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Abstract Expressionism at the Royal Academy of Arts



Friday 30th September


8:30 am to 10:30 am (breakfast optional)

Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly

Price Member (please login) Free
Price Non-Member £50.00




Friday 30th September 2016


8:30 am at Royal Academy of Arts

8:45 am – 9:45 am tour with Graham Greenfield

9:45 am breakfast in the Belle Shenkman Room



Discover with a curator and without the crowd the Royal Academy’s latest exhibition on David Hockney. The tour will be exclusively commented by Graham Greenfield, Royal Academy senior lecturer who will bring the exhibition to life by explaining its background and key moments, before opening hours.



Royal Academy of Arts, 1 Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD



This ambitious and long overdue exhibition will bring together some of the finest works associated with the movement from around the world.


London has seen retrospectives of the most famous proponents of Abstract Expressionism over the decades, but this is the first time since 1959 that the movement as a whole will be represented in one landmark show. It is an opportunity for us to re-evaluate an artistic phenomenon, and make the case that far from being unified, Abstract Expressionism was in fact far more complex and ever-changing.


In addition to featuring work of the most celebrated artists associated with the movement: Kline, Pollock, Rothko, Newman, Still, de Kooning, Smith, Reinhardt and Gorky, we will also display work by lesser-known – but no less influential – artists to reveal the extraordinary breadth of a movement that gave New York City an artistic identity for the first time.


Abstract Expressionism was never an ideal label for the movement which grew up in New York in the 1940s and 1950s. It was somehow meant to encompass not only the work of painters who filled their canvases with fields of color and abstract forms, but also those who attacked their canvases with a vigorous gestural expressionism. Yet Abstract Expressionism has become the most accepted term for a group of artists who did hold much in common. All were committed to an expressive art of profound emotion and universal themes, and most were shaped by the legacy of Surrealism, a movement that they translated into a new style fitted to the post-war mood of anxiety and trauma. In their success, the New York painters robbed Paris of its mantle as leader of modern art, and set the stage for America’s post-war dominance of the international art world.