Showing posts with label Abstract Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abstract Art. Show all posts

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Abstract Art – Some of the Most Sought After Paintings in the World

Abstract art became an important medium of artistic expression in Western culture starting in the late 19th century. The abstract art movement produced many important artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Wassily Kandinsky just to name a few. Abstract art focuses more on the expression of the artist’s inner feelings, as opposed to attempts at replicating what the artist sees on the outside.

Because abstract art is related to feeling over imitation of the real world, people are able to interpret abstract art in their own way, making it personal to them. Perhaps this accounts for why people are so fascinated with abstract art and why it is so popular today. Attesting to its high demand is the fact that abstract art accounts for some of the most sought after and expensive pieces of artwork in the world. Some of these artworks have garnered record-breaking bids at auction and phenomenally high sales by private sellers. Below are some of these record makers:

Pablo Picasso – “La Rêve (The Dream)” Pablo Picasso is conceivably one of the most well-known painters among the average lay person. His painting “La Rêve (The Dream)” is somewhat abstract in that it is a distortion of fact, in this case a portrait of his mistress at the time. This painting sold for $155 million in 2013; this is the largest sum of money spent on a piece of artwork by a U.S. collector..

Le Reve

Francis Bacon – “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” Francis Bacon’s piece depicts Lucian Freud, who was his close friend at the time, from three different angles. It is also an abstract piece based on distortion of reality. An unnamed buyer bought the piece at auction in 2013 for $142.4 million which is the highest sale at auction to date.

Three Studies of Lucian Freud

Edvard Munch – “The Scream” This piece of art is perhaps the most well-known of these expensive modern art paintings and the most mimicked in pop culture. It is a depiction of a figure with a tormented expression standing on a bridge under a bright orange sky. In 2012, the 1895 pastel-on-board version sold at auction for $120 million. 

The Scream Abstract Art Painting

Pablo Picasso – “Dora Maar au Chat” Another painting by Picasso, this also features one of his lovers with the face distorted. The painting went to an anonymous Russian buyer in 2006 at the New York auction for $95.2 million. In 2006, it was the second highest price that a painting brought at auction. 

Dora Maar au Chat Painting

Mark Rothko – “Orange, Red, Yellow” Rothko’s painting is perhaps most representative of what an ordinary person thinks of when it comes to abstract art. It depicts three different sized rectangles in orange and yellow on a red background, hence the name. Also, a record-setter, this painting sold in 2012 for approximately $86.9 million at auction. 

Mark Rothko – “Orange, Red, Yellow

While these paintings represent some of the most famous and expensive paintings in the world, abstract art is widely available and can be much less expensive. Art enthusiasts should be able to find a huge selection of abstract art at a wide variety of price points by using resources such as internet sales and local vendors. Options include shopping local galleries for new or obscure artists, buying prints of famous paintings on mass production art websites, going on retail wall art websites and even modern furniture stores online. Abstract paintings are a great addition to any art collector’s home or office and are easily available for anyone to proudly display.

Listen to the Loudest Composition - Wassily Kandinsky

Composition VII by Wassily Kandinsky is the most complex of a series of ten paintings produced by the artist in the 1930s. Kandinsky’s years of art and personal education was the fuel for these series. He felt that the artist moves the world forward, testifying to reality and few today and helping the masses move forward with recognition later. The name Composition VII was meant to mimic the musical definition of the word- a deliberate piece in contrast to his earlier improvisations. Over the last few decades, Kandinsky had abandoned lines in an attempt to communicate with the soul similar to the way music did; he was particularly inspired by the work of Richard Wagner. The painting was considered to be Wassily Kandinsky’s most complex work- taking four solid days of painting to finish after creating over thirty drawings, watercolors and oil paintings in preparation for the piece. This was particularly noteworthy as this abstract art piece was produced during World War I when the shortage of even basic necessities made paintings a pure luxury.

Kandinsky’s abstract art series was focused on the idea of creation and distraction. In the center, a circular structure is seen- a form Kandinsky often referred to as being the most like a soul. Around this piece, swirls colors range from black (closure) to gold (new beginnings). The rhythm of the painting is certainly chaotic. Without much repetition in shape or color, the mind has to swirl around the painting hoping to find something to rest on. There are minor notes of rest; dark colors placed next to each other that create small islands of harmony but they are buffeted by opposing colors lapping. Orange clashes with green and the mixes of color are not even complete. The purples for examples are more in the style of pointillism- loose mixtures whose gradient is disturbing to us. But even the chaos is not consistent- they would allow us to rest. There is just enough repetition to prevent the painting from becoming pure chaos- an odd form of consistent order in its own way.

It’s not a simple piece. We cannot easily dissect it as a picture of an apple or human. Without something easily recognizable, it leaves us to only emotions to understand the piece. To me I will always see the birthing pains of creation. The rapid rise of attempted life that dies out just as instantly as it was born. But at the center is something stable- something unique. And although new, it stands in the center of creation, and it will survive. To me, it gives hope that chaos will find an order and that something will remain living in this order rather than cold, sterile order.

wassily kandinsky composition vii

Defining Abstract Art and What it is Today

When you think of the expression “abstract art," its repertoire is quite extensive. Indeed, it encompasses a range of artworks that include using the canvas to solicit imagery. Artists, through the use shapes, colors and lines, create abstract paintings that may, at-first-glance, seem intimidating and unorganized. At closer inspection, however, the viewer forms their own opinion of what imagery the artist is trying to convey. One description of abstract art may liken it to an artist’s emotions or feelings, revealing itself on canvas. There is no black and white when it comes to abstract paintings. The characteristics of it are dynamic and do not conform to the normal standards of classic art; but, instead create emotive sensations in the viewer, encouraged by the un-detailed display of geometric shapes and boldness of colors.

Suffice it to say that art, specifically abstract art, is a form of imagery being communicated to our inner emotions on a higher level. Many aspects of our daily lives can be attributed to abstract art. Our values, doubts, passions and our reactions to coming in contact with the environment, animals or music are all received and expressed in a distinctive fashion, unique to each individual.

The artist is tasked with the job of stimulating us to interpret and express our own responses to their abstract art. A feat not easily accomplished as some abstract art will be lost to those hesitant to look further that what they plainly see – as a relationship with abstract art is a very personal one.

What are the origins of Abstract Art?
Opinions vary greatly concerning the exact origins of abstract art. Some will claim that it was the answer to a period in the 19th century when artists felt that a new type of art expression was warranted. It was during that time that art was uncomplicated and simple; a painting of a person, place or thing. A new society of artists in 1870s Europe would emerge and bring forth Impressionism through art. Through Impressionism, paintings would take on an abstract appearance, rendering object art to be more intangible. Thus, abstract art was born.


It is obvious in today’s modern abstract art, that there have been some changes along the way. Expressionism would enter the art scene, coming by way of Germany at the start of the 20th century. Several artists, including Marc Chagall, Paul Klee and Edvard Much, started to inject emotion and overt moods into their paintings. The canvas became a vessel with which the artist could portray their state of mind at the time of painting; one that was not always realistic. Shapes

would become more imprecise, and colors would be increasingly vivid and bold. A new art genre, expressionism, would purposefully gravitate the art world towards embracing emotion through painting, as opposed to tangible objects.

After expressionism followed Post-Impressionism and Cubism. Post-Impressionist era artists, Paul Cezanne, for example, expanded on impressionism by deliberately altering color and shape to more closely mimic his own interpretations of the world as through his eyes. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque would initiate Cubism; an artistic undertaking to express objects and scenery in the same fashion that the human mind brain sees it, on canvas. In a cubist painting, there are multiple perspectives addressed. A painting showing a woman holding a child is expanded on by being shifted and reassembled in the most abstract way possible, with the use or color, shapes and lines.

Paul Cezanne Abstract Painting
One of the creators of abstract art, Paul Cezanne was called the solidifier of Impressionism, one of the earliest artists of modern art.

Georges Braque Abstract Cubism
Another early form of abstract art was Cubism like this painting by Georges Braque

The Surrealism Movement
About the mid-20th century, surrealism would be the answer to artists’ need to visually interpret the unrestrained, subconscious mind. A highlight of modern art, surrealism focused on irrational and dreamlike objects and scenes, representative of the mind’s eye. The Surrealist movement is still today a legacy in and of itself and a great contribution to abstract art.

Abstract Expressionism
In the latter half of the 20th century, Abstract Expressionism would surface among a swiftly changing art world. Abstract Expressionism, a successor to surrealism, is a style of art that is more non-objective. That is; it is more concerned with intense emotion and expression of self, like that of the German Expressionists. In New York, a collection of artists that included Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock and Dutchman William de Kooning, started to push the envelope of past art movements and focus on using their paint medium, the paint itself, as the focus of the artwork. Larger pieces of canvas art soon would center on the artist’s intensely emotional approach to art. With zealous brushstrokes and deliberate paint spatters, drips and smears, the painting would transform itself to an expressive masterpiece.

After stretching Abstract Expressionism to its limits, a myriad of art movements would emerge; all expounding upon earlier concepts of abstract art. Artists like Ellsworth Kelly and Frank Stella would break away from using paint as the concept behind the art and embrace the more metaphoric and at times repetitive, minimalism movement. In the latter part of the 20th century, abstract artists would express themselves through Pop Art, Conceptual Art and Performance art – introducing consumerism and political views into their representative works.

Modern Abstract Art
In today’s 21st century, modern abstract paintings can be difficult to summarize, as the current movement is still emerging - almost impossible to classify. Additionally, current abstract art is not readily the result past art movements. Modern abstract art hints of realism and countless art genres from different periods, making today’s abstract art more pluralistic in character than ever.

Have fun and explore! You will find abstract paintings in art galleries, modern furniture stores and online.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Popularity of Abstract Animal Art in the Modern Home

Abstract art, which is best described as art that takes liberties with what is depicted in the outside world and focuses more on feelings and expression, has become widely popular over the last several decades. Individual expression paves the way for many new and emerging artists who don’t have to try to copy what they see, which can be challenging for many, but can concentrate on what they feel. Similarly, interior designers and art lovers are drawn to abstract art, as well, for this feeling of individuality. As home decor decisions are very personal, the choice of using abstract art can greatly enhance the feel and look of a room and blend well with the decorator’s personal style of expression.

Abstract painting is also very popular in home decorating as it is considered modern, cool and trendy. Many people are drawn toward what is trendy and new and view having it as a symbol of status. Abstract art by a well-known artist can really play into this idea. As can be seen is the paintings depicting animals, abstract animal art is new, fun and different and really make a statement in your home.

There are several prominent painters who have furthered the popularity of abstract paintings. Among them are Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Joan Miró and Jackson Pollock to name a few. When on display, these artists’ use of bold colors and expressive shapes and patterns make the abstract painting the focal point of the room. While paintings by these renowned artists are bought and sold for millions of dollars, the average art lover can find alternatives like the modern animal art shown here, to display in their homes that aren’t nearly as expensive. An abundance of options are available online for a reasonable price which may also speak to the popularity of this art form.

Paintings of flowers and still life are very neutral. They can be pretty and appealing, but they don’t express the emotion and energy of an the paintings featured in this blog. Flowers are easy decoration that can be looked at and admired briefly and then forgotten. Abstract art makes you think. Additionally, abstract art in the home can say a lot about who the home owner is. A bold, bright painting can reflect a strong personality, whereas a complicated, dark piece can reflect a complicated soul. Abstract art can truly be the signature of the home owner.

When choosing to use an abstract painting or another piece of canvas art in your home, it is important to remember that it can easily overpower other areas of your decor. It is best to let the artwork shine in an otherwise neutral room, or with less expressive accent pieces. This can be accomplished with furniture in neutral tones and focusing on patterns and textures that aren’t too busy. You may also want to display your art piece in a room that is not prone to a lot of clutter, as the clutter can take away from the strength and punch behind the artwork. And remember, the wall art that you choose becomes your signature, so choose wisely!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Riding the Sound of a Painting - Improvisation 28 by Wassily Kandinsky

It should be no surprised that pieces of art created in a short period of time will always fall back on the standard style and themes that the artist holds internally. Wassily Kandinsky always eluded to his respect of music by naming many of his paintings after the subject. His famous Composition line holds less than a dozen pieces in it, probably due to the fact that each piece in the line required hours of study and days to complete. In contrast, Kandinsky has dozens of Improvisations that were of a more personal, spiritual nature. In his writings, he admitted to a preference for the Revelation of Saint John when working on these pieces.

Improvisation 28 is one of the later ones that occurred while the pioneering artist was still in the border of Germany. It is shallower than his later works, in that the meaning can be more easily garnered by a few moments of looking rather than days of soul searching. One of the biggest notes in the painting is of course the humans present throughout it riding something. In his earlier works, he drew people on horseback something that was common in his native land’s stories. In this abstract painting, the riders are shown to progress in a story from the left side of the canvas to the right. On the left, we see mountains and an environment that is rife with chaos. Depressive colors and wiggling lines showed a world without order that the rider moves forward through symbols of great pain. Their boat sails- perhaps riding on a great deluge- past wriggling serpents and cannons.
Compositions 28 Painting

But the abstract painting also offers a resolution. From the harsh waves of the left, we are brought to a state of rest. Houses are built upon a hill, and a figure sleeps peacefully on the bottom right corner. Lines become solider, less broken and the colors warmer. The couple that rode the waves now embrace under the warm red sun, and it seems they have lit candles - maybe in celebration or as a way to guide others to their place of rest. Although only one couple is shown journeying, the house they come to is bordered by another complete one and on in progress, suggesting that others will join them. 

Exceptional fine art like this painting from Kandinsky is obviously only attainable for a handful of privileged, however, today, the average consumer is able to obtain fabulous canvas art in many art galleries and online venues thanks to emerging and talented artists, that may one day become as famous as Kandinsky.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Individual Interpretation of Abstract Art

Abstract art is created by visualizing a composition of various forms, colors, textures and lines. While the term can refer to diverse mediums such as music, performance, and sculptures, abstract paintings are again rising in popularity in the mainstream art world.

Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian painter, is credited with creating the first purely abstract pieces of art. Primarily an accident, Kandinsky noticed that different shapes in his paintings did not need additional definition, and had enough language in their body to speak on their own. Another popular abstract artist, Pablo Picasso, is nothing short of a household name. His ability to take well known subjects and transform them into an undefined abstract piece of art is still influential today.

Traditional abstract paintings depict subjects in a fluid structure, as opposed to a recognizably defined shape. Abstract art is in complete contrast to Realism, as it withdraws from the standard of what is known to be true.

Abstract art secured an important spot in history, with the height of its prominence in the mid-19th century. Artists worldwide were excited to express their creativity through a free form style of painting. Recently, abstract art has become popular for art enthusiasts as well as those interested in a unique piece for their home or office.

Abstract Art Painting

Seen as a way to liven up an office or home, many traditional consumers are opting to purchase abstract paintings because of the vibrant colors, the exuberant energy, and the modern feel that these paintings represent. Another reason it is in demand, abstract art is a great conversation piece in that every person can have a unique perception of the art. While many different types of art can be interpreted however the viewer sees fit, abstract art has no true representative features to focus on. The form allows the senses to filter and roam freely, taking in the true value of the piece.

Art collectors love to find antique abstract paintings at auctions, and the older ones are becoming rarer, due to the increased demand. Many art houses still show abstract paintings from famous artists, and this also increases awareness and demand for the genre of art.

Abstract art paintings are popular because their whole purpose is to evoke the human subconscious. The colors and movement of the work are said to express the artist’s truest emotions. This style of art appeals to the masses because, while it has very deep roots, it is also dazzling and can fit in any home decor or office space. It is raw, yet brilliantly balanced, and; therefore, it makes a statement wherever it is displayed.