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The earliest examples of abstract oil painting come from 19th-century Europe. Since abstract art was inherently avant-garde and allowed more details for lucid analysis, most artists of the era preferred the style to express themselves free of Realism's strict boundaries. Nevertheless, it wasn't until the early 20th century that abstract art replaced Realism in popularity.

The social and political atmosphere of the 20th century - World War II in particular - influenced the earliest abstract artists' perception of visual arts. Most European artists of the era had to flee their homes for the USA, while some stayed and reflected the turmoil in their abstract oil paintings. Arshile Gorky and Marcel Duchamp are two of the most prominent artists who created works signifying their reactions to dramatic shifts in their lives.
Nevertheless, some artists were more concerned with conveying a spiritual message through the highly visionary nature of abstract art. Wassily Kandinsky, who came from a background in music and was often considered the father of the technique, believed that art could harbour emotion via elements such as colour and shapes. On the other hand, Hilma af Klint, whose abstract works predate even Kandinsky's, used abstract elements to reflect her mysticism on canvas.
The current artistic freedom of the 19th century extended its influence to the following century, boosting the popularity of abstract art. Since this was a significant shift from the classic paintings of Academic art, many artists produced experimental pieces within the abstract wave. By the early 20th century, several abstract artistic movements had already emerged.

What İs The Abstract Oil Painting Technique?

Due to its complex nature, abstract art is often considered hard to understand or easy to produce. Some people look at the paintings of Abstract Expressionists, where colours and paints are mashed together, and think they can merely throw paint on a canvas until it looks like something cool to exhibit. However, this underestimation misses the idea behind abstract art. 
Abstract oil painting technique puts a significant emphasis on the idea of intent. Unlike Realist paintings or portraits, where the intent is to represent the subject matter perfectly, abstract oil painting is born from a place of personal intent. Good abstract pieces represent a vision in the artist's mind, a specific scene harbouring complex emotions through lines and colour.
It's possible to liken abstract art to music. While some styles of abstract art make us feel ecstatic and alive, others might not be the best fit for our taste. Thanks to the style's emphasis on artistic freedom, there's a myriad of forms.

Types Of Abstract Oil Painting

Various abstract oil painting types employ different uses of colour and elements to harbour profound emotions and ideas. Therefore, before deciding to buy abstract oil painting online, it's ideal to know what different styles are.


Cubism is an iconic form under the umbrella of Abstract painting. It is known for breaking objects into distinct planes for distinct perspectives within the same space.
As it broke from the illusion of depth of traditional European art, creating new possibilities for abstract art, Cubism marked a revolution for 20th-century avant-garde artists.

Abstract Expressionism

Abstract Expressionism is a term that refers to different forms of abstract art developed by American artists between the 1940s and 50s.
One of the most prominent pioneers of Abstract Expressionism was Jackson Pollock, who used a unique technique of dripping and pouring paint onto raw canvas laid flat on the ground.
While Pollock's expressionist works consisted of busy scenes with mixed colours, lines and elements, some Abstract Expressionist artists followed quite the opposite method. Artists like Mark Rothko or Clyfford Still painted large areas of colour to evoke contemplation and meditation in viewers.

Geometric Abstraction

Geometric Abstraction uses geometric forms to reconstruct visual reality. These geometric elements are usually placed in a non-illusionistic space and combined into non-objective arrangements, creating aesthetically appealing and figurative scenes.


Neo-Plasticism was an avant-garde art theory pioneered by Dutch artists Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondriaan. It aimed at creating the ideal art by using basic elements to evoke complex emotions and convey messages.
Neo-Plastcisist works often use primary colours, sometimes even non-colours, squares, rectangles, and straight, horizontal or vertical lines.

Popular And Historical Abstract Oil Paintings

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso was one of the earliest examples of Cubism. The painting, which contains five nude female prostitutes in a brothel, was revolutionary. Picasso's unique use of colours and lines to create an abstract personal painting inspired many of his contemporaries to develop their own forms.
Today, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon is deemed one of the most beautiful abstract oil paintings, and Picasso's influence on modern oil painting is undebatable.;

Piet Mondrian, Tableau no. I, 1921

Tableau no. I is a creative handmade abstract oil painting by Piet Mondrian, a pioneer of the Neo-Plasticism movement. The painting demonstrates influences from analytical Cubism, where objects are broken into fragments to create a complex structure. Although the motif is barely recognisable, the underdrawing of Tableau no. I is actually a tree.

Joan Miro, Peinture (Etoile Bleue),1927

Joan Miro was a Catalan artist who contributed to his time's art scene through many sculptures and paintings he produced. However, the famous painting Peinture (Etoile Bleue) might be considered his masterpiece.
The piece contains various shapes on an intensely blue background, which the artist described as "the colour of my dreams." This iconic painting is also known and valued for representing a transition between figurative and abstract art.

Robert Motherwell, Elegy to the Spanish Republic, 1965-67

Robert Motherwell, a prominent pioneer of Automatism, was deeply affected by the fall of the Spanish Republic. He even described the event as "a terrible death happened that should not be forgotten." Therefore, he created the piece as a "lamentation or funeral song" after the Spanish Civil War.
Elegy to the Spanish Republic is a perfect example of the Surrealist Automatism technique, where the artist suppresses conscious control to unleash their subconscious creativity.

Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting 599, 1986

Gerhard Richter was one of the 20th century's most well-known artists. His still-life portraits, landscapes, seascapes, photo paintings and abstract pieces have been influencing artists for almost a century. But Gerhard Richter's personal favourite was Abstract Painting 599. The artist describes the piece as "fictive models because they make visible a reality that we can neither see nor describe, but whose existence we can postulate."


How to clean abstract oil painting

The best way to clean your abstract oil painting off dust is to use a soft paintbrush. Clean a small surface at a time, and always be gentle. Pressing too hard on the canvas might damage your painting.
We advise against using water, alcohol, or baby oil.

How to frame an abstract oil painting

Here is a step-by-step guide to frame an abstract oil painting:
  1. Choose the right frame for your painting. Usually, less ornate frames with thin borders are the best for abstract paintings,
  2. When you receive the frame, unpack it and place the painting inside the frame,
  3. Place acid-free paper on the back of the canvas,
  4. Add the cardboard backing,
  5. Fit the frame and seal the back of your painting with type,
  6. If you need it, install the hanging mount on the frame.

How to protect abstract oil painting

Always hang your oil painting somewhere away from heat sources and direct sunlight. You can occasionally clean the painting with a brush. Also, you can keep the humidity level low to preserve the quality of your artwork.

What to consider when buying

When looking for original abstract oil painting for sale UK, you should always consider a few things:
  • Buy what you like: Never purchase an artwork just because it's popular or you think it's "sophisticated." Art is supposed to be something that makes you feel happy, excited and interested.
  • You don't have to be an art expert: You don't have to be an art expert or understand the "secret meaning behind the painting" to buy artwork.
  • Know your budget: When buying an artwork, you should know your budget and then look for abstract oil painting buy. Go for the highest quality products for your budget.
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