Thanks for your question. First, let me request that if any of the
following is unclear or if you require any further research please
dont hesitate to ask me for a clarification.
You asked what is abstraction and whether there is a typical stylistic
subject matter or artistic look?
What a fascinating question!
I have located some excellent resources for you.
First and foremost, according to Artlex
Abstraction and abstract art - Imagery which departs from
representational accuracy, to a variable range of possible degrees,
for some reason other than verisimilitude. Abstract artists select and
then exaggerate or simplify the forms suggested by the world around
them. The paintings of Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) and Georges
Braque (French, 1882-1963) as well as the sculptures of Henry Moore
(English, 1898-1987), Barbara Hepworth (English, 1903-1975), and
Jacques Lipchitz (Russian-American, 1891-1973) are examples of
abstract art. Wassily Kandinsky, (Russian, 1866-1944), was one of the
first creators of pure abstraction in modern painting. After
successful avant-garde exhibitions, he founded the influential Munich
group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider; 1911-1914), when his paintings
became completely abstract. His forms evolved from fluid and organic
to geometric and, finally, to pictographic.
The Artlex article includes many examples with images and explanations
the complete article can be found here
Ron Davis, an artist, manages a wonderful site on abstract art
There is a long article on abstract and abstractions at
In addition, the sites hundreds of pages include much commentary on
the essence of abstraction as it relates to the various paintings
featured on the site.
Finally, the Web Museum features a short piece on abstraction
It is Wassily Kandinsky, the most influential member of the group,
who is most often credited with the distinction of painting the first
``abstract'' picture, in 1910. Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) was
formed in 1911 and succeeded the first Expressionist movement, Die
Brücke, which dissolved in 1913. The group included Franz Marc
(1880-1916), Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), and August Macke
(1887-1914), and celebrated the art of children and primitives, but
had no precise artistic programme. The most active proponent of this
essentially romantic and rather spiritual view of art was Franz Marc,
a young artist who was killed in World War I. Marc saw animals as the
betrayed but uncontaminated guardians of what was left of innocence
and unspoilt nature.
See more at
I hope this response adequately addresses your request. Please let me
know if you are in need of additional information concerning this
Art AND "what is abstraction