Abstract Painting


Though traces of abstraction in two-dimensional art date back to the stone ages, abstract painting is popularly understood to have begun with the works of J.M.W. Turner, Gustave Courbet, Édouard Manet, the Impressionists, as well as in the early 1900s, when Paul Cézanne's stylized, flattened forms influenced what would eventually be called the Cubism of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Arguably the first abstract art movement, Cubism would prove foundational to countless branches of abstract art, particularly those which lacked any recognizable link to the visible world. Wassily Kandinsky and Robert Delaunay were among the first artists to make such paintings: pure compositions of line, form, and color. While these early artists broke the ice for entirely abstract art, they were just a few among its many important early exponents, which also included Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Piet Mondrian, and Kazimir Malevich.