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City Scene--Abstract

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Abstract Still Life

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Abstract Painting no. 4

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Ad Reinhardt’s comments about art are markers of an aesthetic and intellectual journey from early cubist-inspired compositions to the black rectangles he made for the last seven years of his life. He came to believe that painting is a nonnarrative medium and over the course of two decades purged imagery and even traces of his own hand from his work. The matte black surface of Abstract Painting no. 4 is not read quickly, but close examination reveals subtle blue and plum squares arranged in a cruciform shape. Asked to explain his use of black, Reinhardt replied, “It’s because of its non-color. . . . Color has to do with life.”

Modern Masters: Midcentury Abstraction from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2008

Untitled (Abstract Sketch #6)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Untitled (Abstract Sketch #5)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Untitled (Abstract Sketch #9)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Untitled (Abstract Sketch #4)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Untitled (Abstract Sketch #8)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Untitled (Abstract Sketch #7)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Untitled (Abstract Sketch #2)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Untitled (Abstract Sketch #1)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Untitled (Abstract Sketch #3)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Machinery (Abstract #2)

Smithsonian American Art Museum
What kind of industry does the man holding the levers control in Paul Kelpe's painting Machinery. There are no hints; the smokestacks emit no smoke and no product piles up on the factory floor. In fact, Kelpe's mechanism manufactures nothing. He was actually an abstract painter whose concerns were aesthetic. In his paintings for the Public Works of Art Project, he knew that he needed to somehow address "the American Scene." "As they refused to accept 'nonrepresentational' art," he said, "I made a number of pictures with geometric machinery." But Kelpe, unlike the many PWAP artists who factually depicted industrial scenes, studied no real-life factories. He created his own independent visual world, reflecting the kind of technological progress of which Americans were proud. The artist thoughtfully balanced large and small shapes, warm and cool colors, to create a harmonious mechanistic vision. A pattern of diagonal brushstrokes on the painting’s surface catches the light to suggest action. The wheels seem to turn with the soft hum of a well-tuned machine.1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibition label

Abstract--Flowers in Left

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Group of Abstract Nudes

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Abstract watercolor sketch

Archives of American Art
1 sketch : ink ; 14 x 23 cm.

Abstract watercolor sketch is one page, likely torn from a sketchbook. Dates based on dates of Charles Searles papers.

Abstract self portrait

Archives of American Art
1 drawing : various media ; 27 x 19 cm.

Drawing is done with crayon, pen and ink and watercolor. Addressed (in French) to Dwight Ripley, drawn on stationery of the Hotel Gladstone (New York).

Bloomingdale's: Abstract Lines

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Summer bag showing abstract design in yellow, purple, fuchsia and green.

Abstract Blossom Motif

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Various sizes and widths of abstract blossoms form this motif. Crossed lines that overlap in the center create a simple flower structure.

Abstract Arabesque Vines

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Abstract Arabesque vines are depicted using a push carving technique. Thin strips are carved to suggest the curling pattern decorated with symbolic leaves all around.

Abstract checkered pattern

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
The abstracted checkered pattern is symmetrical down the middle. Each end, which contains longer rectangles, is decorated with jagged edges. Silk threads are added to support the stencil structure.

Abstract Leaf Motif

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Abstract bamboo leaves mingling with willow, and other patterns such as hemp-leaf, interlaced circles, ocean waves, and lattice designs.

Abstract Wave Motif

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Abstract waves are decorated with tiny punch carving on edge as well as thin strips.
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