Abstract Art

Abstract art is often referred to as non-representational art.  This is because such art departs from the once standard assumption that art represents the real world of people (and other creatures), places, and things.  But beginning in the early twentieth century, artists began to make paintings that did not represent easily identified things.  The paintings in this unit are all examples of such abstract art.  After you look at and discuss the paintings, the philosophy unit will raise issues about what it is for something to be abstract.

Start: Abstract Art Exploration


Select a piece from below to pick up where you left off.

1. What are the most prominent features of this painting? 2. How does the presence of the intersecting tan and green figures affect your experience of the painting? The large black circle? 3. Are there any elements of the painting that remind you of landscapes? Of anything else? 4. Do you think this painting is beautiful?      1. What features of this painting strike you right away? 2. Does the painting remind you of anything? 3. If it does, do you think the painting is not really abstract? 4. How does the title of the painting affect your viewing of it? Do you know what “victory” and “boogie woogie” refer to?      1. How does this painting differ from the other abstract paintings you have seen? 2. How do the large, rectangular fields of color affect you? 3. What do you think the artist is trying to communicate? 4. Do you think this painting is beautiful?


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