Trivium Art HistoryDiscover Artwork

Abstract ArtUnshackled from the figure

For centuries artists created artwork to represent figurative images. Landscapes and people, gods and machines. Art was a tool to communicate reality. But with the proliferation of the camera, a slow shift began in art. The world could be documented without paint or stone, and so at the dawn of the 20th century, artists began to abstract their images, fragmenting reality, and eventually — removing it completely.

Read More

1944-N No. 2

Clyfford Still, 1944


Clyfford Still, 1948

1951-T No. 3


Abstract Composition

Théo Kerg, 1933

Abstract Composition

Mainie Jellett, 1935

Abstract painting

Aubrey Williams, 1960

Abstract Painting

Ad Reinhardt, 1966

Abstract Painting no. 4

Ad Reinhardt, 1961

Abstract Sculpture 3

Katarzyna Kobro, 1924

Abstract Speed + Sound

Giacomo Balla, 1913-1914


Willem de Kooning, 1949-1950

After Xhorkum

Arshile Gorky, 1940-1942


Arshile Gorky, 1947


Norman Lewis, 1960


Arshile Gorky, 1939

At the Solferino-Paris bridge

Théo Kerg, 1951


Helen Frankenthaler, 1979

Berlin Series No. 1

Marsden Hartley, 1913

Berlin Series No. 3

Marsden Hartley, 1913

Berlin Series No. 47

Marsden Hartley, 1914-1915

Berlin Series No. 48

Marsden Hartley, 1913

Berlin Series No. 49

Marsden Hartley, 1914-1915

Berlin Series No. 50

Marsden Hartley, 1914-1915

Bird Talk

Lee Krasner, 1955


Lee Krasner, 1956

Black and White, Suprematist Composition

Kazimir Malevich, 1915

Black Square

Kazimir Malevich, 1915

Black Square and Red Square

Kazimir Malevich, 1915

Black Trapezium and Red Square

Kazimir Malevich, 1915

Blue Green Yellow Orange Red

Ellsworth Kelly, 1966


Joan Mitchell, 1969

Breakthrough I

Robert Rauschenberg, 1964


Agnes Martin, 1959


Helen Frankenthaler, 1963

Canto XIV, from Rauschenberg: XXXIV Drawings for Dante's Inferno

Robert Rauschenberg, 1964

Carib Selva

Aubrey Williams, 1955


Aubrey Williams, 1975

Changing Moods

Norman Lewis, 1947

Circles in a Circle

Wassily Kandinsky, 1923

Cocoon no. 2

Lygia Clark, 1959

Coddle 2

Ibrahim Hussein, 2002

Color Painting

Olga Rozanova, 1917


Aleksandr Rodchenko, 1918


Fernand Henri Léger, 1926


Mainie Jellett, 1930


Ad Reinhardt, 1940

Composition (Definitive State)

Fernand Henri Léger, 1925

Composition 5

Wassily Kandinsky, 1911

Composition 6

Wassily Kandinsky, 1913

Composition 7

Wassily Kandinsky, 1913

More Themes in Art

Death in Art

Life's only guarantee


Reimagining natural beauty


The canvas mirror

Art in your inbox.
Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Trivium uses cookies to measure site usage, helping us understand our readers' interests and improve the site. By continuing to browse this site you agree to the use of cookies. Learn more