the house where Jackson Pollock lived.

Famous Abstract Artists

This article will outline some of the most famous abstract artists. It will also examine their work and how they influenced art history. Any time you see an abstract painting for sale or on the wall of a home or business, chances are pretty good that the artist has been somehow influence by a previous artists. These artists are famous because they contributed to the evolution of art history through an innovative use of materials or subject matter.


Famous abstract artists are the ones that are seen as leaders of their particular movements. The following artists are collected extensively throughout the world. Many of the leading art museums that have collections of modern art will likely  own at least one work by these artists. You could see the original works at places like the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim. Many of these original works by these artists are huge! some over 15 feet wide. The massive scale of these works helps to amplify the intensity of their emotion.


Most famous for his large scale works that manipulate color and light to convey and evoke raw human emotion. Mark Rothko used thinned oil paint that was stained into the canvas to create solid areas of color that seem to fade into each other. This creates a glowing effect that amplifies the intensity of each color. He also considered and explored the effects of different combinations of colors and the emotions they could convey. His paintings encompass the wide range of human emotions and are deeply rooted in the human condition.


Jackson Pollock created very large scale works that possessed an intense energy. He created his signature drip paintings by laying the canvas down on the floor and dripping metal paint for stoves directly onto the raw canvas surface. The unique properties of this type of paint allowed him to trace his movement as throughout the act of creation. This technique came to be known as action painting as it was essentially a trace of the “action” of the artist as he created to painting.

If you would like to know more about Pollock and his drip technique the read more about one of his most famous paintings: Convergence.


Piet Mondrian was famous more reducing visual art to its bare essence. He is one of the more well known of the famous abstract artists. His reduction of painting to line and color was ground breaking at the time. He would create beautiful works with the simplest of means. He was able to create complex and intense artworks by only using a white ground, square black lines, and square areas of the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. While these art works appear to be totally flat areas of color, if you look closely at the originals, a painterly application of color is evident: you can see the artists hand in his brush strokes and the texture of the oil paint itself.


Robert Motherwell created large scale, epic, and dramatic images and was one of the key players in the movement of abstract expressionism. He used the surrealist technique of “automatic drawing” to create a new american form of painting. Automatic drawing focused on allowing the subconscious part of the brain to drive the direction of an artwork. Motherwell his most famous for his series of paintings “Elegy to the Spanish Republic” which were created in honour of the Spanish Civil War.


Franz Kline create works that emphasized the human hand in the creation of the artwork. Perhaps he is less well known then some of the other famous abstract artists like Rothko and Pollock. Early in his career he discovered a technique where he would blow up small drawings of various objects on an overhead projector to a massive scale. The zoomed in works created compositions that evoked a huge amount of feeling and almost put you in the artist’s brush stroke. There is a great amount to reference to eastern calligraphy in his work. He tried to convey a sense of spontaneity, although he felt in order for this to be successful he would have to practice it. In order to do this he created a great number of small scale preparatory drawings for his large work.


Arshile Gorky was a huge influence on all of the above artists. His style of lyrical abstraction paved the way for the Abstract expressionists and the action painters. Gorky was famous for combining spontaneous and energetic brush work with a highly personal vocabulary of signs and images that evolved from surrealists like Joan Miro.


One of most well know of the famous abstract artists in this article, Willem de Kooning create a highly original style that is influential to this day. Early on in his career he was back and forth between realistic depictions and abstraction. He was able to combine these two opposites to create a style that perfectly synthesized the two. His best works, like his “Woman” series are known for their ability to overlap and intertwine the background and foreground together. His work is very expressive and bold brushstrokes and a thick impasto of oil paint is a hallmark of his technique. This allows his works to create deep feelings in the viewer as if they can almost feel de Koonings presence.


Morris Louis’s work is more recent then most of the earlier artists’. He was deeply influenced by many of them in particular Rothko and Pollock. He combined Rothko’s use of bands of color and Pollocks drip techniqe to create a revolutionary style of art. His would pour “bands” of solid color on a slightly inclined canvas. The paint would flow from one edge of the canvas to the other and create several stripes of pure color. The ares in between the stripes would bleed together and create an almost infinite number of mixes. The artists ability to control the free flowing of the painting was (and in still is) remarkable.


It is near impossible to decide who is the best or most influential abstract artist. Most of these artists were highly skilled at conveying emotion through their paintings. They all created highly original work that has a firm place in art history. They also all created some of the most beautiful paintings ever done. If you are looking to display an artwork by one of these famous artists then we suggest you check out: Buy Abstract posters and prints at