Styles & Periods

Styles & Periods

Post-Painterly Abstraction

In the 1960s the influential curator Clement Greenberg mounted a show titled “Post-Painterly Abstraction” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This was the first formalization of the term, which came to mean painting that veered away from the dense compositions and gestural brushstrokes of the Abstract Expressionists, and towards compositions of clarity and openness. Post-Painterly Abstraction is the most inclusive term for this new direction of painting that came to include Color-Field painting, Hard-Edge painting, and others. Generally the painters of these movements distilled the active, expressive strokes of Abstract Expressionism into broad planes of color that were just as emotionally charged. This reinvention of abstract painting breathed new life into the modern painting tradition by eliminating fantasy, object and figuration from compositions. Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Ellsworth Kelly, Mark Rothko, Frank Stella and Jules Olitski, while having disparate styles, are all considered part of Post-Painterly Abstraction.

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