AskDefine | Define abstractionism

Dictionary Definition



1 an abstract genre of art; artistic content depends on internal form rather than pictorial representation [syn: abstract art]
2 a representation having no reference to concrete objects or specific examples [syn: unrealism]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. abstract art

Extensive Definition

Abstract art is art that does not depict objects in the natural world, but instead uses colour and form in a non-representational way. In the very early 20th century, the term was more often used to describe art, such as Cubist and Futurist art, that depicts real forms in a simplified or rather reduced way—keeping only an allusion to the original natural subject. Such paintings were often claimed to capture something of the depicted objects' immutable intrinsic qualities rather than its external appearance. (See abstraction.) The more precise terms, "non-figurative art," "non-objective art," and "non-representational art" avoid any possible ambiguity.


The term Abstract Art was coined in the 20th century (ca. 1911) to describe a cultural phenomenon that occurred simultaneously throughout western culture. For this reason, it isn't clear who the first Modernist abstract painter was: it could have been Robert Delaunay in Paris; or the American Arthur Dove; the Russians Wassily Kandinsky or Kasimir Malevich; the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian; Franz Kupka, Balla in Italy or many others. Rather than an invention of an individual, abstraction in Modernist painting appeared as a cultural phenomenon.
Non-objective art is not an invention of the 20th century — that humans have made non-objective art since they first drew pictures in the dirt. In the Islamic religion the depiction of humans is not allowed, and consequently the Islamic culture developed a high standard of decorative arts. Calligraphy is also a form of non-figurative art.
Constructivism (1915) and De Stijl (1917) were parallel movements which took abstraction into the three dimensions of sculpture and architecture. The Constructivists believed that the artist's work was a revolutionary activity, to express the aspirations of the people, using machine production, graphic and photographic means of communication. Some of the American Abstract expressionists are purely abstract and include: Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and Hans Hofmann. Op Art (1962) and Minimalism (1965) were two recent idioms.



  1. note Compton The World Backwards: Russian Futurist Books 1912-16
  2. note StangosThamesHudson Concepts of Modern Art
  3. note Gooding Abstract Art (Movements in Modern Art series)

See also

abstractionism in Arabic: مدرسة تجريدية
abstractionism in Bosnian: Apstraktna umjetnost
abstractionism in Catalan: Art abstracte
abstractionism in Danish: Abstrakt kunst
abstractionism in German: Abstrakte Kunst
abstractionism in Modern Greek (1453-): Αφηρημένη τέχνη
abstractionism in Spanish: Arte abstracto
abstractionism in Esperanto: Abstrakta arto
abstractionism in Basque: Arte abstraktu
abstractionism in Persian: هنر انتزاعی
abstractionism in French: Art abstrait
abstractionism in Galician: Arte abstracta
abstractionism in Croatian: Apstraktna umjetnost
abstractionism in Icelandic: Abstraktlist
abstractionism in Italian: Astrattismo
abstractionism in Hebrew: אמנות מופשטת
abstractionism in Kazakh: Абстракционизм
abstractionism in Latvian: Abstrakcionisms
abstractionism in Lithuanian: Abstrakcionizmas
abstractionism in Hungarian: Absztrakt művészet
abstractionism in Dutch: Abstracte kunst
abstractionism in Japanese: 抽象絵画
abstractionism in Norwegian: Abstrakt kunst
abstractionism in Norwegian Nynorsk: Abstrakt kunst
abstractionism in Polish: Abstrakcjonizm
abstractionism in Portuguese: Arte abstrata
abstractionism in Romanian: Arta abstractă
abstractionism in Russian: Абстракционизм
abstractionism in Slovak: Abstraktné umenie
abstractionism in Serbian: Апстрактна уметност
abstractionism in Saterfriesisch: Abstrakte Kunst
abstractionism in Finnish: Abstrakti taide
abstractionism in Swedish: Abstrakt konst
abstractionism in Tamil: பண்பியல் ஓவியம்
abstractionism in Turkish: Soyut sanat
abstractionism in Ukrainian: Абстрактне мистецтво
abstractionism in Urdu: تجریدی آرٹ
abstractionism in Chinese: 抽象藝術
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