Abstract Art (Art Essentials)

Stephanie Straine

The Art Essentials Series continues with a vivid introduction to the ever-evolving story of abstract art told through the work of more than seventy-five groundbreaking artists.

While it is considered by many artists to be a pure and simplistic form of expression, abstract art is also often thought of as vague or exceedingly theoretical. This new installment in the Art Essentials series demystifies the concept and history of abstraction, taking the reader on a journey that spans the globe and examines the pioneering artists of the last century who advanced abstraction with their work and changed in the process.

Weaving together narratives of familiar artists with fascinating accounts of lesser-known figures, author Stephanie Straine follows the history of abstraction from its multifaceted beginnings in Europe through its appearance and transformation during global constructivist, abstract expressionist, and minimalist movements. This book showcases a diverse spectrum of global artists and provides insight into abstraction in the digital age, analyzing historical debates about the abstract through the works of contemporary artists such as Julie Mehretu, El Anatsui, and Rana Begum.

With her lively and illuminating discussion, Straine offers a much-needed, straightforward introduction to abstraction and reveals the wide range of philosophical, political, and visual theories that have shaped this essential art form.


Stephanie Straine


Stephanie Straine is curator of exhibitions and projects at Modern Art Oxford and has previously worked at Tate Liverpool and the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh. She publishes widely on modern and contemporary art.