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(b Dvinsk [now Daugavpils, Latvia], 25 Sept. 1903; d New York, 25 Feb. 1970). Russian-born American painter, one of the outstanding figures of Abstract Expressionism and one of the creators of Colour Field Painting. He emigrated to the USA as a child in 1913. After dropping out of Yale University in 1923 he moved to New York and studied at the Art Students League under Max Weber, but he regarded himself as essentially self-taught as a painter. In the 1930s and 1940s he went through phases influenced by Expressionism and Surrealism, but from about 1947 he began to develop his distinctive mature style. Typically his paintings feature large rectangular expanses of colour arranged parallel to each other, usually in a vertical format. The edges of these shapes are softly uneven, giving them a hazy, pulsating quality, and they seem to gently hover or float over the canvas.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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