What does abstractionism mean?

What is Abstractionism?

Abstractionism is an avant-garde artistic movement  in which the representation of reality is deconstructed using colors, lines and abstract shapes.

Also called Abstract Art , there have been records of this art form since prehistory. But the concept of abstractionism was consolidated at the beginning of the 20th century, with the beginning of the movement led by Wassily Kandinsy.

What does Abstract Art mean?

The arrival of the abstractionist movement breaks at the same time with any concrete reference.

Abstraction in Art

Everything is abstraction in the works , as if they were creating a parallel reality, an abstract and autonomous universe in which lines, shapes and colors are not what you see.
This idea can be summed up in Kandinksy’s phrase, “to create a work of art is to create a world”.

The abstractionist movement has a great influence among the artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, and includes in the concept of abstract art other artistic currents such as expressionism, cubism, Dadaism, futurism, surrealism and neoplasticism.


The Best Artists of Abstractionism:

  • Wassily Kandinsy
  • Piet Mondrian
  • Jackson Pollock
  • Paul Klee
  • Robert Delunay

Characteristics of Abstractionism:

  • Representation of the world detached from visible reality.
  • The denial of the figurative and imitation of the world.
  • Deconstruction of natural figures.
  • Shape simplification
  • Innovation in the use of color.
  • Rejection of perspective
  • Opposition to conventionally portrayed lighting

Historic context

The abstractionism movement arose in opposition to the Renaissance notion of art and beauty , still current at the time.

In the Renaissance , the artist’s talent was measured by his ability to reproduce the world around him as truthfully as possible.

Some authors also argue that the popularization of photography at the end of the 19th century contributed to the appearance of abstract art, since art no longer needed to act as an imitation of the world.

Impressionists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, such as Monet, who had already begun to search for the representation of the universe from other perspectives .
The Impressionists’ concern was with luminosity , much more than the perfect impression of the objects or people represented.

At the beginning of the 20th century, two styles emerged that began to break with the idea of ​​imitating nature, leaving room for the advancement and consolidation of abstract art.

Henri Matisse ‘s Fauvism was devoted to the simplification of forms and the precise study of color.

The Dadaism of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque decomposed the perspective of the scenes and used geometric figures to represent the elements of nature.

Informal Abstractionism

Within abstractionism, one aspect is more identified with the transmission of feelings and emotions through art.

What became known as Informal Abstractionism or Expressive Abstractionism , or even Lyrical Abstractionism .

The artists identified with this group worked more on their subjectivity , translating a strong emotional charge into their works through freely interpreted colors and shapes, instinctively. Its greatest representative was the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky .

Geometric Abstractionism

While informal abstractionism was concerned with emotion, geometric abstractionism’s focus was form. The elements of the works, their colors and lines, formed geometric compositions.

The most prominent artist in this area was the Dutch Piet Mondrian .

what does art mean

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