Tate glossary definition for post-painterly abstraction: A blanket term by the critic Clement Greenberg at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He titled it. A term coined by art critic Clement Greenberg for the title of an exhibition he curated in Post-painterly abstraction encompasses a broad group of American. Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden By Moris Louis, a key participant in the Post-Painterly Abstraction show curated by Clement Greenberg in.

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Post-painterly abstraction is a blanket term covering a range of new developments in greebberg painting in the late s and early s, characterised by a more rigorous approach to abstraction. Contemporary Art Trend In simple terms, Greenberg was highlighting a trend away from gestural-type abstract expressionism – including the gesturalism of Willem de Kooningthe podt action-painting ” technique of Jackson Pollockand the abztraction of textural effects – towards greater use of broad areas of unmodulated colour.

The stroke left by a loaded brush or knife frays out, when the stroke is long enough, into streaks, ripples, and specks of paint. Abstract Expressionism — or Painterly Abstraction, as I prefer to call it — was very much art, and rooted in the past of art.

Abstractioon is far more ultimate clarity and ultimate openness in an otherwise crowded and murky picture by Rembrandt than in many another painter’s clear hues and unmarked areas. Nor does it really challenge taste on more than a superficial level. Umbrella Term For Numerous Individual Styles In an article for the exhibition catalogue, Greenberg discussed a number of differing styles and tendencies in contemporary American art.

Post-painterly abstraction – Art Term | Tate

These artists prefer trued and faired edges simply because these call less attention to themselves as drawing — and by doing that they also get out of the way of color.

Analysis of Modern Paintings Developments in Europe If Post-painterly abstraction sounds complicated, try reading about concurrent abstract expressionist movements in Europe, such as Art Informel s, sits sub-variants Tachisme late s, s Lyrical Abstractionand the independent COBRA group Painterly Abstraction became a fashion, and now it has fallen out of fashion, to be replaced by another fashion — Pop art — but also to be continued, as well as replaced, by something as genuinely new and independent as Painterly Abstraction itself was ten or twenty years ago.

Its leaders attracted imitators, many of them, and then some of these leaders took to imitating themselves. Famous Painters 20th Century Painters The phrase “Post-painterly abstraction” was first used in by the art critic Clement Greenberg as the title for an exhibition of 20th century paintings he curated for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Post-painterly abstraction

In so far as they belong to the physical aspects of painting they are but means, neutral in greeenberg and guaranteeing nothing in the way of ultimate aesthetic value.


The most conspicuous of the mannerisms into which Painterly Abstraction has degenerated is what I call the “Tenth Street touch” after East Tenth Street in New Yorkwhich spread through abstract painting like a blight during the s.

For the chronology and dates of key events in the evolution of visual arts around the world see: The essay may not have remained current, but the phrase “Post Painterly Abstraction” stuck.

Another thing the artists in this show, with two or three exceptions, have in common is the high keying, as well as lucidity, of their color.

The show, featuring abstract art by contemporary American and Canadian artists – all second generation exponents of Abstract Expressionism – subsequently travelled to the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, and the Art Museum of Toronto now the Art Gallery of Ontario. In all this there was nothing bad in itself, nothing necessarily bad as art. Some of them dilute their paint to an extreme and soak it into unsized and unprimed canvas following Pollock’s lead in his black and white paintings of A good part of the reaction against Abstract Expressionism is, as I’ve already suggested, a continuation of it.

As far as style is concerned, the reaction presented here is largely against the mannered drawing and the mannered design of Painterly Abstraction, but above all against the last. Twitter Facebook Email Pinterest. What is Post-Painterly Abstraction: People should have recognized this the moment they began to be able to recognize differences of quality in Abstract Expressionism.

He titled it Post-Painterly Abstraction. These create variations of light and dark by means of which juxtaposed strokes can be graded into one another without abrupt contrasts. Thus the notion of abstract art as something neatly drawn and smoothly painted, something with clean outlines and flat, clear colors, had become pretty well ingrained.

It came to be used as a label for any art that Clement Greenberg was presumed to advocate; this in spite of his disclaimer in the final paragraph Greenberg’s disclaimers were usually disregarded. That may come yet, but it hasn’t so far. Having said this, I want to say, too, that this show is not intended as a pantheon, as a critic’s choice of the best new painters. Among the prior generation of contemporary artists, Barnett Newman has been singled out as one who anticipated “some of the characteristics of post-painterly abstraction.

They continue, in this respect, a tendency that began well inside Painterly Abstraction itself, in the work of artists like Still, Newman, Rothko, Motherwell, Gottlieb, Mathieu, the Kline, and even Pollock.

One of them, John Ferren, even retains the “Tenth Street touch,” but by boxing it within a large framing area he somehow manages to get a new expressiveness from it.

However, the post-painterly abstractionists were ruthless in their rejection of the inwardness and mysticism of abstract expressionism and of any residual references to the external world, and they also explored new approaches to composition. Some of the artists in this exhibition look “hard-edged,” but this by itself does not account for their inclusion.


The styles embraced by this term include Hard-Edge Paintingillustrated by the works of abstract painters like Al Held b.

What they created was a purely factual kind of art which, more than ever before, functioned in terms of the basic elements of the medium itself; formcolour, texturescale, composition and so on.

It certainly has nothing to do with doctrine, with geometrical form for its own sake. Greenberg had perceived that there abstractin a new movement in painting that derived from the abstract expressionism of the s and s but “favored openness or clarity” as opposed to the dense painterly surfaces of that painting style.

It grew very directly out of the existing traditions of abstract artsynthesising elements from Jackson PollockMark Rothko and Barnett Newman as well as looking to Ad Reinhardt and Ellsworth Kellyto the late work of Henri Matisse and to the targets and flags of Jasper Johns.

By Ellsworth Greenbefg, an early exponent of hard-edge painting in the s and 50s. Some of the labels that became attached to Abstract Expressionism, like ” informel ” and “Action Painting,” definitely implied this; one was given to understand that what was involved was an utterly new kind of art that was no longer art in any accepted sense.

Greenberg himself was a formalist: Paintings by exponents of Post-painterly abstraction can be seen in the best art museums around the world. By contrast with the interweaving of light and dark gradations in the typical Abstract Expressionist picture, all the artists in greenbberg show move towards a physical openness of design, or towards linear clarity, or towards both. Main menu additional Become a Member Shop.

If Post-painterly paintrely sounds complicated, try reading about concurrent abstract expressionist movements in Europe, such as Art Informel s, sits sub-variants Tachisme late s, s Lyrical Abstractionand the independent COBRA group Art Term Post-painterly abstraction Post-painterly abstraction is a blanket term covering a range of new developments in abstract painting in the late s and early s, characterised by a more rigorous approach to abstraction.

Post-Painterly Abstraction

There is no question, in any case, of repudiating its best achievements. To see this all disappear under a flurry of strokes, blotches, and trickles of paint was a bewildering experience at first. These common traits of style go to make up a trend, but they definitely do not constitute a school, much less a fashion.

A new episode in that evolution is what I have tried to document here. Greenberg borrowed the word “painterly” from the German art historian Heinrich Wolfflinwho employed it in his paihterly Principles of Art Historyto mean “the blurred, broken, loose definition of colour and contour.