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  • Writer's pictureVishakha

3 Most Famous Abstract Painters in the History of Art

Abstract art has its origins in the 19th century and it gained momentum in the early 20th century. Many famous abstract painters emerged during this period who challenged the conventional art traditions relying upon representative forms. Unlike figurative art, this school of art focuses on expressing through colors, lines, shapes, tones, and patterns. This dynamic school has become a significant part of contemporary art and has been attracting both artists and collectors alike.

Aquarelle Abstriate - Abstract art by a famous abstract painter

If you are also someone who has been mesmerized by this incredible art style, you will love this article. Today we are going to explore some very popular abstract artists who have made significant contributions in its development. 

1. Wassily Kandinsky

A Russian-born artist, Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky is known as the father of abstract art. He was one of the pioneers of the pure abstract movement that started in the early 20th Century. The aim was to make visual art a universal language to evoke emotions in the viewers without copying from nature. Kandinsky wanted to represent his transcendental depths and emotional experiences through his art – his inner necessity to express.

Composiiton X - a painting by famous abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky

Most of his works show a heavy use of color because of his belief that they play a key role in establishing a spiritual connection with the viewer. His interest in abstraction was born when he found one of his paintings in his studio, hanging upside down. He stared at it before he could finally recognize his own painting. It was then that he realized the true potential of abstraction. 

Aquarelle Abstriate, a watercolor painting, was considered his first abstract work, but there is no concrete proof to support it. However, his most popular works include Composition X, part of a ten-painting series, and Yellow-Red-Blue among others. His abstract art was inspired by music which is why he named his more detailed works – Composition. He called his other impromptu works Improvisations.

2. Piet Mondrian

The next artist on the list, Piet Mondrian, has played a significant role in the development of modern abstract art. Owing to his contributions, his name has now become synonymous with modernism. He started his career as an artist by creating landscape paintings. However, those artworks could never leave behind an indelible mark because they severely lacked realism. 

Broadway Boogie Woogie by famous abstract painter Piet Mondrian

Mondrian’s shift to abstract painting was a result of his participation in occult practices and active engagement with spiritualism. Incorporating his spiritual beliefs of the harmonious cosmos, his style moved from realist depictions to focusing on harmonious compositions. His works became a carrier of his spiritual beliefs.

Piet Mondrian is now best known for his paintings based on grid patterns depicted with precise mathematical accuracy. He also limited his color palette to just the three primary colors, along with black and white to create those works. His artworks Broadway Boogie Woogie and Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow, are two of the most impactful works of this famous abstract painter. 

His newfound abstract painting style also led to his founding of the Neoplasticism movement. It was a Dutch art movement, also known as Di Stijl that advocated for pure abstraction. It is a complete rejection of any art practice that incorporates visual reality as its subject matter in art. 

3. Kazimir Malevich

Soon after Mondrian and Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich stepped forward to reject representational paintings and embrace abstract artworks. He is another one of the pioneers of abstraction who believed in the power of using geometric patterns in art. Before moving to abstractionism, his early works show the influence of impressionism, symbolism, fauvism, and also cubism. Malevich also founded his own abstract art movement — ‘Suprematism’ during the First World War. 

Black Square Painting by famous abstract painter Kazimir Malevich

He wanted to free art from the ‘meaningless burden’ of visually depicting real-world objects. They wanted to shift the supremacy of art to the pure artistic feelings derived from its creation. The Suprematists focused on creating the ‘zero degree’ of painting — the extreme point beyond which art would cease to be art anymore. They also considered it to be the ultimate essence of art, which had no representational element of the worldly objects.

His abstract works mainly consisted of geometric patterns and limited use of primary colors. His painting, ‘Black Square’ is considered a seminal piece in the development of abstract painting. It is also the true representation of zero degree as described by the artist.

These Famous Abstract Painters Shaped Abstraction

Artists throughout history have contributed to abstraction with the core motive of freeing art from the visual depiction of objects. While there have been several such artists, these three famous abstract painters have been the pioneers of the movement.

They inspired artists to shift from representational works to an extent where the upcoming artists have tried to study, decode, and copy their masterpieces. They also taught the world the importance of abstract art, and gave it an irreplaceable status in contemporary and upcoming times.

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