which of these is not a feature of abstract expressionism
Although it is the accepted designation, Abstract Expressionism is not an accurate description of the body of work created by these artists. Indeed, the movement comprised many different painterly styles varying in both technique and quality of expression. Despite this variety, Abstract Expressionist paintings share several broad characteristics. They are basically abstract—i.e., they depict forms not drawn from the visible world. They emphasize free, spontaneous, and personal emotional expression, and they exercise considerable freedom of technique and execution to attain this goal, with a particular emphasis laid on the exploitation of the variable physical character of paint to evoke expressive qualities (e.g., sensuousness, dynamism, violence, mystery, lyricism). They show similar emphasis on the unstudied and intuitive application of that paint in a form of psychic improvisation akin to the automatism of the Surrealists, with a similar intent of expressing the force of the creative unconscious in art. They display the abandonment of conventionally structured composition built up out of discrete and segregable elements and their replacement with a single unified, undifferentiated field, network, or other image that exists in unstructured space. And finally, the paintings fill large canvases to give these aforementioned visual effects both monumentality and engrossing power.
The middle ground within Abstract Expressionism is represented by several varied styles, ranging from the more lyrical, delicate imagery and fluid shapes in paintings by Guston and Frankenthaler to the more clearly structured, forceful, almost calligraphic pictures of Motherwell and Gottlieb.
Abstract expressionism is the term applied to new forms of abstract art developed by American painters such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning in the 1940s and 1950s. It is often characterised by gestural brush-strokes or mark-making, and the impression of spontaneity
The abstract expressionists were mostly based in New York City, and also became known as the New York school. The name evokes their aim to make art that while abstract was also expressive or emotional in its effect. They were inspired by the surrealist idea that art should come from the unconscious mind, and by the automatism of artist Joan Miró.
But the two main forerunners of Abstract Expressionism were Arshile Gorky (1905-48) and Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), neither of whom were connected with the early expressionist movement in Germany. Gorky by 1942 had arrived at a very free, calligraphic brushwork, very bright in colour, often entirely without figurative reference. “I never finish a painting, I just stop working on it for a while.” Hofmann established a profoundly influencial school in New York where he not only provided a forcefully articulated theoretical support for non-figurative art, but remained very open to the stimulous of the new. In particular he reflected symbolist ideas of the independence of the world of art from the world of appearances: he used colour to express mood as Kandinsky had, yet retained a feeling for structure that derives from Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) and Cubism. Anticipating Pollock, he even experimented with “drip” techniques in 1940, but his own most magical colouristic inventions, coming at the end of his life, express a radiant serenity very different from anything Pollock produced. Among Hofmann’s acolytes was the art critic Clement Greenberg, a vigorous advocate of Abstract Expressionism, and among his students was the artist Lee Krasner who introduced Hofmann to her husband Jackson Pollock.
In 1947, after producing numerous “all-over” abstract paintings – see, for instance, Pasiphae (1943, Metropolitan Museum of Art) – Jackson Pollock, supported by his wife Lee Krasner (1908-84), developed a radical new technique (one that both Hofmann and Krasner had tried earlier) called “action-painting”, which involved dripping thinned paint onto raw canvas laid on the ground using wide and rhythmic sweeps of a large and loaded brush (if a brush was used) or, more usually direct from the can – a far cry from the traditional painterly method whereby pigment was applied by brush to a canvas on an easel. Pollock worked in a highly spontaneous improvisatory manner, famously dancing around the canvas pouring, throwing and dripping paint onto it. By doing this, he claimed to be channelling his inner impulses directly onto the canvas, in a form of automatic or subconscious painting. For more details, see Jackson Pollock’s paintings (1940-56).
The Abstract Expressionism movement began in the 1940s in New York City after World War II. However, the first real Abstract Art was painted earlier by some Expressionists, especially Kandinsky in the early 1900s.
Examples of Abstract Art
Important precursors of Expressionism were the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), especially his philosophical novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883–1892); the later plays of the Swedish dramatist August Strindberg (1849–1912), including the trilogy To Damascus 1898–1901, A Dream Play (1902), The Ghost Sonata (1907); Frank Wedekind (1864–1918), especially the “Lulu” plays Erdgeist (Earth Spirit) (1895) and Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box) (1904); the American poet Walt Whitman’s (1819–1892) Leaves of Grass (1855–1891); the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821–1881); Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863–1944); Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890); Belgian painter James Ensor (1860–1949);  and pioneering Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1856–1939). 
Major figurative Boston Expressionists included: Karl Zerbe, Hyman Bloom, Jack Levine, David Aronson. The Boston figurative Expressionists post World War II were increasingly marginalized by the development of abstract expressionism centered in New York City.