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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Hedda Sterne, <em>Number 3—1957</em>
Hedda Sterne, Number 3—1957

Stripes of industrial spray paint on this canvas recall the industrial city and undersides of highways

Norman Lewis, <em>Untitled</em>
Norman Lewis, Untitled

Lewis leaves behind the figure for abstracted fragments at the end of World War II

Beauford Delaney, <i>Marian Anderson</i>
Beauford Delaney, Marian Anderson

Delaney celebrates the famous opera singer Marian Anderson as a modern icon of Black excellence and civil rights

Mark Bradford on Clyfford Still
Mark Bradford on Clyfford Still

"To use the whole social fabric of our society as a point of departure for abstraction reanimates it, dusts it off."

Jackson Pollock, Autumn Rhythm
Jackson Pollock, Autumn Rhythm

Looking closely at Jackson Pollock's great drip painting, Autumn Rhythm

Finding meaning in abstraction
Finding meaning in abstraction

Abstract expressionism invites us in

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.

Selected Contributors