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Art History Definition: Gestural Abstraction


© 2008 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society, New York; used with permission

Willem de Kooning (American, b. Netherlands, 1904-1997). Gotham News, 1955. Oil on canvas. 69 x 79 in. (175.3 x 200.7 cm). Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1955. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.

© 2008 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


(noun) - Gestural Abstraction emphasizes the process of making art, often through a variety of techniques that include dripping, dabbing, smearing, and even flinging paint on to the surface of the canvas. These energetic techniques depend on broad actions directed by the artist's sense of control interacting with chance or random occurrences. For this reason, Gestural Abstraction is better known as Action Painting. The artists and the various techniques are associated with the movement Abstract Expressionism and The New York School of the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s (for example, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline).


Action Painting


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