Sometimes in life, there are things that are better left ambiguous. Abstract art is one of those things.
Confirmation that abstract art is hot, hot, hot is evident from the sale of a painting that sold a few weeks ago for the epic price of $62M at an auction in Dubai. At 17,000 square feet, Sacha Jafri’s The Journey of Humanity, an abstraction featuring drips, whorls, and splatters of various hues, is the world’s largest painting, as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Influential Artists of the Abstract Movement
A leading force behind the abstract expressionist movement was Jackson Pollock who said, “I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own.” Pollock’s method consisted of flinging and dripping thinned enamel paint onto an unstretched canvas laid on the floor of his studio.
Another known artist who was influenced by this movement was Roy Lichtenstein. Lichtenstein was an influential force in the Pop Art movement of the 1960s but influenced a new and varied approach by using brushstrokes to directly communicate feelings. Brushstrokes, one such print, reflects his interest in the importance of the brushstroke in Abstract Expressionism.
This Lichtenstein Brushstrokes limited edition print sold on our eBay store for $12,000.
There Are No Rules
Abstract art is a perfect choice when a room calls for a colorful, oversize piece. Designers love working with abstract art with its open-ended subject matter and eye-catching composition that help create movement and depth in the space.
Designers often take color cues from abstract pieces by repeating a color in fabrics or lighting. Hanging a canvas with many of the same hues will make the room feel polished. In addition to home design, businesses with a sense of modernity often use abstract imagery in their branding, marketing, and office décor.
The Emotional Effect
A number of studies found that abstract art can have significant emotional effects on the viewer, perhaps in part because abstraction frees the brain from the dominance of reality. A 2012 study made a direct connection between looking at abstract art and feelings of pleasure. Knowing this, savvy artists use abstract images to manipulate the mood of a viewer and even increase the likelihood of a sale. The study concluded that abstract images are psychologically powerful.
Now people will know better than to say “my five year old can do that” when they look at abstract art.
Six Styles to Consider
If you plan to add a piece of abstract art to your home or office, here are six styles you should consider.
Splatter, Drip and Splash
Jackson Pollock nailed this approach with his paint-splattered images and drip textures that bring an eclectic and energized feel to work.
Shawn Mackey, an artist we are proud to represent, uses these same techniques. Mackey’s ability to tell a story and invoke a deep emotional response with his creations is why his works are super popular among collectors today.
Suminagashi, the ancient art of Japanese marbling, is arguably one of the earliest forms of abstract art, with the first known example dating to the 10th century.
In this technique, the artist floats colored ink on oily water before being transferring it to an absorbent surface, such as paper or fabric. Part of its appeal is that each marbling masterpiece is unique with an abstract look and feel.
Here is an example of marbling, by Montana artist Ivette Kjelsrud.
The term gestural is used to describe a method of fine art painting characterized by energetic, expressive brushstrokes deliberately emphasizing the sweep of the painter’s arm or movement of the hand.
Think De Kooning, Pollock, and Kline. DeKooning once wrote, “I paint this way because I can keep putting more and more things into it – frame, anger, pain, love – through your eyes it again becomes an emotion or an idea.” The artists achieve this look with determined brushstrokes, sinuous swirls and sheer streaks.
If you want to feel sucked into a painting, invest in a dimensional piece. These are sometimes hypnotic and elusive but always intriguing. Mysterious in nature, dimensional art can be powerful with vibrant and bold colors or soothing in neutral ones.
Abstracts are surprisingly three-dimensional, as they invite you in and as soon as you step in there – you get lost, making your way through the head-spinning labyrinths. You will always know where the top and where the bottom of the painting is in Vladimir Vitkovsky’s abstracts and you always feel like if given a couple more seconds to look, you will see exactly what is hidden there in the abstract form.
Monochrome is not too bold, and not too passive. Although it manages to retain all of the edge for which modern art is known, it remains timeless in the process. Plus, monochrome pieces are much easier to incorporate into your existing color palettes. A large-scale canvas or a series such as a diptych or a triptych to cover larger spaces can still evoke the WOW factor.
This style of abstract art emphasizes unity, peace and often brings a feeling of harmony with minimal distractions to the viewer. Minimalism art is the perfect complement to modern or contemporary décor.
Pop artist Ellsworth Kelly was an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker associated with hard-edge painting, color field painting, and minimalism. His works demonstrate unassuming techniques emphasizing line, color, and form.
I acquired this Ellsworth Kelly lithograph from one of our consignors who paid $125 in the 1970s as a member of the Men’s Committee of Pasadena Art Museum. It sold on our eBay store for $8,000.
From De Kooning’s expressionism to Pollock’s action painting, abstract art remains an irreplaceable component of modern art. Visit our online art gallery for a selection of abstract works from a variety of talented artists.
If you are a collector who would like to buy or consign artwork, we’d like to hear from you.