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Proto-Abstract Expressionism

Proto-Abstract Expressionism was a transitional stage in the 1940s in which the developing Abstract Expressionists produced the works that led directly to the later movement. On the question of influences and development various art historians and critics hold differing views. A comparison of the views of several writers will clarify the manner in which various sources influenced Proto-Abstract Expressionists such as Mark Rothko, Arshile Gorky and Jackson Pollock and how their works, in turn, led to the development of Abstract Expressionism.

Proto-Abstract Expressionism was developmental in nature and critics and historians do not assign a role in this stage to works that did not take in influences that were later manifested in Abstract Expressionism. Thus, for example, a historian might judge that early Regionalist-influenced works by Pollock and others had little or no influence on the direction of their subsequent Abstract Expressionist work and would, therefore, exclude works that display this influence in considering Proto-Abstract Expressionism. Of the four writers considered here, David Anfam does, in fact, make an excellent case for the persistence of Regionalist influence in Pollock's work. In general he sees the 1940s as a time when the painters gathered their energies and worked through their influences in preparation for the explosion of the 1950s. Martica Sawin has thoroughly developed the thesis that Surrealism, especially the work of recent TmigrTs to America such as Matta, Ernst and Masson, was the primary influence on Proto-Abstract Expressionist works -- particularly those of Gorky. But she has a difficult time assigning much direct Surrealist influence to the Proto-Abstract Expressionism of painters such as Pollock and Rothko. Anna Moszynska agrees with Sawica that Surrealism had the greatest influence on Proto-Abstract Expressionism. But her focus on the broader topic of abstraction causes her to overl...

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Proto-Abstract Expressionism. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 23:28, November 30, 2021, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1708342.html