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Informalism or Art Informel is a pictorial movement from the 1943–1950s,[1] that includes all the abstract and gestural tendencies that developed in France and the rest of Europe during the World War II, similar to American abstract expressionism started 1946.[2][3] Several distinguishing trends are identified within the movement such as lyrical abstraction, matter painting, New Paris School, tachisme and art brut. The French art critic Michel Tapié coined the term "art autre" (other art) in the homonymous book published in 1952 in relation to non-geometric abstract art.[3] It was instrumental in improving the concept of abstract art in France during the Early 1950s. Its use in the expression of political ideologies in South America during the Early 1950s was quite common, as it was seen as the main way to show support for the changing political climate.

Pictorial practices[edit]

Within this tendency, each artist allows full freedom of expression to the unforeseen quality of materials (a taste for stains or chance) and randomness of gestures, thus rejecting drawing and control and the traditional conception of painting and its development that evolves from the idea to the completed work via sketches and projects. It’s an open work that a spectator can read freely. The pictorial adventure is completely new; instead of going from the meaning to constructing the corresponding signs, the artist begins with the making of signs and gives the corresponding meaning. In the works of Laurent Jiménez-Balaguer, the language of signs is further deconstructed, allowing for a universal interpretation of a private language. The contribution of music produced the art of musical informalism. Plastic characteristics of this painting are: spontaneity of the gesture, automatism, expressive use of material, the nonexistence of preconceived ideas, the experience that the deed generates the idea, and the work is the place and the privileged moment whereby the artist discovers himself; it is the end of the reproduction of the object for the representation of the theme that becomes the end of the painting, with a sometime calligraphic aspect, referring to a Calligraphic Abstraction in relation to the works of Georges Mathieu, Hans Hartung, or Pierre Soulages.




During the 1950s and 1960s, at the height of the Venezuelan dictatorship, Venezuelan artists, such as Carlos Cruz Diez, Gego, and others, used Informalist art in response to the shift from dictatorship to democracy that their country was dealing with during this time. Their art represented their feelings on the matter as well as their response to this shift and to represent a lot of huge figures in the change over from a dictatorship into democracy.[4] They used art to represent their support for the shift away from dictatorship during these times of extreme political turbulence in their country.[5]

Improvement on Abstraction[edit]

During the Early 1950s, France was a hotbed for Informalist art, referred to as Un art autre, or art informel, which were terms coined by French art critic Michel Tapié, who published a book by the name of Un Art Autre the same year as the exhibition of the same name.[6] This style was about more than just the paintings, as it also referred to concepts such as lyrical abstraction and painting styles such as tachisme, and matter painting. Artists were inspired by European paintings, as well as American expressionism, while using automatism as their way of conveying this new style of art.[7] Important artists that came out of this period in France were artists such as Pierre Soulages, Jean Paul Riopelle, and San Francisco.

Informalist painters[edit]


Year Title Location
1952 Un Art Autre[12] Paris, France
2018 Contesting Modernity: Informalism in Venezuela, 1955–1975 Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Grandes Momentos del Arte - Ficha El informalismo europeo". 2012-04-13. Archived from the original on 2012-04-13. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  2. ^ Walker, John. (1992) "Art Informel". Glossary of Art, Architecture & Design since 1945, 3rd. ed., G.K. Hall, Boston, Mass. ISBN 978-0-81610-556-4 Archived December 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b "Art informel – Art Term". Tate. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  4. ^ "Total Creative Freedom: "Contesting Modernity" Explores Informalism". The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  5. ^ "Contesting Modernity: Informalism in Venezuela, 1955–1975 (October 28, 2018–January 21, 2019)". The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  6. ^ "Un art autre - Lévy Gorvy". Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  7. ^ Tate. "Art autre". Tate. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  8. ^ a b "Informalism, Abstract and Gestural Trends". types of art styles (in Spanish). 2018-01-31. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  9. ^ Ramírez, Mari Carmen (2018). Contesting Modernity, Informalism in Venezuela, 1955–1975. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300236897.
  10. ^ Cook, Bernard A. (2001). Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia. United Kingdom, Garland. p. 49. ISBN 0815340575.
  11. ^ "Rodrigo Franzão: Industrial strength stitching". textile art. 2019-10-07. Retrieved 2019-10-07.
  12. ^ Tate. "Art informel". Tate. Retrieved 2022-04-23.