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Art Informel
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French term describing a wide swathe of related types of abstract painting highly prevalent, even dominant, in the 1940s and 1950s, including tendencies such as Tachism, Matter Painting, and Lyrical Abstraction. Mainly refers to European art, but embraces American Abstract Expressionism. The term was used by the French critic Michel Tapié in his 1952 book Un Art Autre to describe types of art which had in common that they were based on highly improvisatory (ie informal) procedures and were often highly gestural. Tapié saw this art as 'other' because it appeared to him as a complete break with tradition. An important source of this kind of painting was the Surrealist doctrine of automatism. An exhibition titled Un Art Autre was organised in Paris the same year as Tapié's book and included Appel, Burri, De Kooning, Dubuffet, Fautrier, Mathieu, Riopelle, Wols. Other key figures were Henri Michaux, Hans Hartung and Pierre Soulages. The term Art Autre, from the title of Tapié's book, is also used for this art, but Art Informel seems to have emerged as the preferred name.
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