Tachisme

1945 - 1960

Term often used interchangeably with art informel or Lyrical Abstraction and applied to the movement in abstract art that flourished in Europe, especially in France, in the late 1940s and 1950s. As early as 1899 Félix Fénéon referred to the work of the Impressionists as ‘tachiste’ to distinguish it from the more studied technique of the Derived from the French word signifying a blot, stain or mark, the term emphasizes the spontaneous gestural quality that characterizes much of this work. It thus refers more specifically to the branch of Art informel closest in spirit and technique to automatism, in that the painted marks are presented as virtually unmediated by the conscious mind, and as a direct counterpart to the work of American Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline and Sam Francis. Though often used more generally, thus defined the term best describes the work of artists such as Hans Hartung, Wols , Georges Mathieu, Henri Michaux and Pierre Soulages. Mathieu, for instance, adopted a gestural, calligraphic style in works such as Capetians Everywhere (1954; Paris, Pompidou). By contrast other painters associated with Art informel, for example Jean Bazaine, Alfred Manessier and Serge Poliakoff, favoured a more controlled approach both in their composition and in their use of colour.
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© Grove Art / OUP

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