Abstraction, next to figurative painting, comprises the second pole of "classical modernism". Kandinsky was the first to distance himself from the representative world, around 1913 – after he, according to his own statement, had recognized that objects would only harm his paintings. Instead, the synaesthetic principle, that is, "the spiritual in art", became increasingly important. In the book of the same name, he consistently proclaimed and systematized executed abstraction. For this reason, Kandinsky is considered the actual founder of abstract painting, although other artists also removed themselves independently from objects: for example, also in Russia, the meditative has strong significance. Malewitsch described his new style as "suprematic" and, as he said, summarized "all of painting in one black square on a white canvas". El Lissitzky too tried to break through the traditional boundaries of the canvas, which he used as a building site on which he translated architectural building stones into painting by means of so-called "Prouns". Art, technology and architecture were to be unified. A similar path was taken with the constructivism of the journal De Stijl in the Netherlands. Here it is Mondrian who demonstrated the abstracting principles most clearly: purely elementary means were to be used exclusively, both in terms of color and form. A parallel development was also an organic variant of abstraction such as that embodied by Miró or Arp.
Other representatives of abstract art before 1945 are: Robert Delaunay, Kasimir Malewitsch, Joan Miró, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.
Related artists: Ackermann, Max | Adler, Jankel | Afro | Albers, Josef | Alechinsky, Pierre | Alt, Otmar | Altenbourg, Gerhard | Antes, Horst | Appel, Karel | Arp, Jean | Baerwind, Rudi | Bargheer, Eduard | Baselitz, Georg | Bauer, Rudolf | Baumeister, Willi | Berke, Hubert | Beuys, Joseph | Bissier, Julius Heinrich | Blais, Jean-Charles | Bott, Francis | Braque, Georges | Brodwolf, Jürgen | Brüning, Peter | Buchheister, Carl | Calder, Alexander | Calderara, Antonio | Capogrossi, Giuseppe | Castillo, Jorge | Cavael, Rolf | Chillida, Eduardo | Cimiotti, Emil | Clavé, Antoni | Cocteau, Jean | Cucchi, Enzo | Dahmen, Karl Fred | Davringhausen, Heinrich Maria | Delaunay-Terk, Sonia | Derain, André | Dexel, Walter | Dorazio, Piero | Droese, Felix | Dubuffet, Jean | Ehrhardt, Curt | Ernst, Max | Estève, Maurice | Fautrier, Jean | Feininger, Lyonel | Fernandez, Arman | Fetting, Rainer | Fietz, Gerhard | Fischer, Lothar | Fleischmann, Adolf Richard | Fontana, Lucio | Francis, Sam | Friedlaender, Johnny | Fruhtrunk, Günter | Fuhr, Franz Xaver | Fussmann, Klaus | Förg, Günther | Gaul, Winfred | Geccelli, Johannes | Geiger, Rupprecht | Geitlinger, Ernst | Gilles, Werner | Girke, Raimund | González, Julio | Graubner, Gotthard | Grieshaber, HAP | Götz, Karl Otto | Hartung, Hans | Hartung, Karl | Hauser, Erich | Heiliger, Bernhard | Hennig, Albert | Hepworth, Barbara | Herbin, Auguste | Hitzler, Franz | Hodgkin, Howard | Hoehme, Gerhard | Hrdlicka, Alfred | Hundertwasser, Friedensreich | Höch, Hannah | Hölzel, Adolf | Jaenisch, Hans | Jenkins, Paul | Jorn, Asger | Kandinsky, Wassily | Kerg, Théo | Kerkovius, Ida | Kiefer, Anselm | Kirkeby, Per | Klapheck, Konrad Peter Cornelius | Klee, Paul | Klien, Erika Giovanna | Knoebel, Imi | Koenig, Fritz | Krauskopf, Bruno | Kricke, Norbert | Kupka, František | Lanskoy, André | Lapicque, Charles | Lausen, Uwe | Le Corbusier | Léger, Fernand | Lissitzky, El | Luther, Adolf | Lüpertz, Markus | Mack, Heinz | Magnelli, Alberto | Man Ray | Mathieu, Georges | Matschinsky-Denninghoff, Martin und Brigitte | Mavignier, Almir da Silva | Merz, Mario | Michaux, Henri | Miró, Joan | Moore, Henry | Morgner, Wilhelm | Muche, Georg | Music, Zoran | Nay, Ernst Wilhelm | Nesch, Rolf | Nitsch, Hermann | Oehlen, Albert | Palermo, Blinky | Penck, A.R. (d.i. Ralf Winkler) | Pfahler, Georg Karl | Picasso, Pablo | Piene, Otto | Poliakoff, Serge | Polke, Sigmar | Prem, Heimrad | Rainer, Arnulf | Reichel, Hans | Rembrandt, Harmensz. van Rijn | Richter, Gerhard | Ritschl, Otto | Rohlfs, Christian | Roth, Dieter | Santomaso, Giuseppe | Scholz, Werner | Schreyer, Lothar | Schultze, Bernard | Schumacher, Emil | Schwitters, Kurt | Sonderborg, K.R.H. (d.i. Kurt R. Hoffmann) | Soulages, Pierre | Sprotte, Siegward | Staudacher, Hans | Stella, Frank | Sturm, Helmut | Stöhrer, Walter | Tàpies, Antoni | Thieler, Fred | Tinguely, Jean | Tobey, Mark | Trier, Hann | Tuttle, Richard | Uecker, Günther | Uhlig, Max | Uhlmann, Hans | Vasarely, Victor | Vedova, Emilio | Wauer, William | Werner, Theodor | Wessel, Wilhelm | West, Franz | Winter, Fritz | Wols, (d.i. Wolfgang Schulze) | Wou-Ki, Zao | Wunderlich, Paul | Yavlensky, Alexei Georgiyevich | Zangs, Herbert | Zimmer, Bernd | Zimmer, HP (Hans Peter)