Postwar American art

Abstract Expressionism

Dripping, flinging, rolling, soaking—the Abstract Expressionists did everything academic tradition said not to do with paint.

1945 - 1980

videos + essays

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The Case for Mark Rothko
The Case for Mark Rothko

Why those hazy rectangles, and why should I care? Here’s why.

The Case for Jackson Pollock
The Case for Jackson Pollock

Pollock dripped, flung, scattered, and poured paint on canvases spread out on the floor—but why?

Mark Rothko, <em>No. 210/No. 211 (Orange), 1960</em>
Mark Rothko, No. 210/No. 211 (Orange), 1960

Just because a painting isn’t full of angels doesn’t mean it isn’t spiritual and transcendent.

Willem de Kooning, <em>Woman, I</em>
Willem de Kooning, Woman, I

De Kooning painted image after image on this canvas, continually wiping it down and starting again.

Lee Krasner, <em>Untitled</em>
Lee Krasner, Untitled

Krasner severed the link between art and the everyday world, making important breakthroughs in abstraction.

Mark Rothko (at MoMA)
Mark Rothko (at MoMA)

Rothko wanted his paintings hung as low as possible, so the viewer could enter the painting.

Restoring Rothko
Restoring Rothko

What happens when a painting is vandalized? See how conservators at Tate leapt into action to save a painting.

The Painting Techniques of Barnett Newman
The Painting Techniques of Barnett Newman

Newman called the lines in his paintings “zips.” Learn how they’re made and how they work.

Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman

What separates Newman’s paintings from what a house painter paints?

The Painting Techniques of Franz Kline
The Painting Techniques of Franz Kline

Kline’s gallerist broke into his studio and replaced cheap paint with fine art paint—but Kline didn’t thank him.

Franz Kline
Franz Kline

Abstract Expressionists are sometimes thought of as solitary figures—Kline wasn’t.

Conservation: Jackson Pollock, <em>One: Number 31, 1950</em>
Conservation: Jackson Pollock, One: Number 31, 1950

Radiography and historic photographs helped conservators uncover what this painting looked like before restoration.

Selected Contributors | Abstract Expressionism