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American Art Movements

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FC: American Art Movements

1: Tonalism 1880-1920

3: Tonalism was an American art movement that began in the 1870s, but did not become known as an art movement until the 1880s. It was originated by the French Barbizon movement, which was a movement in France towards the realist aspect of art. Tonalism is known for its use of a color tone and monochromatic colors to create its imagery and poetic visual. There are no contrasts between different colors on the opposite sides of the color spectrum. Rather, the colors are more analogous and similar to create the mood, and the analogous tones and hints of a color are used to create unity in the image. Tonalist paintings are usually of twilight and dusk containing poetic landscapes and moonlit nights with atmospheric conditions of fog, mist, rain, which can be seen by the texture created by the paint and brush. They may also be more portrait-styled paintings with simplified figures who are usually alone and silently contemplating showing somber emotions.

4: Ashcan School 1907

7: The Ashcan School movement began by a group known as “The Eight.” This main principles of the group included William glackens, John French Sloan, George Luks, and Everett Shinn. It was a realistic art movement that portrayed New York’s poorer life. It captured the granular city full of immigrants and the poor as well as spontaneous movements in a typical day. Some painted just regular portraits, while others portrayed scenes of the city life and entertainment, such as wrestling matches. Ironically, it is described as a “conservative” style that wanted to break away from normal art during that time. As can be seen from the paintings the style of this movement sprouted out of art styles before it. It is obvious that impressionism influence their style of art because of the obvious brush strokes and movement that create the scene, and their realism isn’t rock, solid realism. Rather, there’s an aspect that creates a more cartoonish style with an esque of fine art. Some tonalism can be seen in it as well because many of their paintings have the same color tones being used although some do have contrasting colored scenes.

9: Synchromism 1912

10: Synchromism was a one of the early abstract art movements in America. It shied away from the “normal” art of actual figures, scenes, and objects, but rather created compositions that can be related to a type of cubism. Stanton Macdonald Wright and Morgan Russel created this movement, combining it with the principles of music. They compared to music in that the painter’s colors and the composer’s notes were similar in that they could be arranged in a compatible order to create a harmonious piece of art or music. With this, pieces of synchromism usually obtain a sequence of rhythmic patterns that moves the eye throughout the piece. One way of creating this movement is usually the encasement of a vortex to create a “whirlpool” of shapes that outcast the surrounding circle.

11: We spent the day with elephants!

13: A lot of their works are related to other styles of art such as cubism, impressionism, and fauvism. Cubism was made known by Pablo Picasso. This style used more geometric shapes than organic curves to convey figures and scenes. However, they are similar in that they used shapes and lines to create distinct shapes that united to form one thing. | Impressionist influences can be seen by the visible brush strokes and the massed layers of colors that are placed next to each other, and that characteristic of visible brush strokes also shows that fauvism may also had influenced this style of art. Fauvism was a french art movement that contained pieces of distinct color contrasts with large layers of one color in an area of paintings.

15: Precisionism 1920

17: LONGTAIL BOATS OFF THE COAST OF MAYA BAY | November 13 | Precisionism was an art movement that could be considered as one of the coincidental art movements in American history. This was an art movement that was not planned or organized by a group of people with common views and goals. Rather, it was the coincidence of their similar styles of work that made them join and work together because of their similar styles. At first, there wasn’t a name to organize this group of artists from others. They were first called the “Immaculates” and then the “modern classicist” throughout the 1920s. However, they were not given their true name until Alfred H. Barr, the Director of the Museum of Modern Art, named them as Precisionists.

18: Their style was one of the more distinct styles because it was more simple in nature. They contained basic shapes that were clearly outlined to create the smooth silhouettes of the landscape that they were trying to capture, and this style focused more on the form and dimensions of the object rather than the complexity of what was being shown. They distanced themselves from European styles and influences by selecting their focus on American landscapes and culture. Skyscrapers and buildings of urban settings were a huge focus of their styles.

19: Architecture of steel mills, coal mines, and factories were seen in many of their paintings as well. This isolation to focus only on American society was important because they began after the WWI where America had begun to politically isolate themselves from international affairs. With that, it was one of the movements not just focusing on the evolution of art, but also the revitalization of America’s national identity.

20: Abstract Expressionism, Post WWII

21: Abstract expressionism took part after World War II. Majority of the major artists were young people who wanted to express their concerns over the bombastic actions and the future of humankind. The effects of the war left many individuals concerned and their emotions flustered. Finding ways to express themselves was difficult to find in the realms of realism. The portraits of somber human beings and lonely figures would not cut it. Paintings and art forms then lacked a specific objective or obvious event to focus on the directness of expression.

22: Therefore, abstraction of figures, shapes, and lines was a new institution that allowed each artist to clearly emphasize the emotions of the piece and to showcase the artist’s authentic identity. Each abstraction would be an adventure into the world of imagination as created by the artist. | A major player in this movement was Jackson Pollock. His style of paint dripping led him to be in the limelight. His creations that were made without brushes and utensils awed the conventional art culture taking art enthusiast by storm because it showcased a liberal movement that moved far away from academic art.

23: One interesting thing during this time was that many artists had contact with European artists after the war because many european artists such as Dali sought refuge in the united states.

25: Pop and Op Art 1950s/1960s

27: Pop art is well known for challenging the definition of art. It moved away from the traditional academic art adding values of the changing popular culture into its themes, which created a more commercial aspect of art during its time. It was significant in that images from advertisements, newspapers, and comic books could be taken out from its original context and isolated or mixed with other objects or scenes to create a new image that may be ironic to the original. Because replicating images was a major process of this style, screen printing was a major mode of producing large works of art to create the image in layers quicker. | Andy Warhol can be considered the king of Pop Art for many of his images are remembered as the symbol of this art movement. He studied the fine arts at Carnegie Mellon, and then he moved to New York where he worked as a sketch artist for advertisements and magazines. It was this that helped inspire to create works of art that are well known in American culture today. His works such as the screen printed portraits of Marilyn Monroe as well as the replications of the Campbell’s Soup cans were notorious in helping his fame, and it was these types of images that helped him build his empire.

28: Bibliography | Hunt for. (2007, Hunt For). Retrieved from The history of art. (2003, History of Painters). Retrieved from The metropolitan museum of art. (2012, Metropolitan Museum of Art). Retrieved from The metropolitan museum of art. (2012, Metropolitan Museum of Art). Retrieved from

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  • Title: American Art Movements
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