MOV File
Online Collections


Term Type

Art & Architecture Thesaurus

Preferred Term



Refers to art styles that were a reaction against the traditional European conception of art as the imitation of nature. In the strictest sense, the term refers to 20th-century Western painting, sculpture, or graphic art that does not include forms that represent objects from the visible world. The term is sometimes applied to art in which natural forms are only simplified or changed in their representation, but not eliminated entirely. For the process of formulating general concepts by abstracting common properties of instances, use "abstraction."



Abstract art

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The Portland Art Museum’s Online Collections site is brought to you thanks to support provided by the State of Oregon through its second Culture, History, Arts, Movies, and Preservation funding program and generous awards from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts.