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Post Painterly & Lyrical Abstraction + Color Field Painting, Free Poster
Abstract Expressionism Art
DaDa in Art History
Color Field Painting is a style of American abstract painting which features big expanses of unmodulated color. This color saturates most or all of the canvas. The artists’ chief concern is pushing the expressive power of color to the nth degree. When the viewer gets close to the canvas, it should envelop that viewer as an immersive experience in color.
Color Field Painting did make a major innovation to painting. It eliminated form or mass needing to stand out against a background. Instead, it is all one, an immense field, which seems to spread out beyond the edges of the canvas. Originally, only three American painters belonged to Color Field Painting: Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Clyfford Still.
It was Barnett Newman’s Ideographic Picture exhibit for the Betty Parsons Gallery which was the beginning of the splintering among the abstract painters. Newman gathered together Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, and Hans Hofmann for it.
Eventually, more painters added new aspects into the use of color and found kinship with the original three of Rothko, Still and Newman. This was seen as part of the shift to Post Painterly Abstraction.
Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Alma Thomas, Paul Jenkins and Sam Gilliam were all abstract painters who were included in these expanded abstract groupings.
Forms in color appeared in these abstract paintings. Morris Louis, for example, made veils of paint pouring down the canvas. Paul Jenkins manipulated flowing paint into “phenomena.” Helen Frankenthaler “stained” paint into her canvas, often into blooming shapes.
Critic Clement Greenberg backed both Color Field Painting and Post Painterly Abstraction. Greenberg and Frankenthaler were lovers at the time so it is possible that these distinctions, at least in part, were made by Greenberg to specifically benefit Frankenthaler.
To make matters more complex, there was yet another mid to later 20th century abstract art movement known as Lyrical Abstraction which appeared. This movement occurred both in Europe and in America. In Europe, it was centered in France which had been devastated in every way possible by WWII, including loss of its position in the arts.
American expatriates living and working in Paris became part of the movement. Paul Jenkins was one of them.
Dan Christensen, Friedel Dzubas, Sam Francis, Paul Jenkins, Ronnie Landfield, Pat Lipsky, Helen Frankenthaler, Richard Diebenkorn, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Jack Bush, Frank Stella and Jules Olitski are just some of the artists included with the Lyrical Abstractionists.
Today, if one looks up an abstract artist online, one may see multiple movements beside that artist’s name. This occurs because the distinctions are so fine that very few are certain about just picking one of those movements.