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Abstract Expressionist Sculptures

The Abstract Expressionist movement may be more closely associated with painters such as Jackson Pollack and Willem De Kooning, but the works produced by those artists that chose to work outside of a two dimensional medium are fascinating in their own right. Painting became increasingly influenced by the concept of “action-painting," where the artist spontaneously constructed each piece in unconventional ways to communicate abstract emotional states and meanings, and sculpture followed suit.

Sculptors involved in the movement throughout the 1950s and 60s sought to create similar forms, with similar effects, in three dimensions. This presented numerous physical and conceptual challenges, since the sculptural medium tends to be harder to improvise in manipulation. Pieces from this period all display the many ways sculptors rose to this challenge.

It is not a coincidence, then, that some of the most successful sculptors from this period were trained as painters before turning to sculpture. Often, they made pieces to be displayed against a wall, similar to how one would display a work on canvas. These abstract sculptures were based on the same fluidity that defined the period’s painting, but cast it into grand scale and solid form.


Quick Facts

  • David Smith, whose “Voltri-Bolton XXIII” fetched the highest price at auction for contemporary sculpture when it was sold in 1986, was once famously quoted as stating “I do not recognize the limits where painting ends and sculpture begins"
  • Carl Jung's theory of the “collective subconscious” is a major influence on Abstract Expressionism, be on the lookout for underlying emotional archetypes and symbolism in pieces such as these
  • Abstract Expressionism is sometimes referred to as the “New York School,” though the movement eventually expanded outside of the United States

Recommended Items at Auction

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Tim Brown b.1962 Modern Abstract Jester Sculpture
Jun 26, 12:00 PM EDT
Tim Brown b.1962 Modern Abstract Jester Sculpture
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$35010 Bids
John Geldersma (LA), Tree Shields, Painted Wood
Jun 25, 10:00 AM EDT
John Geldersma (LA), Tree Shields, Painted Wood
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $200- $400
$6008 Bids
Jon Kuhn (b. 1949), "Stellar Morning," 1989
Jun 25, 10:00 AM PDT
Jon Kuhn (b. 1949), "Stellar Morning," 1989
by John Moran Auctioneers
Est: $800- $1,200
$1,3008 Bids
Nicolas Schöffer, 1912-1992, Minisculpture I
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Nicolas Schöffer, 1912-1992, Minisculpture I
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF300- CHF500
CHF5007 Bids
Arnaldo Pomodoro Italian Geometric Sculpture
Jun 26, 5:00 PM EDT
Arnaldo Pomodoro Italian Geometric Sculpture
by Abington Auction Gallery
Est: $5,000- $7,000
$3,5007 Bids
Global Views Reaching For Center Iron Sculpture
Jun 26, 12:00 PM EDT
Global Views Reaching For Center Iron Sculpture
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$1254 Bids
Robert Cook (1921-2017), LUCIENNIAD, CA. 1970
Jun 27, 2:00 PM EDT
Robert Cook (1921-2017), LUCIENNIAD, CA. 1970
by Waddington's
Est: $600- $800
$6504 Bids
ROGELIO POLESELLO OP ART ACRYLIC SCULPTURE SIGNED
Jun 29, 10:00 AM EDT
ROGELIO POLESELLO OP ART ACRYLIC SCULPTURE SIGNED
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$602 Bids
Val Bertoia Sounding sculpture
Jun 30, 11:00 AM EDT
Val Bertoia Sounding sculpture
by Treadway Gallery
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,5002 Bids
Mid Century Modern Gilt Metal Sculpture On Marble
Jun 27, 12:00 PM EDT
Mid Century Modern Gilt Metal Sculpture On Marble
by Akiba Galleries
Est: $50- $500
$252 Bids
Akiko Sato *1942
Jun 25, 11:00 AM CEST
Akiko Sato *1942
by Artcurial Beurret Bailly Widmer
Est: CHF2,000- CHF3,000
CHF2,1002 Bids
Tony LEE: Abstract - Bronze Sculpture
Jun 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Tony LEE: Abstract - Bronze Sculpture
by Roland Auctions NY
Est: $200- $400
$202 Bids
Three Abstract Stone Sculptures
Jun 25, 10:00 AM EDT
Three Abstract Stone Sculptures
by Weschler's
Est: $20- $40
$202 Bids
Brass & Bronze Sculpture On Mineral Rock Base
Jun 29, 10:00 AM MST
Brass & Bronze Sculpture On Mineral Rock Base
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$202 Bids
Medhat Shafik (Egyptian, 1956)AlberoBronze8.5 cm
Jun 26, 6:00 PM CEST
Medhat Shafik (Egyptian, 1956)AlberoBronze8.5 cm
by Baias Arte
Est: €300- €400
€1001 Bid
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Large Abstract Color Glass Art, Outer-Space Riot of Colors
Jun 30, 11:00 AM EDT
Large Abstract Color Glass Art, Outer-Space Riot of Colors
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $10- $200
$101 Bid
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KENNETH SNELSON (AMERICAN, 1927-2016)
Jun 30, 10:00 AM EDT
KENNETH SNELSON (AMERICAN, 1927-2016)
by Clarke Auction Gallery
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5001 Bid
Hugo Demartini 1931–2010
Jun 25, 11:00 AM CEST
Hugo Demartini 1931–2010
by Artcurial Beurret Bailly Widmer
Est: CHF1,000- CHF2,000
CHF1,0001 Bid
JESUS-RAFAEL SOTO, 'MIRROR', 2005
Jun 26, 10:00 AM EDT
JESUS-RAFAEL SOTO, 'MIRROR', 2005
by Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.
Est: $1,500- $3,000
$7501 Bid
Michael Norris Graham (1943-2017), "Circulo/Quadrado," 2009
Jun 25, 10:00 AM PDT
Michael Norris Graham (1943-2017), "Circulo/Quadrado," 2009
by John Moran Auctioneers
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
Signed Alberto Del Rio (Mexico, 20th Cent.) Molecular Sculpture
Jun 27, 12:00 PM EDT
Signed Alberto Del Rio (Mexico, 20th Cent.) Molecular Sculpture
by Akiba Galleries
Est: $25- $250
$251 Bid
Harry Friedlander MCM sculpture in grey alabaster
Jun 30, 12:00 PM EDT
Harry Friedlander MCM sculpture in grey alabaster
by South Jersey Auction by Babington Auction Inc.
Est: $1,000- $5,000
$1001 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Abstract Expressionist Sculptures


Capitolium Art

Capitolium Art

Robinhood Auctions

Robinhood Auctions

Artcurial

Artcurial

Cambi Casa d'Aste

Cambi Casa d'Aste