American Style – Post-War Abstraction (Abstract Expressionism)

  • Everything in America in the paintings
  • Big scale
  • All American
  • Buildings and structures in the USA
  • Mid 1940’s – late 1950’s
  • During WW2
  • Near first nuclear bomb used
  • Post Great Depression
  • Cold War
  • European immigrants
  • Gestural and Colour Field Expressionism


Main Artists:

  • Jackson Pollock
  • Mark Rothko
  • William De Kooning
  • Franz Klein
  • Robert Motherwell
  • Barnett Newman
  • Clifford Still
  • Lee Krazner


Themes and Concerns:

  • Existentialism
  • Synthesis of styles
  • Surrealism
    • Rejection to Freud
  • Interested in myth
  • Reflects post-war anxiety and trauma
  • Shows other movements in the paintings
  • Inspired by other movements and artists
  • The ‘collective unconscious’



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