In abstract drawings, the artist’s choice of medium--whether graphite, charcoal, ink, conte crayon, pastel, etc.--type of paper, and their preferred application technique all share center stage in the absence of figurative subject matter. For this reason, abstract pen drawings, for example, may evoke a mood wholly different from abstract pastel drawings even if they share similar imagery, style, and composition. Those who appreciate abstract painting should definitely consider adding abstract art drawings to their collection, perhaps showcasing a group of drawings in a variety of media. Explore our diverse selection of abstract drawings for sale by emerging talent from around the world.
Though the forces that gave rise to abstract art long precede the 20th century, it wasn’t until the early to mid 1900s that artists consciously departed from realistically representing their subject matter by creating works of partial or complete abstraction. Many early abstract drawings served as studies for works to be created in another medium, but a number were also created as individual works of art in their own right. Today, many artists choose to create abstract drawings exclusively or in addition to paintings for the unique properties and effects afforded to them by drawing media such as graphite, charcoal, conte crayon, ink pens, and more.
Artists favoring fine lines and highly detailed ornamentation may work with graphite pencils of varying hardness on smooth paper, whereas those wanting blurred lines and darker shades may choose softer, highly smudge-able, charcoal on coarse paper. Conte crayon is a popular choice among artists for its wide variety of colors and rich hues (a result of its oil content) and for giving the artist the ability to create precise lines, something difficult to achieve with soft, powdery pastels. Artists typically use acid-free paper and apply a protective fixatif coating to preserve the integrity of their works for years to come.
Though famed as painters, Joan Miro, Wassily Kandinsky, Arshile Gorky, and Georgia O’Keefe also produced a significant number of abstract drawings as both studies for paintings and as stand-alone works. Regardless of the artist’s intent, many of these works on paper are veritable masterworks and are frequently exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. In fact, in 1915 (prior to O’Keefe’s first public exhibition in New York) O’Keefe held a private exhibition in her bedroom consisting exclusively of abstract charcoal drawings. Photographer Alfred Stieglitz would later exhibit some of O’Keefe’s early drawings at his renowned gallery, 291.