Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an attempt to reproduce an illusion of visible reality. The arts of cultures other than the European had become accessible and showed alternative ways of describing visual experience to the artist. By the end of the 19th century many artists felt a need to create a new kind of art which would encompass the fundamental changes taking place in technology, science and philosophy. The sources from which individual artists drew their theoretical arguments were diverse, and reflected the social and intellectual preoccupations in all areas of Western culture at that time.

Abstract art, nonobjective art, and nonrepresentational art, are loosely related terms. They are of similar, although perhaps not identical meaning. Abstraction indicates a departure from reality in depiction of imagery in art. This departure from accurate representation can be only slight, or it can be partial, or it can be complete. Abstraction exists along a continuum. Even art that aims for verisimilitude of the highest degree can be said to be abstract, at least theoretically, since perfect representation is likely to be exceedingly elusive. Artwork which takes liberties, altering for instance color and form in ways that are conspicuous, can be said to be partially abstract. Total abstraction bears no trace of any reference to anything recognizable. In geometric abstraction, for instance, one is unlikely to find references to naturalistic entities. Figurative art and total abstraction are almost mutually exclusive. But figurative and representational (or realistic) art often contains partial abstraction. Both Geometric abstraction and Lyrical Abstraction are often totally abstract. Among the very numerous art movements that embody partial abstraction would be for instance fauvism in which color is conspicuously and deliberately altered vis-a-vis reality, and cubism, which blatantly alters the forms of the real life entities depicted.

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Page 4 of 57   Paintings: 673
Beer Glass and Cards - Juan Gris - www.abstract-arts.org
Beer Glass and Cards
Juan Gris
La Grande Odalisque (after Ingres) - Pablo Picasso - www.abstract-arts.org
La Grande Odalisque (after Ingres)
Pablo Picasso
Dancer in a Cafe - Jean Metzinger - www.abstract-arts.org
Dancer in a Cafe
Jean Metzinger
Illustration from The Little Mermaid, 1914 - Harry Clarke - www.abstract-arts.org
Illustration from The Little Mermaid, 1914
Harry Clarke
Glasses, Newspaper and Bottle of Wine - Juan Gris - www.abstract-arts.org
Glasses, Newspaper and Bottle of Wine
Juan Gris
Cubist Composition - Jean Metzinger - www.abstract-arts.org
Cubist Composition
Jean Metzinger
Study for In Low Key - Oscar Bluemner - www.abstract-arts.org
Study for In Low Key
Oscar Bluemner
Downfall of Mother Bank, 1833 - Edward Williams Clay (after) - www.abstract-arts.org
Downfall of Mother Bank, 1833
Edward Williams Clay (after)
The Siphon - Juan Gris - www.abstract-arts.org
The Siphon
Juan Gris
Departure - August Macke - www.abstract-arts.org
Departure
August Macke
Mother and Child - Heinrich Campendonk - www.abstract-arts.org
Mother and Child
Heinrich Campendonk
The Creation of the Earth, page from Popol Vuh - Diego Rivera - www.abstract-arts.org
The Creation of the Earth, page from Popol Vuh
Diego Rivera

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Page 4 of 57   Paintings: 673