Western Painting – Post-Painterly Abstraction: the Painters and Their Classic Masterpieces

post-painterly abstraction

Post-Painterly Abstraction – The Concept
Western American Painting done in 1950s was also called as Post-Painterly Abstraction. ‘Post-Painterly Abstraction’ is a popular term, the famous art critic Clement Greenberg created, as a fitting title for an art exhibition in the year 1964. The associated painters exploited the physical openness of design, in coherence with ‘unmodulated’ colors.

The Correlations
Post-Painterly Abstraction penetrated the Hard Edge and Color Field Painting figments of Abstract Art. These works, when flavored with Hard Edge Paintings, carried sharp contours, accentuated further with flat colors. Such artistic paintings were encouraged under Abstract Expressionism. Leading art critics of the 50s and 60s popularized it.

The Details
Post-Painterly Abstract artworks were represented in flat surfaces, with thin watery colors that suggested the scenic drama, while emphasizing on the background landscapes. The art works were a combination of vague or abstract expressions and intellectual aesthetics. The artists would verily drift in and out of sentimentalism and intellectualism.

Artists
Some key Abstract Expressionist artists, specializing in Post-Painterly Abstraction, of the 19th century include:
o Barnett Newman (1905-70) – One of the most prominent figures of Post-Painterly Abstraction, this Abstract Expressionist artist & a great Color Field painter, was an American.
o Frankenthaler Helen (1928-present) – The great American painter, born in the city of New York, started pursuing Abstract Paintings from an early age and developed the skill and passion for unique methods of painting, such as the Drip Technique.
o Kelly Oisin (1915-81) – The Irish born sculptor and painter, peaking during 30s and 40s, studied many modern languages and joined numerous art colleges to improve his Post-Painterly Abstraction works. His classical pieces include the ‘Last Supper’ among others.
o Noland Kenneth (1924-present) – An American artist, he started experimenting with Drip & Staining Technique. Helen Frankenthaler’s works influenced him greatly. He soon became popular as one of the Washington Color Painters. Later in the 60s, Noland started creating crisp images with contrast coloring on square shaped canvasses, which came to be known as Hard-Edge Painting forms.
o Morris Louis Bernstein (1912-62) – This American painter was actively involved in the revolutionary movement, marking the changes in art expressions from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field Paintings. He initially studied at Maryland College of Fine Arts, but later moved away to New York art scenario. He soon started experimenting and dabbling in unique Post-Painterly Abstraction art forms.

Post-Painterly Abstraction depicted American painting scenario of the 40s and the 50s. By 1960s, Minimalism, Hard-Edge Painting, Lyrical Abstraction, and Color Field Painting formally overtook Post-Painterly Abstraction.