Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes on abstraction.

“Abstraction forces you to reach the highest level of the basics.” – Alan Soffer

“Abstraction is a mental process we use when trying to discern what is essential or relevant to a problem; it does not require a belief in abstract entities.” – Tom G. Palmer

“Abstract literally means to draw from or separate. In this sense every artist is abstract… a realistic or non-objective approach makes no difference. The result is what counts.” – Richard Diebenkorn

“To abstract is to draw out the essence of a matter. To abstract in art is to separate certain fundamentals from irrelevant material which surrounds them.” – Ben Shahn

“One of the most striking of abstract art’s appearances is her nakedness, an art stripped bare.” – Robert Motherwell

“It was only since the turn of the century that one returned to the immense role that abstraction plays in the human mind by its power of concentration upon absolute essentials.” – S. Giedion

“I understand abstract art as an attempt to feed imagination with a world built through the basic sensations of the eyes.” – Jean Helion

“Painting, like music, has nothing to do with the reproduction of nature, nor interpretation of intellectual meanings. Whoever is able to feel the beauty of colors and forms has understood non-objective painting.” – Hilla Rebay

“What does that represent? There was never any question in plastic art, in poetry, in music, of representing anything. It is a matter of making something beautiful, moving, or dramatic – this is by no means the same thing.” – Fernand Leger

“An abstract painting is exactly what it purports to be, whether it be paint splatters or stripes, while a representational painting has to give the illusion of the paint being air, or flesh, or flowers… therefore abstract paintings are rather concrete while representational paintings are rather abstract.” – David Leffel

“The abstract painter considers the realist painter to be the abstract painter and himself the realist because he deals realistically with the paint and does not try to transform it into something that it is not.” – Jimmy Leuders

“Abstract art has helped us to experience the emotional power inherent in pure form.” – Anton Ehrenzweig

“I expect of abstraction as much as what imagery does for me… to carry meaning.” – Kay WalkingStick

“The goal of abstract art is to communicate the intangible, that which eludes the photograph and normal seeing.” – Curtis Verdun

“Abstraction generally involves implication, suggestion and mystery, rather than obvious description.” – Robert Genn

“Abstraction allows man to see with his mind what he cannot physically see with his eyes… Abstract art enables the artist to perceive beyond the tangible, to extract the infinite out of the finite. It is the emancipation of the mind. It is an explosion into unknown areas.” – Arshile Gorky

“The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can clarify in paint.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“Abstraction demands more from me than realism. Instead of reproducing something outside of me, now I go inward and use everything I’ve learned thus far in my life.” Susan Avishai

“A conscious decision to eliminate certain details and include selective bits of personal experiences or perceptual nuances, gives the painting more of a multi-dimension than when it is done directly as a visual recording. This results in a kind of abstraction… and thus avoids the pitfalls of mere decoration.” – Wayne Thiebaud

“Abstraction is one of the greatest visionary tools ever invented by human beings to imagine, decipher, and depict the world.” – Jerry Saltz

“You can’t look at abstract art without thinking.” – Patricia Cole-Ferullo

“There is no abstract art.  You must always start with something.  Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.” – Pablo Picasso

“Even an abstract form has to have a likeness.” – Willem de Kooning

“Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or tree. It is lines and colors put together so that they may say something.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“In every landscape should reside jewels of abstract art waiting to be discovered.” – Melissa Brown

“All painting, no matter what you are painting, is abstract in that it’s got to be organized.” – David Hockney

“All art is an abstraction to some degree.” – Henry Moore

“Art, indeed, began with abstraction.” – S. Giedion

“Do not copy nature too much. Art is an abstraction.” – Paul Gauguin

“The abstract nature of reality is the source of beauty.” – William DeRaymond

“Two elements are needed to form a truth – a fact and an abstraction.” – Remy de Gourmont

“Abstract pictures are fictive models, because they make visible a reality that we can neither see nor describe, but whose existence we can postulate.” – Gerhard Richter

“If I choose abstraction over reality, it is because I consider it the lesser chaos.” – Robert Brault

“Abstract art is a fundamental distrust of the theory of reality concocted by the eyes.” – Robert Brault

“What is real is not the external form, but the essence of things… it is impossible for anyone to express anything essentially real by imitating its exterior surface.” – Brancusi

“The only way to say what abstract is, is to say what it is not.” – Ad Reinhardt

“Abstraction is itself an abstract word and has no single meaning … Every word in our language is abstract, because it represents something else.” – Eric Maisel

“Abstract art: a product of the untalented sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.” – Al Capp

Find more Creativity Quotes here.

Discover more quotes daily in my Twitter and Facebook streams.


  • Al Capp — tell us how you really feel! 😉

Subscribe

Get the RSS Feed  

Subscribe by Email