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Abstract Paintings

Abstraction developed through the early to mid-1900s. The Cubists like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque pushed painting toward abstraction, but did not go all the way. Wassily Kandinsky was one important abstract painter whose paintings make the most sense when you listen to twelve-tone music. He was friends with Arnold Schoenberg and aimed to paint musically.


Abstract Styles

The Italian Futurists sought to make a complete break from the historic art styles, and to create a new art that celebrated modern, urban life, the machine age, and themes of dynamism and speed. Giacomo Balla's "Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash," 1912, is a playful example of their style.

Kasimir Malevich achieved pure abstraction with his Suprematist style. His pictures are completely flat and composed of simple geometric forms with solid color. The Suprematist works are intended to evoke a feeling in the viewer, completely unrelated to the world of things.

The Abstract Expressionists, however, are perhaps the most famous abstract artists. They completely broke with traditional paint application techniques. Jackson Pollock, for example, splashed paint onto a canvas laid on the floor, as in "Number 1 (Lavender Mist)," 1950.


Quick Facts

  • The International Program of the Museum of Modern Art exhibited works by the Abstract Expressionist painters around the world during the Cold War, promoting the ideal of free expression in a democratic nation
  • Popular Abstract Expressionist Barnett Newman painted large fields of color separated by bands called “zips,” as in "The Stations of the Cross," 1958-66
  • In May 2015, a painting by the abstract artist Pablo Picasso sold for a record $719,365,000 at Christie's in New York. The estimated selling price was $140 million

Recommended Items at Auction

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JACKSON POLLOCK , OIL ON CANVAS.
Apr 21, 10:15 PM CEST
JACKSON POLLOCK , OIL ON CANVAS.
by Novartia
Est: €2,500- €3,000
€90025 Bids
MATTHEW JOHNSON, 1963-, Untitled, oil on canvas, 101.5 x 76 x 3 cm. (39.9 x 29.9 x 1.1 in.)
Apr 16, 7:00 PM AEST
MATTHEW JOHNSON, 1963-, Untitled, oil on canvas, 101.5 x 76 x 3 cm. (39.9 x 29.9 x 1.1 in.)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD4,000- AUD6,000
AUD1,40016 Bids
Martin Rosenthal (NY,MA,1899-1974) oil painting
May 19, 11:45 AM EDT
Martin Rosenthal (NY,MA,1899-1974) oil painting
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $700- $900
$52513 Bids
BESSIE PITJARA, Bush Plum, acrylic on canvas, 199 x 104 x 3 cm. (78.3 x 40.9 x 1.1 in.)
Apr 16, 7:00 PM AEST
BESSIE PITJARA, Bush Plum, acrylic on canvas, 199 x 104 x 3 cm. (78.3 x 40.9 x 1.1 in.)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD2,000- AUD3,000
AUD95013 Bids
Ladislas Kijno (1921-2012) Abstract Oil on Canvas Painting
Apr 18, 12:00 PM EDT
Ladislas Kijno (1921-2012) Abstract Oil on Canvas Painting
by Akiba Galleries
Est: $200- $2,000
$55012 Bids
ATTR TO PAUL KLEE ABSTRACT GERMAN PENCIL PAINTING
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
ATTR TO PAUL KLEE ABSTRACT GERMAN PENCIL PAINTING
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$30012 Bids
TORRIE IRONSTAR - Untitled - Oval
Apr 28, 1:00 PM CST
TORRIE IRONSTAR - Untitled - Oval
by Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting
Est: $180- $220
$2409 Bids
PERCY MANSER OIL ON BOARD, ABSTRACT
Apr 15, 10:00 AM PDT
PERCY MANSER OIL ON BOARD, ABSTRACT
by O'Gallerie
Est: $0- $0
$1108 Bids
PERCY WATSON (1919-1995), Dispersed Forms 1952
Apr 21, 12:00 PM AEST
PERCY WATSON (1919-1995), Dispersed Forms 1952
by Gibson's
Est: AUD500- AUD800
AUD9008 Bids
CONSTANTINE POPOV, (Australia 1961-), Entropy, Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 cm. (7.8 x 7.8 in.)
Apr 21, 7:00 PM AEST
CONSTANTINE POPOV, (Australia 1961-), Entropy, Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 cm. (7.8 x 7.8 in.)
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD807 Bids
2 TOM CRAMER OILS ON CANVAS, ABSTRACT DESIGNS
Apr 15, 10:00 AM PDT
2 TOM CRAMER OILS ON CANVAS, ABSTRACT DESIGNS
by O'Gallerie
Est: $0- $0
$707 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Abstract Paintings


AaG Auktionshaus am Grunewald

AaG Auktionshaus am Grunewald

Venduehuis der Notarissen

Venduehuis der Notarissen

Robinhood Auctions

Robinhood Auctions

Bonhams

Bonhams