Abstract Expressionism was the dominant movement in American painting in the late 1940s and 1950s. It applies to new forms of abstract art that were spearheaded by American painters such as Willem de Kooning (1904-1997), Mark Rothko (1903-1970) and Jackson Pollock (1912-1956). It is often characterized by brush strokes that give an impression of spontaneity hence are very gestural in practice. Abstract Expressionism was also characterized by an intense desire to communicate very powerful emotions through the sensuous qualities of paint, often on surfaces (primarily canvas) of huge size.
Abstract Expressionism was the first major development in American art to achieve international status and influence the world hence it is often reckoned the most significant art movement since World War II. The enthusiasm, vigor, excitement and energy the movement brought to the American art scene helped New York city to replace Paris as the world capital of contemporary art, and to many Americans the zenith of the movement has acquired a kind of legendary status as a golden age.
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