GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)
'Violin and Pitcher', 1910
(oil on canvas)
Abstract Art is a generic term that describes two different methods of abstraction: 'semi abstraction' and 'pure abstraction'. The word 'abstract' means to withdraw part of something in order to consider it separately. In Abstract art that 'something' is one or more of the visual elements of a subject: its line, shape, tone, pattern, texture, or form.
Semi-Abstraction is where the image still has one foot in representational art, (see Cubism and Futurism). It uses a type of stylisation where the artist selects, develops and refines specific visual elements (e.g. line, color and shape) in order to create a poetic reconstruction or simplified essence of the original subject.
Pure Abstraction is where the artist uses visual elements independently as the actual subject of the work itself. (see Suprematism, De Stijl and Minimalism).
Although elements of abstraction are present in earlier artworks, the roots of modern abstract art are to be found in Cubism. Among other important abstract styles that developed in the 20th century are Orphism, Rayonism, Constructivism, Tachisme, Abstract Expressionism, and Op Art.