abstract expressionism

noun (sometimes initial capital letters)

a movement in experimental, nonrepresentational painting originating in the U.S. in the 1940s, with sources in earlier movements, and embracing many individual styles marked in common by freedom of technique, a preference for dramatically large canvases, and a desire to give spontaneous expression to the unconscious.

Nearby words

  1. abstinence theory,
  2. abstr.,
  3. abstract,
  4. abstract algebra,
  5. abstract art,
  6. abstract music,
  7. abstract noun,
  8. abstract number,
  9. abstract of title,
  10. abstract space

Origin of abstract expressionism

An Americanism dating back to 1950–55

Related formsabstract expressionist, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for abstract expressionism

abstract expressionism


a school of painting in New York in the 1940s that combined the spontaneity of expressionism with abstract forms in unpremeditated, apparently random, compositionsSee also action painting, tachisme
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Culture definitions for abstract expressionism

abstract expressionism

A school of art that flourished primarily from the 1940s to the 1960s, noted for its large-scale, nonrepresentational works by artists such as Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.