Abstract Expressionism (1940’s, New York)

-Inspired by Surrealism and Dadaism, emphasizes automatic or subconscious creation

-First specifically American movement to gain international influence (put NY at the center of the Western art world)

-Took off in the wake of the Great Depression (influx of government relief programs for unemployed Americans helped many artists of this movement establish themselves) *

Robert Motherwell

-Born in Aberdeen Washington Jan. 24, 1915

-Youngest of the Abstract Expressionists

-Inspired by Meyer Schapiro to pursue the arts over scholarship at Coulmbia


Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 110, 1971


The Little Spanish Prison. 1941-1944


2 Figures


Art Nouveau 

– Seen as the bridge between 19th Century revival styles and Modernism

-Inspired by natural forms and structures– not only in nature (plants, flowers) but in art (curves)

-considered a total art style; incorporates architecture, graphic art, interior design, and decorative arts


Gustav Klimt 

-Born in Austria in 1862

-Known for his paintings, murals, and sketches, primarily of the female body

-“I have never painted a self-portrait. I am less interested in myself as a subject for a painting than I am in other people, above all women… There is nothing special about me. I am a painter who paints day after day from morning to night… Who ever wants to know something about me… ought to look carefully at my pictures.”



Bildnis der Adele Bloch-Bauer II, 1912

Bildnis Elizabeth Baronin Bachofen-Echt, 1914

Aky Einnes Mannes, 1880

Der Kuss, 1908

21st Century Comparable



-part of the European post WWI avante garde movement
– 1916-
-defined by a variety of artistic forms (visual arts, literature, art theory, manifestos, theater, and graphic design)
-anti-war, anti bourgeois, and politically affiliated with the radical left
-non art, non movement
-fizzled out –> influenced surrealism
– Tristan Tzara – leader
– Appropriation – ready mades
-shock art / avante guarde

Louise Nevelson


-Born in Russia in 1899, but moved to the US with her father and two brothers in 1906
-Known for her monumental, monochromatic wall sculptures and architecture
-Had an affair with Diego Rivera, creating a rift between him and Frita Kahlo (one affair of many)






21st Century Comparable

Neoplastcism, “De Stijl”

-Coined by Piet Mondrian in 1919
-Influenced by Cubist painting and the mysticism of ideal geometric forms
-Defining technique: solid vertical and horizontal lines and the use of solely primary colors
-Influenced Bauhaus style architecture
-Note ‘theosophy’

Piet Mondrian

-Native of Amsterdam (1872)
-Father was a qualified drawing teacher, mother a head primary school teacher
– developed an intimate relationship between his art and his theosophical studies




21st Century Comparison: Shahzia Sikander/yves saint laurent


– Much influenced by Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin; also by Matisse, of the Fauves
– Took place during early 20th century (started during the first decade), primarily in Germany and Austria
– Championed idealist values and freedom from the restrictive forces and repressive materialism of bourgeois society

Francis Bacon

-Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1909
-Moved to England in 1926 upon rejection from his family for his homosexuality
– Began painting and drawing after being
inspired by Picasso’s 1927 exhibition in Galerie Paul Rosenburg





21st Century Comparable: Collier Schorr







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