Since the World War II the paintings’ movement had gathered considerable momentum. The political realities of the time- from 1943 to early 1950s- the War, the Holocaust in Europe, the apparent threat of the world destruction by atomic bomb, the conservative reaction of McCarthyism in United States and even intensified hurly burly of city life-resulted in a movement called Abstract Expressionism. Abstract Expressionism combined two tendencies already evident in the twentieth century; the drive to create totally abstract works and express emotion through the use of brilliant colors. The leading figure of this new painting style was Jackson Pollock, who produced his large works by dribbling strands of paint on the canvas, involving his whole body in the activity and creating sensations of sparkling energy and movement. The term “Action Painting” was coined to describe how Pollock worked. Pollock felt, he could become emotionally involved with his work and through it communicate his emotions to the viewer. A more violent and intense form of Action
Painting was devised by Willem de Kooning from whose seeming destruction of form gradually emerged a bodily image.
During the fifties, older and younger artists alike were affected by the trend towards discarding all standards of form. Mark Rothko developed a uniquely personal, reserved, almost mystical mode of painting in which colors interacted as they appeared to shift in space.In this geometrical abstraction, a clarity of design appeared, together with the use of flickering effects of color. The example of Abstract expressionism was followed within a short time by artists all over the world. In Great Britain, abstract art took on fresh importance when new relationships of form and color were highlighted in two and three dimensions. A number of painters in Belgium, Holland and Denmark added the aggressive aspects of Abstract Expressionism to their own versions of Northern-European Expressionism. Again, in
Germany and Italy there also emerged followers of the new fashion who strove to express their own feelings through unobstructed out-pouring in paint. This led to matter painting in which very thick layers of paint, mixed with plaster and manipulated on the surface of the canvas. At
the height of popularity of Abstract Expressionism worldwide, the fashion was swept aside and interest
turned in the appearance of Pop-Art.