There’s just so much abstraction surrounding abstract art. As if the movement became its own work of art - it’s full of surprises, tricky to understand and offering so many interpretations that one simply does not where to start with it. But it is because of these very characteristics that Abstract art made a comeback - many of them, for that matter - and continues to be one of the most popular forms of expressions among artists of quite different generations.
Some art historians pin the origins of Abstraction to the late 19th century while others consider its beginnings to had started with Wassily Kandinsky in 1911. I am inclined to agree with the latter, given that the years between 1912 and 1925 are widely considered the first golden period of Abstract art. Emerging among other movements put in the spotlight at the time, such as Cubism, Fauvism and somewhat Post Impressionism, Abstraction saw the rise of the artists we still celebrate today: the above mentioned Kandinsky, Robert Delaunay, Piet Mondrian and Kasimir Malevich, with his Suprematist squares.
The second golden age is the one which took place between 1947 and 1970, when many Europeans fled to the United States after the horrors of World War II. Among the artists who have defined this period, there are Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline and Willem De Kooning. Their creation, again, influenced and got influenced by other movements, and evolved into Abstract Expressionism and Color Field Painting.
Today, it would seem that Abstract art made yet another comeback, with many contemporary abstract art exhibitions taking place in museums and galleries around the world. Needless to say that, from the 1970s to today, it has had an immense impact on a number of artists, who have used its notions of geometry, color and the rejection of representational expression, and combined it with those of other movements. But abstraction seems to have come back in its pure form as well, free of any other influence, and many agree that we live in its third golden age right now.
One of the pioneers of abstract graffiti, American urban artist Poesia is known for his experimental Wildstyle pieces. In his work, he often reflects on Old Masters paintings, but also creates his own abstractions. He is also the founder of the Graffuturism website, a movement that linked graffiti with futurism and continues to involve many international artists. Poesia’s work entitled P is a unique acrylic and spray paint on canvas, offered by Galerie Zimmerling & Jungfleisch from Saarbruchen.
Robert Fontaine Gallery from Miami is highlighting Untitled (Pulse), a work by one of the most prominent African artists of today, Julie Mehretu. This four-color lithograph print comes in an edition of 100 and it demonstrates her impeccable ability to create art which transcends several movements including, of course, abstract art. Julie Mehretu is famous for her linear work, executed using markers, pencils, pens and ink, expressions visions of building plans, city maps and architectural renderings.
Primarily based on the use of letters and typography, the art of Swiss street artist Adrian Falkner, better known as Smash137, is characterized by explosive colors and vivid lines. His abstract pieces evoke the essence of graffiti writing, executed with a variety of materials that includes spray paint, acrylic paint, inks and oil crayons. His O.T. (Zinnoberrot), found at Die Kunstagentin Cologne, combines exactly these techniques, combined to create one vibrant piece of abstract art rooted in urban art visions.
Rae Martini’s explosions of color are the core of his abstract artworks and the backbone of his graffiti practice, which has been going on for the last twenty fire years and counting. The Italian street art pioneer also makes paintings, and one such fine example is Bus, a work offered by Artstubli Gallery in Basel. It is a mixed media on canvas and signed by the artist, who also exhibited at the 54th Venice Biennale, as part of the International Art Show Special Project at the Italian pavilion.
When you see Alexander Calder’s Clown print, it looks like a Mondrian dream turned into a nightmare - which also involves clowns. Nevertheless, it is a nice piece of abstract art for sale at Robert Fontaine Gallery Miami, and the fact that it is made by such a legendary artist only ads up to its value. Alexander Calder is known for his kinetic sculptures and was in fact a good friend of Mondrian, who inspired his own shift towards abstraction during the movement’s golden age. This color lithograph is signed and comes in an edition of 150.
Immediately recognizable for his large-scale monochromatic pieces which feature twisted strips on canvas, the works of Italian artist Pino Manos remind us of Lucio Fontana, for their intermediate relationship with space. Let’s not forget that Pino Manos was the founder of Rigorismo, a movement rooted in the tradition of Fontana’s Spazialismo (Spacialism). Sincronico Armonico Nero, an acrylic on canvas painting is a remarkable piece of abstract art for sale, offered by New York’s Unix Gallery.
One of the masters of color field painting, American artist George Chaplin is often described by critics as “nature’s transcendent painter”. The visual impact of his colors is immense, where he manages to illicit strong emotions through the use of spectral opposites on the color palette. George Chaplin’s P/T is an oil on canvas and can be found at EBK Gallery from Hartford, USA. It is one calming work which features soft hues of blue, green and purple, putting its viewers in a unique state of harmony.
An ink on paper, the Oscillations piece by French graffiti artist Tanc, aka Tancrede Perrot, represents one of his trademark works. Known for his frenetic dense linear structures, Tanc gets involved into a kind of spontaneous, inertial act of creation that becomes more important than the result itself, through which he obtains a specific sort of perfection. His abstraction sometimes involves only one color, like in this work, but sometimes it features many, making complex narratives clearly inspired by the graffiti culture he grew up in. Offered by Galerie Zimmerling & Jungfleisch.
The last, but not least piece from our selection of abstract art for sale is Hense’s Untitled, a spray can, acrylic, graphite and ink on paper work can be found ad Die Kunstagentin. Alex Brewer, aka HENSE, is famous for this kind of dynamic, colorful art-making, which in his case is also transmitted in his monumental wall pieces and other types of media, such as installation, paintings and wood. The American artist aims to create a visual dialogue of spontaneous mark-making and explorations of elements, far from a realistic representation.