The first major art movement attributed to American artists, abstract expressionism is a post-world war 2 art movement that started in New York City. The name was derived from mixing the emotional work of German Expressionism with the anti-figure aesthetic of the European abstract schools. There was a push away from the formal figures and a larger focus on just the lines and shapes within the art. Different artists showcased this, from Jackson Pollock’s action painting style to the Color Field style of paintings which featured shapes and colors.
Number 17 A (1948)
Created by laying the canvas on the ground and splashing the paint onto the canvas, this painting was introduced one year after Pollock first developed his drip style. This was his breakout piece, having been featured in Life Magazine in August of 1949 and it made Jackson Pollock a celebrity.
Autumn Rhythm (1950)
A great example of Mark Rothko’s work, the color fields would often be uneven and of different sizes. He often struggled with people’s interpretations of his work. He wanted the work to speak for itself, saying "My art is not abstract, it lives and breathes."
Untitled (Black on Gray) (1969-1970)
While earlier in his career, he’s painting were brighter and filled with many different colors, as he approached the end of his life, which he ended in suicide, he made a series labelled The Black Paintings. These paintings expressed tragedy and death. They were devoid of color, only having the the black, grays and hints of white.