est: $3,000- $5,000
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BERKOWITZ, LEON: "Untitled".
Nov 04, 9:00 AM CET
BERKOWITZ, LEON: "Untitled".
by Dobiaschofsky Auktionen AG
Est: CHF100- CHF150
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JACK JUSTICE MID-CENTURY COMPOSITION INK & COLORED PENCIL ON PAPER
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
JACK JUSTICE MID-CENTURY COMPOSITION INK & COLORED PENCIL ON PAPER
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Stuart Davis (American, 1892-1964) Graphite on Paper
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Stuart Davis (American, 1892-1964) Graphite on Paper
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BEAUFORD DELANEY AMERICAN 1901-1979
Nov 06, 12:00 PM EDT
BEAUFORD DELANEY AMERICAN 1901-1979
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Est: $5,000- $8,000
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Dorothy Morang, Untitled (Abstraction)
Nov 06, 10:00 AM MDT
Dorothy Morang, Untitled (Abstraction)
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Est: $800- $1,200
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Dora Maar, Abstract Composition
Nov 12, 11:00 AM EST
Dora Maar, Abstract Composition
by Rago Arts and Auction Center
Est: $1,200- $1,800
$6001 Bid
Dora Maar, Abstract Composition
Nov 12, 11:00 AM EST
Dora Maar, Abstract Composition
by Rago Arts and Auction Center
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5001 Bid
Dora Maar, Abstract Composition
Nov 11, 11:00 AM EST
Dora Maar, Abstract Composition
by Rago Arts and Auction Center
Est: $1,200- $1,800
$6001 Bid
Asger Jorn, Abstract Composition
Nov 11, 11:00 AM EST
Asger Jorn, Abstract Composition
by Rago Arts and Auction Center
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0001 Bid
Sol Lewitt. Untitled, ink wash
Nov 06, 10:00 AM EDT
Sol Lewitt. Untitled, ink wash
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Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,5001 Bid
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Shoichi Hasegawa (*1929): Paysage du midi (1998)
Nov 20, 2:00 PM CET
Shoichi Hasegawa (*1929): Paysage du midi (1998)
by Doebele Kunstauktionen
Est: €340- €0
€2001 Bid
Panamarenko (Antwerpen, 1940-2019)
Nov 06, 2:00 PM CET
Panamarenko (Antwerpen, 1940-2019)
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Est: CHF900- CHF1,100
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Norman Wilfred Lewis (New York 1909 - 1979) | Watercolor and Ink on Paper dated 3/10/60.
Oct 31, 1:00 PM EDT
Norman Wilfred Lewis (New York 1909 - 1979) | Watercolor and Ink on Paper dated 3/10/60.
by Time Auction
Est: $200- $5,000
$2001 Bid
§ MICHAEL O'DONNELL (BRITISH 1946-) 7 AND 5 FOR W.B-G., 1981
Oct 28, 6:00 PM BST
§ MICHAEL O'DONNELL (BRITISH 1946-) 7 AND 5 FOR W.B-G., 1981
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £300- £500
£1500 Bids
§ Robert Adams (British 1917-1984) Studies of Movement,1957
Oct 29, 10:00 AM BST
§ Robert Adams (British 1917-1984) Studies of Movement,1957
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £800- £1,200
£4000 Bids
László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian 1895-1946) Composition, 1938
Oct 29, 10:00 AM BST
László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian 1895-1946) Composition, 1938
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Est: £5,000- £7,000
£2,4000 Bids
Glenn R. Bernhardt: Drawing, 1960s Ink & Color
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Glenn R. Bernhardt: Drawing, 1960s Ink & Color
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Est: $250- $800
$1000 Bids
Undeutlich signiert: "Schwarzer Regenbogen".
Oct 28, 9:00 AM CEST
Undeutlich signiert: "Schwarzer Regenbogen".
by Auktionshaus Wendl
Est: €0- €0
€200 Bids
Milton Avery - Untitled
Nov 18, 12:00 PM EST
Milton Avery - Untitled
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Est: $4,000- $6,000
$2,0000 Bids
A MID CENTURY ABSTRACT PAINTING PASTEL ON PAPER
Oct 30, 10:00 AM EDT
A MID CENTURY ABSTRACT PAINTING PASTEL ON PAPER
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$100 Bids
A JACQUES LIPCHITZ ORIGINAL INK ON PAPER PAINTING
Oct 30, 10:00 AM EDT
A JACQUES LIPCHITZ ORIGINAL INK ON PAPER PAINTING
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Est: $100- $150
$100 Bids
RUSSIAN PENCIL PAINTING BY YURI PERVUSHIN
Oct 30, 10:00 AM EDT
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by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
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Dessins MATHIEU Georges (1921 - 2012)
Nov 03, 6:30 PM CET
Dessins MATHIEU Georges (1921 - 2012)
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Sellers Who Sell Abstract Drawings


Rago Arts and Auction Center

Rago Arts and Auction Center

Dobiaschofsky Auktionen AG

Dobiaschofsky Auktionen AG

Doebele Kunstauktionen

Doebele Kunstauktionen

Dr. Andreas Sturies Moderne Kunst & Auktionen

Dr. Andreas Sturies Moderne Kunst & Auktionen