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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. ATTRIBUTED
Oct 02, 10:15 PM CEST
JACKSON POLLOCK , OIL ON CANVAS. ATTRIBUTED
by Novartia
Est: €3,000- €4,000
€60029 Bids
VASSILY KANDINSKY , OIL ON CANVAS. ATTRIBUTED
Oct 02, 10:15 PM CEST
VASSILY KANDINSKY , OIL ON CANVAS. ATTRIBUTED
by Novartia
Est: €2,500- €3,500
€95023 Bids
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LOUISE HEARMAN, UNTITLED #1242, 2007
Oct 04, 7:00 PM AEDT
LOUISE HEARMAN, UNTITLED #1242, 2007
by Deutscher and Hackett
Est: AUD6,000- AUD8,000
AUD7,5009 Bids
George Raftopoulos, (Australia 1972-), "Argos II", 2004, 80 x 120 cm. (31 1/2 x 47.24 in.)
Oct 09, 7:00 PM AEDT
George Raftopoulos, (Australia 1972-), "Argos II", 2004, 80 x 120 cm. (31 1/2 x 47.24 in.)
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD1708 Bids
Billy Stockman Tjapaltjarri. Untitled. Signed verso. H 204cm, W 135cm
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Billy Stockman Tjapaltjarri. Untitled. Signed verso. H 204cm, W 135cm
by Christian McCann Auctions
Est: AUD4,000- AUD6,000
AUD1107 Bids
WILLEM DE KOONING , Abstract painting
Oct 02, 10:15 PM CEST
WILLEM DE KOONING , Abstract painting
by Novartia
Est: €3,000- €3,500
€706 Bids
Damien Hirst, spin painting
Oct 02, 10:15 PM CEST
Damien Hirst, spin painting
by Novartia
Est: €1,500- €2,500
€1,6006 Bids
Original Singed Leonardo Nierman Abstract Oil
Oct 11, 5:00 PM MST
Original Singed Leonardo Nierman Abstract Oil
by R & R Auction INC
Est: $0- $0
$1206 Bids
HORACIO GARCIA ROSSI, COULEUR ELECTRIQUE LUMIËRE
Oct 04, 5:30 PM CEST
HORACIO GARCIA ROSSI, COULEUR ELECTRIQUE LUMIËRE
by Art-Rite
Est: €1,800- €2,500
€1,9005 Bids
Peter Max (American, b. 1937)
Oct 19, 12:00 PM EDT
Peter Max (American, b. 1937)
by Gray's Auctioneers
Est: $200- $400
$2755 Bids
Etienne Elias (1936-2007), 'Dora', 1970, oil on canvas, 100 x 120 cm
Oct 04, 10:00 AM CEST
Etienne Elias (1936-2007), 'Dora', 1970, oil on canvas, 100 x 120 cm
by Carlo Bonte Auctions
Est: €8,000- €12,000
€7,5004 Bids
Michael Nelson Tjakamarra. Untitled. Acrylic on canvas. H 190cm, W 120cm
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Michael Nelson Tjakamarra. Untitled. Acrylic on canvas. H 190cm, W 120cm
by Christian McCann Auctions
Est: AUD4,000- AUD6,000
AUD604 Bids
Emily Kngwarreye. Untitled. Unsigned. H 203cm, W 130cm
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Emily Kngwarreye. Untitled. Unsigned. H 203cm, W 130cm
by Christian McCann Auctions
Est: AUD6,000- AUD8,000
AUD1104 Bids
HOWARD FINSTER PAINTING #6,234
Oct 08, 10:00 AM EDT
HOWARD FINSTER PAINTING #6,234
by Ledbetter Auctions
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,3003 Bids
Michael Jagamara Nelson. Five Stories Dreaming. Synthetic Polymer on canvas. H 303cm, W 170cm
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
Michael Jagamara Nelson. Five Stories Dreaming. Synthetic Polymer on canvas. H 303cm, W 170cm
by Christian McCann Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD603 Bids
Peter Pepper, Mid Century Modern Abstract Painting
Oct 02, 3:00 PM PDT
Peter Pepper, Mid Century Modern Abstract Painting
by Clark's Auction Company
Est: $600- $800
$1253 Bids
HUGE Original in Manner of Jackson Pollock 45 x 60
Oct 02, 1:00 PM EDT
HUGE Original in Manner of Jackson Pollock 45 x 60
by Four Seasons Auction Gallery
Est: $12,000- $16,000
$6003 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Abstract Paintings


De Vuyst

De Vuyst

Roseberys

Roseberys

Robinhood Auctions

Robinhood Auctions

East Coast Books

East Coast Books