Abstract Painters: Top 100
Top 100 Abstract Painters
Here is a list of selected abstract artists who have made a significant contribution to the evolution and development of non-representational art.
• JMW Turner (1775-1851) English painter whose avant-garde expressionism developed into abstraction.
• James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)American painter, noted for semi-abstract tonal paintings.
• Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)His still lifes and landscapes are seen as important prototypes for abstraction.
• Paul Serusier (1864-1927)
Leader of Les Nabis, influenced by Gauguin.
• Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) One of the earliest pioneers of geometric abstraction.
• Georges Vantongerloo (1866-1965)Belgian member of De Stijl, noted for his Elementarist painting.
• Henri Matisse (1869-1954)One of the pioneer colour-related abstract painters.
• Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956)Used Cubist methods to imply religious feeling.
• Frank Kupka (1871-1957)Czech painter, "colour symphonist", influenced by Futurism & Orphism.
• Giacomo Balla (1871-1958)Italian Futurist painter, fascinated by modern technology & movement.
• Piet Mondrian (1872-1944)Geometric painter, member of De Stijl movement, inventor of Neo-Plasticism.
• Bart Van Der Leck (1876-1958)Utrecht artist/designer, one of founders of De Stijl.
• Marsden Hartley (1877-1943)One of the great early American modernists.
• Kasimir Malevich (1878-1935)A pioneer geometric abstractionist, inventor of Suprematism.
• Louis Marcoussis (1878-1941)Polish-French colourful Cubist painter, born Ludwig Markus.
• Paul Klee (1879-1940)Swiss fantasy artist.
• Francis Picabia (1879-1953)French painter with private income; Cubist, Dadaist, Surrealist.
• Franz Marc (1880-1916)
Co-founder of Der Blaue Reiter. His animal images verge on abstraction.
• Patrick Henry Bruce (1880-1937) Friend of Delaunay, associated with the Synchromists style of abstraction.
• Arthur Dove (1880-1946)Painter/illustrator. His 1912 solo show was first showing of abstract art in US.
• Hans Hofmann (1880-1966)German-born painter, important pioneer of abstract expressionist painting.
• Carlo Carra (1881-1966)Famous for his early abstract Cubist/Futurist painting.
• Albert Gleizes (1881-1953)
Cubist painter, co-writer of Du Cubisme, the first book on Cubism.
• Fernand Leger (1881-1955) Innovative French painter, noted for his "Tubism" & geometric abstraction.
• Mikhail Larionov (1881-1964)Co-inventor of Rayonism, launched at the Target Exhibition, Moscow, 1913.
• Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962)Larionov's husband, co-founder of Rayonism (Luchism).
• Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Co-founder of Cubism. Virtuoso painter, master of abstract sculpture.
• Percy Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957) Leader of British Vorticism movement.
• Auguste Herbin (1882-1960)French painter, a Bateau-Lavoir neighbour of Picasso.
• Georges Braque (1882-1963)Co-founder of analytical and synthetic Cubism; inventor of collage.
• Mary Swanzy (1882-1978)Considered by most art experts to be the first Irish Cubist.
• Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931)Leader of Dutch De Stijl group, inventor of term 'concrete art'.
• Morgan Russell (1883-1953)
American painter active in Paris, co-founder of Synchromism.
• Jean Metzinger (1883-1957)
Inspired by analytical Cubism; published Du Cubisme with Albert Gleizes.
• Gino Severini (1883-1966) Italian Futurist painter, stayed faithful to Cubist rigour, interested in dance.
• Roger de la Fresnaye (1885-1925)Used Cubist geometric simplification to make a nationalistic statements.
• Robert Delaunay (1885-1941)French abstract painter, inventor of Orphism (Simultanism/Orphic Cubism).
• Vladimir Tatlin (1885-1953)Founder of Constructivism, avant-garde painter in Neo-Primitivist style.
• Andre Lhote (1885-1962)Produced Cubist works filled with semi-geometric forms and interacting planes.
• Sonia Delaunay-Turk (1885-1979)Delaunay's wife, known for her colourful abstraction.
• Juan Gris (1887-1927)Spanish painter, leading theorist of Cubism.
• Jean Arp (1887-1966)
Abstract painter and one of the great organic abstract sculptors.
• Johannes Itten (1888-1967) Swiss geometric-style painter, noted for his exploration of colour.
• Josef Albers (1888-1976)
Teacher at Bauhaus Design School; see his Homage to the Square series.
• Lyubov Popova (1889-1924)
Leading exponent of Constructivism, known for her Painterly Architectonics.
• Paul Nash (1889-1946) Noted for his abstract surrealist imagery.
• Bradley Walker Tomlin (1889-1953)Abstract expressionist known for his huge grid-like works with inscriptions.
• Willi Baumeister (1889-1955)German painter noted for his late paintings, dubbed 'abstract Surrealism.'
• El Lissitzky (1890-1941)Bauhaus, Suprematist painter, leading Constructivist, noted for geometric 'Proun' designs.
• David Bomberg (1890-1957)British abstract painter influenced by Cubism, Futurism and Vorticism.
• Stanton MacDonald-Wright (1890-1973)Co-founder of Synchromism, which like Orphism studied colour, light & music.
• Mark Tobey (1890-1976)Famous for his late abstraction, a mix of "action painting" and calligraphy.
• Man Ray (1890-1977)American avant-garde Dada/Surrealist artist, painter, photographer.
• Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956)Russian painter, leading Constructivist.
• Joan Miro (1893-1983)
Famous for his abstract Surrealism.
• Evie Hone (1894-1955)
One of the pioneerabstract artists in Ireland.
• Stuart Davis (1894-1964) Early American abstract painter; a Robert Henri pupil, exhibited Armory Show.
• Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946)Hungarian Constructivist painter, sculptor, designer; Bauhaus instructor.
• Bram van Velde (1895-1981)Dutch painter, noted for his existential, expressive abstract paintings.
• Andre Masson (1896-1987)French surrealist painter, acted as bridge to abstract expressionism.
• Mainie Jellett (1897-1944)
Pioneer Irish Cubist painter; founder of Irish Exhibition of Living Art.
• Jean Fautrier (1898-1964) Famous for postwar 'Hostages' paintings, forerunners of Art Informel.
• Alexander Calder (1898-1976)Cartoonist and gouache painter; pioneer of Kinetic art (mobiles).
• Konstantin Medunetsky (1899-1935)
Russian Constructivist artist, famous for his Colour Constructions.
• Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) Italian artist, founder of Spatialism, noted for gashed monochrome paintings.
• Yves Tanguy (1900-55)French abstract surrealist noted for his strange lunar
• Jean Dubuffet (1901-85)Avant-garde painter, pioneer of Art Brut known also as Outsider Art.
• Mark Rothko (1903-70)
American abstract painter, co-founder of Colour Field painting.
• Adolph Gottlieb (1903-74) American abstract expressionist, a founder of the Ten Group, New York.
• Arshile Gorky (1904-48)Armenian-born American abstract expressionist. Taught De Kooning & Rothko.
• Jean Helion (1904-87)
French member of De Stijl; signed Doesburg's Manifesto of Concrete Art.
• Clyfford Still (1904-1980) Co-founder with Rothko/Newman of Colour Field painting.
• Hans Hartung (1904-89)
German-French painter, one of the pioneers of Art Informel.
• Willem De Kooning (1904-97) Noted for his gesturalist "Woman" paintings.
• Jean Bazaine (1904-2001)French Art Informel painter, leading exponent of Lyrical Abstraction.
• Maurice Esteve (1904-2001)Abstract painter of the Ecole de Paris; paintings have stained glass 'glow'.
• Jiro Yoshihara (1905-72)Industrialist & self-taught painter; founded & funded Gutai Group.
• Barnett Newman (1905-70)Had huge influence on Post-Painterly Abstraction.
• Serge Poliakoff (1906-69)
One of the leading abstract painters of the Ecole de Paris.
• Victor Vasarely (1906-1997) Painter, graphic designer; pioneer of kinetic art and founder of Op-Art.
• Lee Krasner (1908-84)Wife of Jackson Pollock, joint inventor of "action painting".
• Maria Helena Vieria da Silva (1908-92)
Portugese member of Art Informel movement, known for architectural imagery.
• Max Bill (1908-94) Swiss architect/artist, promoter of non-objective art.
• Franz Kline (1910-1962)Noted for huge stark black/white canvases & calligraphic-style brushstrokes.
• Alfred Manessier (1911-93)
French painter, lithographer, tapestry designer; member of Art Informel.
• Matta (1911-2002) Chilean surrealist painter, influenced by Yves Tanguy.
• Morris Louis (1912-62)American Minimalist, explored "colour stain painting" with Helen Frankenthaler.
• Philip Guston (1913-80)Took up abstraction when "action painting" appeared.
• Nicholas Schoffer (1912-80)Hungarian-born French painter, leading theorist of Kinetic art.
• Agnes Martin (1912-2004)Minimalist painter, noted for her pencilled grids on monochrome ground.
• Jackson Pollock (1912-56)
Inventor of 'action-painting'.
• Wols - Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze (1913-51) German Art Informel painter, Sartre's illustrator, acclaimed after early death.
• Ad Reinhardt (1913-67)Known for his parallel red, blue, black rectangles.
• Tony O'Malley (1913-2003)Irish painter known for his colourful fantasy paintings of the Bahamas.
• William Scott (1913-89)Irish painter best known for his semi-abstract still lifes.
• Nicolas de Stael (1914-1955)
Known for his Lyrical Abstraction.
• Asger Jorn (1914-73) Danish painter. Founder of abstract expressionist Cobra group.
• Robert Motherwell (1915-91)
Famous for his Elegy to the Spanish Republic monochrome abstract paintings.
• Jean Degottex (1918-88) Calligraphy painter, noted for huge white monochrome paintings.
• Pierre Soulages (b.1919)
French painter, one of leading exponents of Tachisme.
• Patrick Heron (1920-99)
British abstract painter of the St Ives School, noted for his vibrancy of colour.
• Karel Appel (1921-2006)
Dutch gesturalist; member of Cobra Group & Tachisme.
• Georges Mathieu (1921-2012) French painter, known as the 'Salvador Dali of Art Informel'.
• Jules Olitski (1922-2007)Russian-American painter/sculptor; leading figure in Colour Field Painting.
• Sam Francis (1923-1994)
American painter, member of Tachisme.
• Roy Lichtenstein (1923-97) Best known as comic-strip Pop Artist, he also produced several abstracts.
• Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923-2002)
Leading Canadian abstract painter, active in Paris; member of Art Informel.
• Jesus Raphael Soto (1923-2005) Kinetic artist, noted for using dots to explore optical reflectivity.
• Ellsworth Kelly (b.1923)
An exponent of Post Painterly Abstraction.
• Antoni Tapies (b.1923)
Member of Catalan artist group Dau al Set; known for impastoed abstracts.
• Ivan Picelj (b.1924) Croatian geometrical abstract painter, leading figure in group EXAT-51.
• Kenneth Noland (b.1924)
Minimalist painter associated with Hard Edge Painting, colour & structure.
• Pierre Alechinsky (b.1927) Belgian painter, noted for his expressive abstraction.
• Yves Klein (1928-62)
Avant-garde artist, known for International Klein Blue (IKB) monochromes and his Anthropometry paintings.
• Cy Twombly (1928-2011) Minimalist painter known for his calligraphic scribbles.
• Helen Frankenthaler (b.1928)Minimalist painter, developed "colour stain painting" for diaphanous effects.
• Jo Baer (b.1929)American painter best known for her 1960s and 70s minimalism.
• Antonio Saura (1930-98)Spanish painter, founder of El Paso Group 1957; violent semi-abstract style.
• Robert Ryman (b.1930)American minimalist painter, noted for his white monochrome compositions.
• Peter Sedgley (b.1930)British painter, Op-artist, noted for his concentric rings of colour.
• Richard Anuszkiewicz (b.1930)American painter famous for his hallucinatory Op-art.
• Bridget Riley (b.1931)Leading figure in British Op-Art movement.
• Richard Smith (b.1931)British painter in New York, known for abstract Pop-Art & shaped canvas.
• Frank Auerbach (b.1931)British semi-abstract portraitist.
• Gerhard Richter (b.1932)Contemporary abstract painter associated with Neo-Expressionism.
• Howard Hodgkin (b.1932)English painter, Turner Prize Winner; noted for his colourful abstraction.
• Frank Stella (b.1936)Ex-abstract expressionist who went geometric after 1958.
• Robert Mangold (b.1937)American painter noted for his minimalist paintings and shaped canvas.
• Brice Marden (b.1938)One of the last abstract expressionists; noted also for his late gesturalism.
• Georg Baselitz (b.1938)Contemporary German painter, famous for his gesturalism & inverted subjects.
• Anselm Kiefer (b.1945)German neo-expressionist painter, known for textured historical abstracts.
• Sean Scully (b.1945)Irish-American painter, famous for large-size, geometric-style compositions.
• Christopher Wool (b.1955)
New York painter best-known for his text-based word painting.