Abstract Impressionism
(movement, 1946-1960's)

Abstract Impressionism is a form of abstract painting in which artists use colors instead of object representations in their artworks. In this movement, artists commonly use soft brush strokes to build large areas. Their ultimate goal was to express wisdom, mental focus, and inner emotions.

Untitled Abstract Impressionism artwork by Milton Resnick

Abstract Impressionism became popular in the 1950s. It was Elaine de Kooning who coined the term ‘Abstract Impressionism’. Not long after, critic Louis Finkelstein added his full definition of the art movement. He attempted to distinguish Abstract Impressionism against Abstract Expressionism, which were regarded to be two different movements.

The first Abstract Impressionism exhibit happened in 1958 with Lawrence Alloway serving as its chief curator. The exhibited was simply named after the movement, and it included contemporary artists whose names became strikingly popular in this field.

Abstract Impressionism Artwork, Artist Unknown

Legacy and Influence

Abstract Expressionism is different from Abstract Impressionism due to their dissimilarity in approach. Abstract Expressionism uses large and broad brushstrokes while those of Abstract Impressionism’s are short and intense. The brushstrokes of the former lean towards the works of Money, Seurat, and Van Gogh. Those of Abstract Impressionism, on the other hand, were more of Milton Resnick and Sam Francis.

The main characteristic of this movement, which is the short and intense brushstrokes and non-traditional application of textures and paints, were all done with purpose and in a slow and steady manner. As a matter of fact, the passage of time is regarded as a strong asset to the execution of the technique.

Untitled by Jean Paul Riopelle

Famous Artworks

The most notable artworks that were classified under the Abstract Impressionism movement are two of the untitled artworks of Milton Resnick and Jean Paul Riopelle. The ‘Black and Red’ (1950) oil on canvas painting by Sam Francis is also a good example.

Abstract Impressionism is actually famous these days, with the increasing number of works created by many yet-to-be recognized artists from all over the world. These paintings are also among the ones with a fairly good commercial value, even for up-and-beginning artists.

Black and Red’ by Sam Francis

Famous Artists

The list of artists whose works are inclined towards the Abstract Impressionism movement include Milton Resnick, Richard Pousette Dart, Jean Paul Riopelle, Sam Francis, Bernard Cohen, Harold Cohen, Patrick Heron, Nicolas de Stael, and William Duvall, among others. However, it is not surprising to see impressive artworks created by unknown artists. With this movement fairly new and rather modern, new works and names are expected to come out and be given the recognition due to them.

Artists Abstract Impressionism:

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