No Products in the Cart


Famous Abstract Art

on May 13, 2024

Abstract art has given rise to some of the most iconic pieces in modern art history.

Because abstract art emphasizes non-representational forms, it allows artists to explore and express emotions, ideas, and the complexities of the human experience in ways unlike any other art form.

Wassily Kandinsky is often hailed as the original abstract artist. Increasingly, however, I've noticed that art historians are turning that title over to a lesser known artist (unsurprisingly a woman)—Hilma af Klint. Greatly inspired by a spiritual movement in the late 1800s in Europe and America, I see Klint's paintings (below) as reflecting a common desire to make sense of the rapidly changing world around her. I'll explore Klint and her spirituality in a future post (stay tuned).  

modern abstract art hilma af klint artist
Three abstract paintings by pioneer abstract artist, Hilma af Klint, 1907.

The Spiritual Power of Kandinsky

Meanwhile, Kandinsky's art offered a kind of framework of life with masterpieces, like 'Composition VII.' This painting consists of swirling shapes and bold colors that evoke a sense of chaos and harmony, reflecting Kandinsky's belief in the spiritual power of art.

modern abstract art wassily kandinsky artist
'Composition VII,' by Wassily Kandinsky, 1913.

Mondrian's Geometric Revolution

Another big shot in early abstract art is Piet Mondrian who revolutionized the art world with his minimalist grid compositions. His famous painting, 'Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow,' uses geometric shapes and primary colors to convey  order and balance, which embodying the essence of the Dutch modern art movement (a.k.a. De Stijl).

modern abstract art piet Mondrian artist
'Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow,' by Piet Mondrian, 1930.

Pollock's Dynamic Energy

And then there's Jackson Pollock. His unique style of drip painting, epitomized by 'No. 5' (1948), captures the energy and chaos of postwar America. Pollock's method of splattering paint onto canvas created a sense of movement and spontaneity and profoundly challenged the norms of painting.

modern abstract expressionism art jackson pollock artist
'No.5,' by Jackson Pollock, 1948.

Rothko's Meditative Color Fields

Similarly, Mark Rothko's color field paintings, such as 'No. 61, Rust and Blue,' invite viewers into a meditative experience through their serene, layered hues. Because his large canvases and blocks of color seem to evoke deep emotional responses, Rothko's paintings are testaments to the power of color and form.

modern abstract art abstract expressionism Mark Rothko artist
'Red, Orange, Orange on Red,' by Mark Rothko, 1962.

The Legacy of Abstract Art

These artists, among so many others, have pushed the boundaries of creativity by using abstraction to explore and express the complexities of modern life. Their paintings continue to inspire and challenge perceptions, which solidifies their place in art history as pioneers of the movement.

Pete Stein
Founder, Galerie Stein

Galerie Stein will be presenting several contemporary Abstract Expressionist artists both virtually at and in our gallery in Montreal in 2024.
Contact: Pete Stein at