which artist is most closely associated with abstract expressionism?
Although Pollock is closely associated with Action Painting because of his style, technique, and his painterly touch and his physical application of paint, art critics have likened Pollock to both Action painting and color field painting. Another critical view advanced by Clement Greenberg connects Pollock’s allover canvasses to the large-scale Water Lilies of Claude Monet done during the 1920s. Greenberg, art critic Michael Fried, and others have observed that the overall feeling in Pollock’s most famous works – his drip paintings – read as vast fields of built-up linear elements often reading as vast complexes of similar valued paint skeins that read as all over fields of color and drawing, and are related to the mural-sized late Monets that are constructed of many passages of close valued brushed and scumbled marks that also read as close valued fields of color and drawing that Monet used in building his picture surfaces. Pollock’s use of all-over composition lend a philosophical and a physical connection to the way the color field painters like Newman, Rothko and Still construct their unbroken and in Still’s case broken surfaces. In several paintings that Pollock painted after his classic drip painting period of 1947–1950, he used the technique of staining fluid oil paint and house paint into raw canvas. During 1951 he produced a series of semi-figurative black stain paintings, and in 1952 he produced stain paintings using color. In his November 1952 exhibition at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York City Pollock showed Number 12, 1952, a large, masterful stain painting that resembles a brightly colored stained landscape (with an overlay of broadly dripped dark paint); the painting was acquired from the exhibition by Nelson Rockefeller for his personal collection. In 1960 the painting was severely damaged by fire in the Governors Mansion in Albany that also severely damaged an Arshile Gorky painting and several other works in the Rockefeller collection. However, by 1999 it had been restored and was installed in Albany Mall.  
Hofmann’s paintings are a symphony of color as seen in The Gate, 1959–1960. Hofmann was renowned not only as an artist but also as a teacher of art, both in his native Germany and later in the U.S. Hans Hofmann, who came to the United States from Germany in the early 1930s, brought with him the legacy of Modernism. Hofmann was a young artist working in Paris who painted there before World War I. Hofmann worked in Paris with Robert Delaunay, and he knew firsthand the innovative work of both Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Matisse’s work had an enormous influence on him, and on his understanding of the expressive language of color and the potentiality of abstraction. Hofmann was one of the first theorists of color field painting, and his theories were influential to artists and to critics, particularly to Clement Greenberg, as well as to others during the 1930s and 1940s. In 1953 Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland were both profoundly influenced by Helen Frankenthaler’s stain paintings after visiting her studio in New York City. Returning to Washington, DC., they began to produce the major works that created the color field movement in the late 1950s. 
Willem de Kooning was a prominent Dutch American artist most closely associated with Abstract Expressionism. Born in Rotterdram in 1904, he began studying at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten en Technische Wetenschappen, Rotterdam, when he was 12. He continued to study art there at night for an eight-year duration while he was apprenticed to a commercial art and decorating firm. He continued to study art in Brussels and Antwerp before moving to the United States in 1926, where he worked as a house painter. The following year he met Arshile Gorky and other contemporary artists working in New York. In 1935 he worked alongside these artists when he was commissioned by the Federal Art Project, a government funded work relief project, to paint murals.
In the 1940’s he exhibited with the artists who would later become known as the New York School and had his first solo show at the Egan Gallery in New York in 1948. This show, which established him as a prominent artist, was dominated by black and white abstract canvases, highly influenced by Gorky, Jackson Pollock, and Franz Kline. His Women series, which was to become an important and recurring theme for de Kooning brought him increasing recognition. Rendered with a garish color palette and chaotic lines and brushwork, the paintings had a violent and confrontational feeling, which scandalized viewers. Along with returning to the theme of women, de Kooning painted abstract landscapes in the following decade.
In the 1960s, the work of the avant-garde minimalist composers La Monte Young, Philip Glass, Tony Conrad, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley became prominent in the New York art world. The new bebop and cool jazz musicians in the 1940s and 1950s (such as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Gerry Mulligan) coincided with the New York School and abstract expressionism.
Big A: Jack Bush was a color-field painter who used geometric, simple forms to highlight the pure interaction of color, as can be seen in this 1968 work.
In Mining the Museum, Fred Wilson rearranged a museum collection to convey ideas primarily about
Traditional Art Making
- In the 1960s, the center of the Western art world shifted from Paris to New York because of the devastation WWII had inflicted across Europe and the resulting influx of émigre artists escaping to the United States.
- It was in New York that the first major American avant-garde movement —Abstract Expressionism— emerged.
- Following WWII, there was a new kind of urgency for what the purpose of art should be.
- The New York School was an informal group of modernist painters and poets active in New York City c. 1950s-1960s; most closely associated with Abstract Expressionism.
Willem de Kooning (1903-1997)