Paintings . – In the USA all the pictorial currents have their audience. Non-figurative painting, the most vital around the middle of the century, is returning in the last few years towards vaguely figurative motifs, except for the oriental-inspired calligraphic painting which has the greatest exponents in M. Tobey, BW Tomlin (d. 1953), M. Graves. If we identify in a certain surrealistic taste the most constant component of American art from Albert P. Ryder onwards (examples are also found in certain advertising events as well as in some cartoons in which sometimes there is also a taste for horror, such as, for example, in Chas. Addams), it should be noted that surrealism has also borne fruit in work of those expressionist-abstract painters who can be connected to the previous generation through John Marin (died 1953). Very important for the influence on the new generations was Hans Hofmann who brought to New York from Munich and Paris the new concepts of space articulation through an expressive treatment of color. The founder of the abstract expressionists is Arshile Gorky (suicide in 1948); after the premature end of J. Pollock, the most successful representatives of this group are W. de Kooning, R. Motherwell and Philip and Guston, who, with abstract images, full of evocative, often obscure and mostly violent suggestions, sought to dissuade the viewer from any temptation to look at art as a world of escape. Their painting has been called “action painting” (they tried to dissuade the viewer from any temptation to look at art as a world of escape. Their painting has been called “action painting” (they tried to dissuade the viewer from any temptation to look at art as a world of escape. Their painting has been called “action painting” (action painting). Artists of the previous generation, such as the romantic interpreter of Middle West nature, Charles Burchfield, or Peter Blume (whose polemic and symbolist Eternal City of 1932 is not to be forgotten), or E. Hopper poet of loneliness, of the desolate desperation of cities, are permeated with a symbolist surrealism that is even more recognizable today in the visionary abstractions of Morris Graves and Loren Maclver, and in the static primordial forms of W. Baziotes or Th. Stamos.
In the realistic currents, of course, we find the only echoes of regionalism in American painting, a regionalism which today, however, can be considered as definitively disappeared.
Jack Levine, who denounces human ambitions with expressionist means, can be counted, with Ph. Evergood, among the more properly social realists who gave their most valid works in the years between 1929 and the end of the Second World War and whose most significant representative, Ben Shahn, in recent years has allowed himself to be tempted by a sort of abstractionism that has taken away a lot from the aggressiveness of his art. The latest product of realistic painting is a somewhat mannered painting, with tromp – l’oeil effects, but, as can be seen in its most illustrious representative A. Wyeth, full of sentimental symbolism and always inspired by the American scene; painting that both in spirit and technique finds its precedent in the regional style, permeated with satire, of Grant Wood (1892-1942) as well as in photography, an art that has reached very high levels in the USA.
A separate discussion must be made for Franz Kline whose great abstractions in black and white are connected to the calligraphic painting of Tomlin on one side and on the other to the abstract expressionisms of de Kooning, Clifford Still and Mark Rothko finally, with their reducing the painting with pure relationships of color and surface, in the most literal sense, seems to represent the most revolutionary and most American aspect of painting in the USA, as their way of painting has no relation to traditional pictorial forms.
Graphic arts have reached the highest level in the USA. The Atelier 17, who had moved from Paris to New York before the Second World War, was at the center of contacts between foreign and American artists and the spread of new techniques under the guidance of SW Hayter. An extremely important master for the diffusion of color woodcut was L. Schanker, and today the Graphic department of the univ. of Iowa under the guidance of Mauricio Lasansky (b. in Buenos Aires in 1914, moved to the USA in 1943) or that of Yale University under the guidance of Gabor Peterdi (born in Budapest, 1915). They distinguish themselves in the field of graphic arts, as well as well-known personalities in other fields such as the sculptor Leonard Baskin or the painter Ben Shahn, numerous other artists including: Adja Yunkers, Will Barnet, Max Kaim, Richard Zoellner, Karl Schrag,
Sculpture. – As regards sculpture, the general considerations made for the other arts are partly valid, while taking into account, as a matter of proportions, the lesser accessibility of the sculptures to private homes. The difficulty has been partially obviated in recent years by architects who use sculptures not only for decorative purposes, but also for architectural ones: v. for example. the low steel structure in the shape of a tree in front of the Graduate Center of Harvard University by R. Lippold or, of the same, the construction (1958) for the entrance to the Inland Steel building in Chicago (arch. L. Skidmore, NA Owings and JO Merrill); the great sculpture (1951) by H. Ferber, The burning bush for the facade of the synagogue of the B’nai Israel Congregation in Millburn, NJ (inside which is a fresco by R. Motherwell); the huge piece of furniture by A. Calder (1957) for the entrance to the arrivals building at Idlewild airport.
Typical of American sculptors are the particular interest in the material and the mastery in metal welding derived from Picasso and González: these factors; together with that surrealistic component, which seems to us to be characteristic of the American artist, have led to the birth of an artist like A. Calder in America, whose fantastic mobile and stable constructions seem to us to refer to pictorial experiences with a good dose of Yankee humor by Miró. The most valid tendencies in American sculpture today are those of the followers of the abstract tradition of Arp, Brancusi and Moore, who can be broadly divided into two groups: that of the constructivists (Gabo, Lippold, Lassaw, who try to hold back space in a light network and calculated to the maximum, manifestation of their programmatic detachment from the life that surrounds them); and that of the abstract-expressionists who are perhaps above all indebted to the symbolisms of Giacometti and González and who are in the expression and the proposed aims the exact equivalent of the abstract-expressionists in painting. This is the current that offers the greatest number of talented artists today; in the very hardness of the material they try to bend to their ends, they manifest a continuous exploration of new fields; we remember among the most successful: Th. J. Roszak, David Smith, Seymour Lipton, H. Ferber. This is the current that offers the greatest number of talented artists today; in the very hardness of the material they try to bend to their ends, they manifest a continuous exploration of new fields; we remember among the most successful: Th. J. Roszak, David Smith, Seymour Lipton, H. Ferber.