40 Famous Abstract Paintings: Interpreting The Artist’s Reality

Cover of famous abstract paintings

The word “abstract” means something that is theoretical in nature. 

It’s not meant to look stunning but to deliver a message to the viewer.

To an ordinary eye, it might seem vague and incomplete.

Childlike or misdrawn by the painter.

That is because of the absence of a subject, which makes it unapologetically hypothetical.

One of the main philosophies of abstract art is that reality is not concrete but subjective.

Therefore, it is the viewer who defines the painting.

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Which is why it is also called “thinkers’ painting.”

Wassily Kandinsky created a new chapter in the history of painting by introducing the genre in 1911, which was relatively new to the painting world.

This brought on a new era of paintings, whose ideology was up to the interpretation of the viewer.

Still, it attracted millions of inquiring eyes who were hell-bent on figuring out the hidden meaning behind each brush stroke.

Keep scrolling and you will find our list of famous abstract paintings which ruled the hearts of the art viewer.

1. Windows Open Simultaneously (1912)

Windows Open Simultaneously (1912)
Image Source: wikidata, envato elements

“Windows open simultaneously” is part of a twenty-two painting series called “Windows” by Robert Delaunay.

When asked about this painting in 1913, Delaunay wrote, “Line is the limitation; the color gives depth, not perspectival, not successive but simultaneous depth—as well as form and depth.”

The line work used by Robert does a great job of hiding the Eiffel Tower right in front of the viewer while also giving the hint that the city in the frame is Paris.

The fractured pattern not only gives the abstract artwork its personality but also makes it one of the most famous cubist compositions.

It is now housed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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ArtistRobert Delaunay
Date of Creation1913
Dimensions57 cm x 123 cm
LocationPhiladelphia Museum of Art

2. Composition VII (1913)

One of the famous abstract paintings  Composition VII (1913)
Image source: wikipedia

Wassily Kandinsky was a famous abstract painter, known for comparing his abstract paintings to music, which is why he called them compositions.

Emotions of anger and disgust are seldom portrayed when someone looks at this famous abstract painting for the first time.

Still, people who are willing to invest time in painting will be successful in various spiritual and intellectual experiences.

The colors in the painting give a still note to the mind and challenge the viewer to keep them interested. 

A bit of harmony is injected into the viewer out of the complete disarray of colors and crisscrossing black lines.

This combination of the colors is so harmonic that the viewer is said to receive a still note from the painting.

Composition VII is indeed a very intriguing subject in itself. It would surely be great idea to own one.

The original one would cost a million bucks probably. Looking for a cheap and convenient alterative? Check out Kandinsky Reproduction paintings by PortraitFlip.

ArtistWassily Kandinsky
Date of Creation1913
Dimensions200.6 cm x 302.2 cm
LocationTretyakov Gallery, Moscow

3. Improvisation 31 (Sea Battle) (1913)

Improvisation 31 (Sea Battle) (1913)
Image Source: nga.gov

Wassily Kandinsky created this abstract masterpiece right before World War 1.

In this abstract painting, Wassily has brilliantly used the contrast of colors to show two ships locked in battle.

The artist’s hope for humanity to turn away from conflict and suffering and turn toward something wholesome is conveyed in “Improvisation 31.”

The use of the color white in the background and the clouds serves to emphasize this point.

In addition, the vivid yellow representing cannon fire and the deep blue representing waves give the abstract artwork a dreamy appearance.

It stands for both the turmoil of time and the paradise that awaits humanity if they can only put aside their differences.

Sadly, this was also his last painting from the Improvisation Series of paintings.

Now the painting hangs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

ArtistWassily Kandinsky
Date of Creation1913
Dimensions140.7 cm x 119.7 cm
LocationNational Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

4. Electric Prisms (1914)

Electric Prisms (1914) is one of the famous abstract paintings
Image Source: artsy.net

This famous abstract painting was born when Sonia Delauney and her artist husband, Robert, saw a light post while they were on a walk.

They both decided to challenge themselves to capture the glow of that lamp.

That’s when Sonia gave birth to Electric Prisms.

The main elements are the two overlapping circles, which are made of various other semicircles, comprising various bands of color.

Sonia described these circles as halos of light and shadow, and the bands were to show the vibration in the light.

When making these paintings, Sonia was heavily influenced by the concepts of simultaneity and cubism.

 Simultaneism is the idea that a painting can have multiple points of view, different places, times, and even realities.

This movement then influenced many artists, like Marc Chagall, to paint with the concept of simultaneity.

The painting is now at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris.

ArtistSonia Delaunay
Date of Creation1913
Dimensions250 cm x 250 cm
LocationMusée National d’Art Moderne, Paris

5. Black Square (1915)

Black Square (1915)
Image Source: widewalls.ch

The style in which Kazmir Malevich painted is known as “Suprematism”.

It refers to art based upon the “supremacy of the pure artistic feeling”.

Most artists regard this artwork as one of the most famous abstract line art pieces ever done by a painter.

Malevich himself described the abstract painting as not an “empty square” but a “ feeling of non-objectivity”.

It is one of the most famous abstract art paintings in the world because of its simplicity and ability to captivate the viewer’s attention for hours on end.

An interesting fact about this painting is that if you X-ray it, you can read, “A Battle of the Negroes…”.

This intricate piece of artwork is now framed at the The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

ArtistKazimir Malevich
Date of Creation1915
Dimensions79.4 cm x 79.4 cm
LocationThe State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

6. The Swan, No. 17( 1915)

The Swan, No. 17( 1915) is one of the famous abstract paintings
Image Source: etsy

Swan No. 17 is among a group of swan paintings by Hilma Af Klint and is one of her most minimalist works.

The artwork itself is considerably large, having a height of 1.5 meters.

The size of the artwork was a recurring theme for the artist.

The dark red background of the painting represents fire, and the sphere in the “sea of fire” represents the swans.

On the left, the black and white half is the female swan, and on the right side, the red, yellow, and blue half is the male swan.

Swans stay together for a lifetime and raise their young ones.

The dynamics of their interactions are represented by the way the two halves of the sphere come together.

All of her paintings were recognized far later because she wanted them to be private until her death.

Today, they are in the collection of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden.

ArtistHilma af Klint
Date of Creation1914-1915
Dimensions150.5 cm x 151 cm
LocationModerna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden

7. Suprematist Composition (1916)

 Suprematist Composition (1916)
Image source: wikipedia

Suprematist Composition, widely regarded as Kazimir Malevich’s finest creation, is praised for being a technical achievement due to its sparse use of color.

However, the abstract painting still seems bright and draws the viewers’ attention at first glance.

In order to depict the power struggle that existed during World War I, the artist used both black and colored blocks.

The painting’s language was intended to deviate from the established conventions of art by illustrating paint, surface, geometric shapes, and their primary colors.

Later , this famous abstract painting was banned by the Soviet Union as it was a symbol of insubordination and an expression of free will. 

The same supremacist principles are the foundation of White on White, another piece by the famous abstract artist.

ArtistKazimir Malevich
Date of Creation1916
Dimensions88.5 cm × 71 cm
LocationPrivate collection

8. White on White (1918)

White on White
Image Source: wikipedia

This abstract painting, which he finished shortly after the previous one, served to further support his suprematism.

When working on the painting, the artist was fascinated by airplanes, because of which he suspended the white square slightly off-center.

Because of this floating square, the viewer receives a sense of transcendence.

After passing through several personal collections, White on White finally found its home in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1963.

ArtistKazimir Malevich
Date of Creation1918
Dimensions79 cm x 79 cm
LocationMuseum of Modern Art, New York City

9. Tableau I (1921)

Tableau I (1921)
Image Source: kingandmcgaw

Painted by Piet Mondrian in 1921, this famous abstract painting is said to follow his ideals of grid painting.

The artwork also displays the rejection of imitation, which Piet considered a reprehensible representation of reality.

Before the birth of this famous artwork, the artist was also a member of the Dutch De Stijl movement in 1917.

The ideals of that movement were white backgrounds and black bars, creating a division in the frame, which is distinct in this artwork.

Later, Piet clarified that he was inspired by the great Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque while making this artwork.

That not only makes it a famous abstract painting but also makes Piet Mondrian one of the most iconic artists of cubism.

He is regarded as one of the most famous artists of the abstract movement due to his efforts to advance the movement on an international level.

It now hangs in the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany.

ArtistPiet Mondrian
Date of Creation1921
Dimensions103 cm x 100cm
LocationMuseum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany

10. Blue and Green Music (1921)

Blue and Green Music (1921) is a famous abstract painting
Image Source: wikipedia

Georgia O’Keeffe’s main motto for her abstract art was to create visual images of the sounds she heard.

The idea that music can be visualized through images and colors fits with Georgia’s commitment to American Modernism.

She used subdued color tones to give the waves in her composition Blue and Green Music the appearance of music.

While light colors are said to have a high pitched sound, the darker colors are said to have a deep and menacing sound.

Apart from the audible clues, this famous abstract painting itself is the image of flower petals dancing in the wind, but because of its shape, it also appears to be female genitalia, which was another common motif the artist employed.

The painting is now on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.

ArtistGeorgia O’Keeffe
Date of Creation1921
Dimensions58.4 cm × 48.3 cm
LocationArt Institute of Chicago

11. Senecio (1922)

Senecio (1922)
Image Source: wikipedia

The artist of this famous abstract painting is Paul Klee.

Paul had a distinct style of abstraction in his mind; he made it look as if his artworks were made by children.

In this painting, he used various geometric structures to give facial characteristics to the subject.

This also makes it one of the most famous geometric abstract paintings in the world.

He was inspired by the artistic cultures of Africa to use various shades of red and yellow to make the man in the picture appear senile.

The portrayal of the subject of this painting makes it one of the most famous abstract art faces in the world.

This intriguing yet creepy painting is now in the Kunst Museum in Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract Art Fun Fact: Senecio is a Latin word that means “old man.”

ArtistPaul Klee
Date of Creation1922
Dimensions40 cm x 38 cm
LocationKunstmuseum Basel, Basel

12. Twittering Machine (1922)

Twittering Machine(1922)
Image Source: wikipedia

As the name suggests, artist Paul Klee’s main message from this classic abstract painting is to focus on the sound of birds.

The artwork consists of a hand-cranked machine that is supposed to power four birds sitting on a line.

Klee himself explained the painting as, “ an active line on a walk, moving freely.”

The smudges on the paintings aren’t intentional but actually an accident caused by the artist himself, who was trying to copy the paintings onto another canvas.

During Nazi rule, Klee and his artwork were deemed “degenerates” and were removed from exhibitions.

Thankfully, this great abstract painting was exported to the United States before it could be destroyed.

Ever since, it has been safely hung from the wall of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

girl with pearl earring replica
ArtistPaul Klee
Date of Creation1922
Dimensions63.8 cm × 48.1 cm
LocationMuseum of Modern Art, New York

13. La Mancha Roja (1925)

La Mancha Roja (1925)
Image source: ideelart

La Mancha Roja, or “the red spot,” was painted by Joan Miro.

Never considered an abstract painter, his artworks convey the message of abstraction and surrealism.

Many artists consider it disturbing as this painting is the image of Joan’s mind and represents his subconscious.

According to legend, the red spot in the center of the canvas represents the artist himself, and all the black lines represent the difficulties he was facing at the time.

This painting is also a trendsetter as it paved the way for the dreams and visions of artists to be portrayed on canvas.

It has now found its home in Room 206.02 in the document magazine display chambers.

ArtistJoan Miro
Date of Creation1925
Dimensions146 x 114 cm
LocationRoom 206.02 – Documents Magazine

14. Composition II (1930)

Composition II (1930) is a famous abstract painting
Image Source: wikipedia

Piet Mondrian’s Composition II represents more than just some colors on a canvas, but actually is symbolic of deep-held philosophies of the world.

He thought that everything in the universe was in some way interconnected and harmonious.

And he tried to convey it through this famous abstract painting by using black bars and primary colors to signify balance and add depth to the painting.

The artist has subtly added brush strokes to the painting that are rarely visible, adding life to the painting.

This revolutionary piece now hangs at the Kunsthaus, Zurich.

ArtistPiet Mondrian
Date of Creation1930
Dimensions45 cm × 45 cm
LocationKunsthaus, Zurich

 15. 1934 relief (1934)

Image Source: artuk.org

Ben Nicholson’s primary goal was to portray space in a painting that demonstrates his avant-garde painting techniques.

Initially, the painting was just an irregular white on white painting.

Later in the year, Ben cut out the circles and the rectangles, which gave the artwork a collage-like feel.

The main motto of the painting was to signify the balance and depth that can be achieved in a painting.

Ben later inducted this abstract artwork into the Kettle’s yard collection.

It was the only one that was made before World War 2 in the collection.

Now it is among the collections of Tate St. Ives.

Abstract Art Fun Fact: The circles in the painting are drawn by hand rather than using geometric instruments.

ArtistBen Nicholson
Date of Creation1934
Dimensions718 x 965 x 32 mm
LocationTate St. Ives

16. Death and Fire (1940)

Death and Fire (1940)
Image Source: wikimedia

The fact that Paul knew he was going to die soon and painted a death scene in the picture makes it one of the most disturbing abstract paintings.

The main subject of the painting, “Tod,” means death in German, and was often compared to the artist himself.

It’s said that Death himself is the figure running in the back right corner toward Tod.

A yellow glow covers the abstract artwork, which depicts the sunset and the end of life.

The final image of this abstract painting is a symbol of a funeral, where the ferryman takes you to the afterlife.

It is now located at Zentrum Paul Klee in Burn, Switzerland.

ArtistPaul Klee
Date of Creation1940
Dimensions43 cm × 43 cm
LocationZentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Switzerland

17. Broadway Boogie Woogie (1943)

Broadway Boogie Woogie (1943)
Image Source: reprage

It was the last painting ever painted by Piet Mondrian before his death in 1944.

The initial painting started with yellow lines running through a white background, with various color patches connecting them.

Later, small blocks of red, green, and gray were added to give the painting a new personality.

This is unlike his other works, which have huge spaces of white in between the black bars.

This was because of the change in music that Piet had started to listen to and which portrayed a different era in his life, his last.

The owner of the painting, Martins, later donated the painting to the Museum of Modern Art, where it still rests.

ArtistPiet Mondrian
Date of Creation1943
Dimensions127 cm x 127 cm
LocationThe Museum of Modern Art

18. Full Fathom Five (1947)

Full Fathom Five (1947)
Image Source: wordpress.com

Full Fathom Five by Jackson Pollock is the most iconic abstract painting in its brief history.

With principles of surrealism and abstraction, this abstract artwork might seem like “too much” to an average art viewer.

But it displays the seas and their dangers through the genius use of green, blue, and black colors.

The depth portrayed by Jackson’s techniques gives the viewer an insight into his style of painting and mindset.

This painting received significant attention from the artist community, making it one of the most famous abstract paintings ever painted.

This masterpiece is now on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

ArtistJackson Pollock
Date of Creation1947
Dimensions77 cm × 129 cm
LocationMuseum of Modern Art in New York City

 19. White Center (Yellow, Pink, and Lavender on Rose.) (1950)

White Center (Yellow, Pink, and Lavender on Rose.) (1950)
Image Source: etsy

White Center painting is by one of the most famous abstract artists, Mark Rothko.

It is based on his signature painting style, called the Multiform Style.

In this style, multiple blocks of vivid colors are stacked upon each other on a canvas.

From top to bottom, the colors are red, yellow, black, white, and lavender.

Every color other than white resembles the elements of the Earth, whereas white resembles the Sun.

In 2007, this painting was sold to the Royal Family of the UAE for $72.85 million.

It’s huge! But if you want this colorful artwork to make it to your walls, you can find the best replica paintings here.

Abstract Art Fun Fact: It is the most expensive post-war work of art ever sold.

ArtistMark Rothko
Date of Creation1950
Dimensions206 cm x 141 cm
LocationPrivate collection

20. Autumn Rhythm Number 30. (1950)

Autumn Rhythm Number 30. (1950)
Image Source: metmuseum.org

Another painting by Jackson Pollock, this abstract painting is another one of his signature styles called “Drip Painting.”

While painting this painting, Jackson laid the canvas on the ground instead of placing it up on a stand.

creation of adam reproduction

He used sticks, knives, and thinned paint to achieve an unorthodox outcome, which would be unique to his painting.

Autumn Rhythm’s main message was to deliver the philosophy and teachings of surrealism.

The colors of black dripped on a canvas that has a yellow hue help in bringing out the autumn feel, justifying its name.

This famous abstract artwork is now among the collections of the MET.

ArtistJackson Pollock
Date of Creation1950
Dimensions266.7 cm × 525.8 cm
LocationThe Metropolitan Museum of Art

 21. One Number 31 (1950)

One Number 31 (1950)
Image Source: tallengestore

One of Jackson Pollock’s largest paintings, which is also similar to the painting “Autumn Rhythm”.

Jackson also employs the same methods as in that painting, laying the canvas flat on the ground and drizzling paint all over it.

The painting itself is a compilation of the colors tan, blue, and gray splattered all across the canvas.

When asked about this technique, Pollock said, “I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more a part of the painting since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides, and be in the painting. “

Critics said that the way he moved while creating the famous painting looked like he was dancing.

Because of these methods, One Number 31 feels more energetic and awe-inspiring to look at.

It is now at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, where it gets its own wall.

ArtistJackson Pollock
Date of Creation1950
Dimensions270 cm x 531 cm
LocationThe Museum of Modern Art

22. Red (1952)

Mountains and Sea (1952)
Image Source: metmuseum.org

Ab Reinhardt’s works are almost always composed of grids that possess only a single tone.

One of his most well-known pieces is Red, an abstract painting with brushwork so delicate as to hardly be seen on the canvas.

The two inverted red colored T’s are surrounded by squares with the warmer tone of the color red.

This creates a focus on the vibrant red in the middle, giving depth to the painting.

Overall, the famous abstract painting is said to be about shape, color, and symmetry all over the canvas.

It is now a part of the collections of the Museum of Modern Art.

ArtistAb Reinhardt
Date of Creation1952
Dimensions274.4 x 102 cm
LocationThe Museum of Modern Art

23. Mountains and Sea (1952)

Mountains and Sea (1952)
Image Source: smarthistory.org

This painting by Helen Frankenthaler was made by her when she was only 23 years old.

She used a method called staining, which involves painting thin paint onto a raw canvas.

Mountains and Sea consist of intricate and well-planned brush strokes to differentiate it from landscape painting.

Helen used dark black strokes to give character to her artwork after the final painting.

It is known as one of the most famous abstract landscape paintings because of the similarities it shares with other landscape paintings.

When released, the critics hated the painting, but later it became her most coveted painting. 

It now highlights the walls of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

ArtistHelen Frankenthaler
Date of Creation1952
Dimensions220 cm × 297.8 cm
LocationNational Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C

24. Convergence (1952)

Convergence (1952)
Image Source: tallengestore

Convergence is probably Jackson Pollock’s most famous abstract artwork.

The painting was said to be the embodiment of free speech and freedom of expression.

There are circles, swirls, lines, and splatters of color all across his canvas, representing the artist’s rebellious nature.

Because of which, it is also considered the pinnacle of abstract expressionism.

On the canvas, paint has been brushed and dripped in various patterns to create the artwork.

These patterns intrigue the viewer because of the contrast of lighter and darker hues of the color.

The replica was later divided into pieces and made into a puzzle that was later referred to as “the world’s most difficult puzzle.”

The original painting now resides at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in USA.

ArtistJackson Pollock
Date of Creation1952
Dimensions237 cm × 390 cm
LocationBuffalo AKG Art Museum

25. Woman III (1953)

Woman III (1953) is a famous abstract painting
Image Source: arthive

Woman III was originally a part of six painting series called “The Woman” by Willem De Kooning.

One of the most famous abstract woman paintings, it initially received a mixed response from the public due to the aggressiveness with which the artist portrayed the nudity of the subject.

Because of this aggressive painting, De Kooning left holes in the canvas, which were later discovered.

The background and surroundings’ colors were expertly chosen by the artist to draw attention to the subject’s face in the painting.

This painting is now a part of the private collection of art dealer Mr. A Cohen.

If you want to read more about nude art be sure to check out our new blog on Japanese Erotic Art.

ArtistWillem de Kooning
Date of Creation1953
Dimensions170 cm x 120 cm
LocationPrivate collection of Steven A. Cohen

26. No. 61 Rust and Blue (1953)

No. 61 Rust and Blue (1953)
Image Source: singulart

Mark Rothko traditionally painted this famous abstract artwork as per his signature style of “Multiform painting.”

This painting style features the stacking of colors on top of one another to achieve the glow that is observed in the painting.

The artists used the term “ inner light” while explaining the famous abstract artwork.

It has been featured in exhibitions across the world, including in Rome, London, Zurich, and Los Angeles.

This artwork is now found in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Abstract Art Fun Fact: Rothko painted his artworks in different orientations every time and sometimes changed them at the last stage.

Suggested read: Rothko’s Entrance to Subway painting

ArtistMark Rothko
Date of Creation1953
Dimensions292.74 cm × 233.68 cm
LocationMuseum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

27. Interchange (1955)

 Interchange (1955)
Image Source: wikipedia

Willem De Kooning’s piece de resistance, Interchange, was one of his most renowned works for its price.

It is the second most expensive painting in the world, with a price tag of $300 million.

Interchange features a woman sitting on a chair, and is among his series of paintings called “ woman”.

The artist used gestural strokes to make the features of this woman. 

The variety of colors that Willem used to demonstrate his idea of abstraction is sought out by viewers all over the world.

It is now in the private collection of Kenneth C. Griffin.

 Abstract Art Fun Fact: The only painting more expensive than Interchange is Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci.

ArtistWillem de Kooning
Date of Creation1955
Dimensions200.7 cm × 175.3 cm
LocationPrivate collection of Kenneth C. Griffin

28. False Start (1959)

False start is an abstract painting
Image source: artic.edu

False Start by Jasper John bridges the gap between abstract art and pop art.

Because of this unique characteristic, it is also known as one of the most famous pop art paintings of all time.

Apart from the pop feature, False Start is said to overwhelm the viewer with its dominant brushstrokes and vivid color schemes.

The viewer also finds his eyes traveling all over the canvas because of the flags and carefully placed names of colors in different colors.

When asked about the vague nature of this famous abstract artwork, John says, “certain limitations in my work and I had the need to overcome those…. The flags and targets have their colors positioned in a predetermined way. I wanted to find a way to apply color so that the color would be determined by some other method. “

It now intrigues viewers at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

ArtistJasper Johns
Date of Creation1959
Dimensions171 cm x 131 cm
LocationThe Museum of Modern Art in New York

 29. Orange, Red, Yellow (1961)

Orange, Red, Yellow (1961)
Image source: wikipedia

Mark Rothko’s painting Orange, Red, Yellow is one of the most famous abstract art examples of all time.

His fascination with the color red is seen all throughout this painting.

Because of the contrast between the red at the borders and the orange rectangles in the center, it gives an elevated experience to the viewer.

After gazing at this painting for a long time, it is said to clean your peripheral vision.

Mark’s main objective was not to elevate the viewer but to give a strong spiritual message, which was always his niche’.

As with all of Rothko’s paintings, this was sold for $87 million in 2012.

ArtistMark Rothko
Date of Creation1961
Dimensions236.2 cm × 206.4 cm
LocationPrivate collection

30. Leda and the Swan (1962)

Image Source: nytimes.com

Cy Twombly gave birth to this famous abstract masterpiece in Rome, which was his hometown in 1962.

The artist used crayons, ruddy paint, and pencil to vigorously paint his idea of the famous poem, “Leda and the Swan.”

Among the other elements of the painting, the fly, the heart, and the explosion are the most notable pieces of this painting that gained recognition among other artists.

The artist also used precise strokes to create the window and the surroundings, which gives the painting a child-drawn feeling.

The audience of this painting gets overwhelmed by the fusion of the energy explosion.

This painting is now at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

ArtistCy Twombly
Date of Creation1962
LocationThe Museum of Modern Art in New York

 31. Peinture (Etoile Bleue) (1963)

 Peinture(Etoile Bleue) (1963)
Image Source: artnews.com

This world-renowned artwork is another of Joan Miro’s “Dream Painting cycles”.

The name Peinture(Etoile Bleue) means “Painting” (Blue Star).

The canvas is completely enveloped in azure color, with little elements of intricate linework and objects from his dreams.

After its exhibition, it would inspire famous abstract artists’ paintings like “Orange and Yellow” by Mark Rothko and encourage him to indulge in abstract art as well.

When it was auctioned in 2012, it fetched a world record price of $23.5 million, which was three times more than what it was sold for five years ago.

We can’t have this list without mentioning a similar work, which is also in a league of its own.

ArtistJoan Miró
Date of Creation1927
Dimensions115.5 x 89 cm
LocationPrivate Collection

32. Triptych Bleu I, II, III

Triptych Beleu I, II, III
Image Source: wahooart, etsy, redbubble

Triptych Bleu I, II, III is a three-piece compilation of Joan Miro’s famous abstract paintings called Bleu-I, Bleu-II, Bleu III.

Almost all of the painting is monotonously covered with azure blue.

The only exceptions are the blotches of black and red, which can be seen traveling diagonally through the triptych.

At the end of each series of black contours, a red symbol is perfectly placed, which makes the viewer dive into the depths of the deep blue color used in the background.

Most artists believe that these are reminiscent of his older series of dream paintings, which makes them one of the most famous abstract paintings by Joan Miro.

This series of three paintings now share a wall at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris.

ArtistJoan Miro
Date of Creation1961
Dimensions270 cm × 355 cm
LocationMusée National d’Art Moderne

33. No.5 (1962)

No.5 (1963)
Image Source: istockphoto

Although appearing to be one color, Ab Reinhardt has used three distinct shades of black.

But the use of just one dark color makes it unique and one of the most famous abstract paintings.

When he was asked about this painting, he said, “There is a black that is old and a black that is fresh.”

 “Lustrous black and dull black, black in sunlight and black in shadow.”

The whole canvas is divided into three parts, with each part having a hint of red mixed with black.

This classic abstract painting was greatly influenced by the abstract and minimalist artists of the 60s.

It also makes it one of the most famous minimalist paintings in the world.

Unfortunately, it was also his last painting.

It can be found at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

ArtistAb Reinhardt
Date of Creation1962
Dimensions152.4 cm x 152.4 cm
LocationMuseum of Modern Art in New York City

34. Elegy to the Spanish Republic (1967)

Elegy to the Spanish Republic (1967)
Image source: moma.org

Robert Motherwell painted this abstract painting as a “lamentation or a funeral song” after the Spanish Civil War.

The main subjects of this painting are the black oval blocks that appear one after another throughout the whole artwork.

The message that they send is of something that is void of color and not a hole.

The reason for this is that the pattern describes the cycle of life and death.

Which was in accordance with Motherwell’s principle of surrealism and automatism.

The famous abstract artist described his elegies as a “private insistence that a terrible death happened that should not be forgotten.”

After it was released, it received positive reviews from the artists as it stood for the suffering and loss of people.

Now it hangs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

ArtistRobert Motherwell
Date of Creation1967
Dimensions208.2 cm x 351.1 cm
LocationThe Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

35. 180 Farben (1971)

180 Farben (1971)
Image Source: sothebys

Gerhard Richter’s 180 Farben, or 180 colors, was made to promote the right to choose.

Providing the three primary colors and then mixing fifteen hues of colors with each to create a shiny, dark, and glowy variation of each color resulted in these 180 variations of color.

The artist then painted these variations as blocks onto a 6-foot 6-inch tall square canvas.

After spending a long time with this famous abstract artwork, the viewer is said to have feelings of curiosity, aspiration, and desire instilled in them.

It is now housed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

ArtistGerhard Richter
Date of Creation1971
Dimensions200 cm × 200 cm
LocationThe Philadelphia Museum of Art

36. On A Clear Day (1973)

On A Clear Day (1973)

On A Clear Day was one of 30,12-inch x 12-inch printworks made by Agnes Martin.

It is said that after achieving great success in the United States, the artist left everything to settle down in isolation in New Mexico.

After six years, Agnes reintroduced herself into the art world through these well-known prints.

The main subject of this artwork is the square grid that the print forms on the paper.

This square grid was the signature style of Agnes’s style.

The viewer is said to initially perceive a variety of expressions from the grid of words.

But the main expressions that the artist wanted to strike were the innocence of the mind and the subtle moments of happiness, beauty, and freedom.

The 30 prints indicate the days in the month or the passage of time.

All its prints now share a wall at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

ArtistAgnes Martin
Date of Creation1973
Dimensions30.8 × 30.5 cm
LocationThe Museum of Modern Art, New York

37. Juin-Octobre (1985)

Juin-Octobre (1985)
Image Source: artnet

The famous Chinese abstract artist, Zou Wou-ki, is the father of this gigantic wall abstract painting.

It was commissioned by the famous Chinese architect, I.M. Pei, to add beauty to the Raffles City Complex in Singapore.

This abstract wall art is painted with luscious light green on one side and beautiful aqua blue on the other.

The centerpiece features clever use of the colors yellow and white to give the viewer an amber experience.

The artwork was then converted into a triptych, making it a final compilation of three distinct pieces.

One of the most famous Asian abstract paintings, Juin-Octobre, was sold at an auction in China for 85.2 Hong Kong dollars to a private collector.

ArtistZou Wou-ki
Date of Creation1985
LocationPrivate Collection

38. Abstrakte Bild 809-1 (1994)

Abstrakte Bild 809-1  (1994)
Image Source: artnet

One of the most expensive paintings made by Gerard Richter, Akstrate Bild 809-1, is unique in its own way.

The artist has added layers upon layers of paint upon an already-painted canvas and then dragged the wet paint down with a squeegee on either side.

After the layer dried, Gerard would use the same canvas and add another layer to give the painting depth.

Once the viewer starts spectating this famous abstract painting, the layers start to dissolve in his mind, unfolding a new sensation at every corner.

It is rumored that the way the colors came out on the canvas was completely different from what the artist had imagined them to be.

Abstrakte Bild was then sold in 2013 to a private collector for $34.1 million.

ArtistGerard Richter
Date of Creation1994
Dimensions225 cm x 200 cm
LocationPrivate Collection

39. Small flies and Other Wings (2013)

Small flies and Other Wings (2013)
Image Source: artsy

One of the 21st century’s most famous abstract paintings, Small Flies and Wings by Christina Ay Tjoe, is regarded as an artwork with the most mixed-up subjects.

Many artists commented on Christina’s use of pink and its shades as inviting.

This is because of the bland background used, which contrasts beautifully with the pink and makes it pop.

At first glance, the canvas takes the viewer all across the subjects, until the viewer realizes that the spectacle is a graveyard of small flies overlapping each other.

 This recent abstract artwork was sold in Hong Kong for 11.7 million Hong Kong dollars to a private collector.

ArtistChristina Ay Tjoe
Date of Creation2013
Dimensions165.3 x 150.5 cm 
LocationPrivate Collection

40. Slit (2020)

Slit (2020)
Image Source: artsy

An up and coming abstract artist, Osamu Kobayashi, painted Slit with a playful geometry in mind.

The dark hues of the background make the actual subject of the painting stand out and receive all the attention.

Because of his use of shades of bright yellow, this artwork received great recognition from artists and also marked the beginning of an era of modern abstract painting.

It was sold to a private collector for an unknown amount after it was made.

ArtistOsamu Kobayashi
Date of Creation2020
Dimensions45.7 cm × 40.6 cm
LocationPrivate Collection

Surrealism, De Stijl, and abstraction are the three pillars of this artistic movement.

At the core of this genre is the idea that people should never be afraid to express their beliefs or be constrained by the shackles of reality.

These artists are masters at getting their audience to linger and connect with their abstract paintings.

Similarly, the paintings on this list must have struck a chord with you, and wouldn’t they look amazing hanging from the wall in your living room?

Then why not get a replica hand painted by a professional artist?

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Q1. What is abstract art?

An artwork that does not aim to achieve an accurate depiction of reality while portraying its subjects.

Q2. Which is the most expensive abstract painting?

No. 5 by Jackson Pollock is the most expensive abstract painting in the world. It was sold for 140 million dollars.

Q3. Who are some of the most famous abstract painters from the USA?

Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Georgia O’Keeffe are some of the most famous abstract artists in the USA.

Q4. Who are the most famous abstract artists today?

Some of the most famous abstract artists active today are Osamu Kobayashi, Loie Hollowell, and Manuel Mathieu.

Q5. What is the most famous abstract line art?

Wassily Kandinsky’s Composition X is regarded as the most famous abstract line art ever made.

2 thoughts on “40 Famous Abstract Paintings: Interpreting The Artist’s Reality

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