Geometric Abstract Art

Abstract art is a form of art that traditionally portrays concepts, feelings, and emotions. The artwork conveys the message through shapes, forms, and color. One of the most popular forms of abstract art is geometric abstract art which is non-representational art with a focus on geometric shapes and patterns. This genre showcases artists with different approaches to formalism using strong visual elements that make for great designs and appealing wall hangings.

The history of geometric abstract art is one of the most rigorous and disciplined art forms, so it’s no surprise that the style is a personal favorite of mid-century modern enthusiasts and aspiring artists alike. Geometric abstract art is the most beautiful abstract work of great artists and masters of the art world. In this article, we are going to discuss geometric abstract art in detail.

What is Geometric Abstract Art?

As a form of abstract art, geometric abstraction employs geometric forms placed sometimes, although not always, in non-illusionistic spaces and composed into non-objective structures. Artists of the avant-garde in the early 20th century popularized the genre, but motifs of the same kind have appeared in art for centuries.

It may be difficult for the average viewer to comprehend abstract art, but its definition is not so difficult. The most accurate way to define abstract art is that it does not attempt to recreate anything recognizable, so the viewer must decide what the work is attempting to communicate. Often referred to as «intellectual» art, abstract art inspires viewers without providing explanations.

From the viewpoint of geometric abstraction, the two-dimensional nature of painting stands out more earnestly. Using geometric shapes generates a sense that does not conform to realism, a familiar approach to art that any viewer can relate to. In the early 1900, it was considered revolutionary and even bizarre by the art world as it had been used for centuries almost exclusively in Islamic art due to the prohibition of portraying religious figures. Nowadays, it appears in most modern art collections.

History of Geometric Abstract Art

Credit: Kazimir Malevich

How did geometric abstract art come to be? Kazimir Malevich’s White on White, painted in 1918, made history. It was the most revolutionary work in the history of art. It introduced the supremacy of pure feelings over pure perception, and it redefined the medium in the most abstract of ways, surpassing its predecessor, the 1915 Black Square.

We recognize both of these works today as the primary works of geometric abstract art. They cannot exist without mentioning the movement and its influence on contemporary art. They’re only a small part of the history and evolution of this kind of painting, which launched Cubism and Futurism, very movements that led to the 20th century. The geometric abstract art was part of a larger camp of expression that made use of painting drawing, sculpture, architecture, and other means of visual composition to depict the non-representational and non-objective.

Geometric Abstraction: It’s Origins

Upon the arrival of photography and the advent of film, painters were scrambling to break away from the growing realism that pervaded the art world. Instead of attempting to depict their outer landscape or their thought processes, they set out to depict their inner landscape and emotions. Geometric Abstract art pioneers used geometric shapes, with blocks of homogeneous colors whose purpose was twofold. On the one hand, these shapes gave viewers a completely different view of the world and the objects because they rigorously reduced it to its most pure, most basic form. On the other hand, it emphasized the plasticity and two-dimensionality of painting as a medium. In a way, Geometric Abstract art rejected the idea that one must paint “something” and emphasized painting as an act of self-expression. In terms of geometric abstraction, this utopian vision was nonexistent or not palpable because it was not tangible.

The movements Cubism and Futurism were more oriented towards reality and guided by a similar light, albeit in a less radical manner. As Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso introduced bold outlines and geometric contours in their paintings. Cubism offered a simpler and more geometric reality, while Futurism engaged with the concept of space and time. In contrast, geometric abstract art abandoned physical reality and focused on primary colors, flatness, grids, patterns, and strict composition, while honoring their ideas.

Types of Geometric Abstraction


  • Russia experienced economic and cultural changes that inspired this art form.
  • Advertisements and propaganda posters featured constructivist designs. “Beat The Whites With The Red Wedge” was the most famous poster by El Lissitzky.
  • Tatlin’s Tower and Storm over Asia are examples of movies featuring constructivism.
  • Vladimir Tatlin, Lyubov Popova, El Lissitzky, and Vasiliy Yermilov were some of the artists who embraced with constructivism.

De Stijl

  • Theo van Doesburg started this movement in 1917. The name means ‘The Style’ in Dutch.
  • Some of the most prominent members included Piet Mondrian, Bart van der Leck, and Vilmos Huszár, Gerrit Rietveld, J. P. Oud, and Robert van ‘t Hoff.
  • They used black and white and red, blue, and yellow in their paintings.
  • The American abstractionist movement began in the United States by Mondrian’s last painting, Broadway Boogie-Woogie, in 1940.

Op Art

  • Black and white geometric shapes are the only colors in Op Art. Zebra, by Victor Vasarely, was the first painting in this style.
  • The viewer has the impression that the image is moving or optically illusionary.
  • Color-based op art was first produced by artists such as Bridget Riley in 1965.
  • It died out, but the art was popularized by pop art, which Andy Warhol used to create his creations.
  • Some of the most influential op artists include John McHale, Richard Allen, Heinz Mack, Jeffrey Steele, and Michael Kidner.


  • A new art form called minimalism emerged in New York in 1960.
  • The objective was to clarify the content by reducing it to its essence without using any references.
  • In the art world, Die by Tony Smith is considered to be one of the most important works.
  • In addition to Frank Stella, Sol Lewitt, Donald Judd, and Brice Marden, minimalism has influenced a number of other artists as well.


  • Malevich founded suprematism in 1913 because his paintings provide a different feeling, also known as synaesthesia, as a result of the colors.
  • Squares, trapezoids, and triangles dominated a white background to depict emotions.
  • Nikolai Suetin, Ivan Kliun, Ilya Chashnik, Ivan Puni, Nina Genke-Meller, and Ksenia Boguslavskaya were among the group’s artists, Malevich started.

Concrete Art

  • This art form originated in 1930 by Theo Van Doesburg as a form of abstract art without any symbolic reference to the world.
  • Hard edges and geometric shapes made the art form easily recognizable.
  • In his painting On White II, Kandinsky presented a piece of machinery as an example of concrete art.
  • In addition to Josef Albers,  Max Bill, Robert Delaunay, Sol LeWitt, Tony Smith, and other artists embraced this art form.

Examples of Abstract Geometric Art

1. The knifegrinder by Kazimir Malevich, 1912

Credit: Kazimir Malevich

Suprematism was founded by Kazimir Malevich, who utilized primary geometric shapes such as squares, circles, and lines with a limited palette of colors. Among the most famous works of art in history is his Black Square.

Furthermore, he dedicated his writings to the theory of non-objectivity, in which he laid out his suprematist theories. Abstract expression and the reduction of a painting to its geometric essence he played a crucial role in.

2. Rythme n°1 by Robert Delaunay, 1938

Credit: Robert Delaunay

Simultaneous Windows 1912 was his last semi-figurative work before experimenting with complete non-objectivity. He was a Neo-Impressionist in his earlier works until he began to experiment with complete non-objectivity in his work later on. He contributed to abstract art when he co-founded the Orphism art movement, an offshoot of Cubism that emphasized vibrant colors and pure abstraction.

As a result, the motion served to dispel common subject matter and significantly impacted the development of abstract art. Delaunay’s paintings used brilliant colors with such dynamic optical qualities as to feed the form. Delaunay is considered one of the most influential abstract artists due to his status as the chief and most renowned artist of Orphism.

3. Operenccia by Victor Vasarely, 1954-1986

Credit: Victor Vasarely

By using precise patterns and shapes, Victor Vasarely creates optical illusions. The non-representational shapes he used to create the illusion of motion often created a sense of movement. In addition to graphic design, he also designed posters. He is one of the most famous figures associated with the Op art movement and one of the movement’s founders.

Op art reached into many areas, including architecture, CAD, animation, and fashion. OP art is considered to have its beginnings in Vasarely’s Zebra (1937). Sculpture and painting were among his most notable contributions. Victor Vasarely is known as the “Father of Op Art.”

4. Number 5 by Mark Rothko, 1949

Credit: Mark Rothko

While he was still a youngster, he moved to the United States. Throughout his career, he worked with several different styles, including Surrealism. In part because of his Color Field paintings, Rothko is regarded as a pioneer of the movement. In his works, color dominates. He is considered one of the most influential abstract painters.

Nonetheless, he claimed not to be an abstractionist. It was his primary objective to detect mysticism and esoteric meanings in colors. Many viewers have shed tears before Rothko’s paintings, and his paintings were a form of spiritual expression for him. Even though Rothko announced that he would not participate in Abstract Expressionism, his presence remains monumental.

5. Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow by Piet Mondrian, 1930

Credit: Piet Mondrian

Piet Mondrian’s ‘Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow’ marked an important turning point for his work. As Mondrian was striving to achieve total abstraction, he believed that the ‘plastic arts’, or neoplasticism, could express universal purity. As a result, he wrote extensively about compositional harmony, scrutinizing the colors he used, the shapes he used, and the quality of surfaces he used in his artworks, all hoping to create a sense of stillness in his art.

Almost everyone has come across this work in their lifetime. In the second half of the 20th century, this painting became an icon, and its motifs are still used in popular culture today. This painting essentially demonstrates Mondrian’s skill with balance. The bold wide lines that contrast the large red square, the tinier yellow rectangle visible at the bottom of the piece, and the red that meets the blue communicate that there is more to this work than meets the eye.

6. 1934 (Relief) by Ben Nicholson OM, 1934

Credit: Ben Nicholson OM

Nicholson was thinking about the effect paintings can have on space, and he veered away from his abstract and figurative works that were an expression of Post-Impressionism and Cubism, experimenting and developing his abstract reliefs. Nicholson painted these white abstract geometric sculptures, giving them a hand-made quality.

A sculptor named Barbara Hepworth (who was Mondrian’s lover) and Piet Mondrian were two of the greatest influences on ‘1934 (Relief)’. It’s likely that he met Mondrian the year before he made these reliefs. Being heavily influenced by others abstractionists such as Alexander Calder and Joan Miro, explains his sudden transition from abstract to these reliefs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the geometric abstraction movement?

Cubist geometric abstraction emphasized the inherent two-dimensional qualities of a painting by purifying it of the residue of visual reality. A geometric shape was dictated by the physical properties of the materials, such as wood, metal, or glass, in these assemblages of randomly found industrial materials.

What makes good geometric art?

Geometric art is characterized by the perfect shapes that are always formed by straight lines, or that are not formed by curves. Abstraction of geometric shapes is a form of geometric art.

What does geometric shape mean in art?

Geometric shapes are precise and regular like squares, rectangles, and triangles. While man-made objects, such as machines and buildings, often have human-like shapes, natural shapes have biomorphic forms. These shapes can represent leaves, flowers, and clouds; things that grow, flow, and move.

Is geometric art popular today?

Numerous exhibitions taking place at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, museums, and galleries indicate that Geometric Abstraction remains an important force in the current art scene.

Final Words

Geometric abstract art is, as the name suggests, a form of abstract art that makes use of geometric figures in its creation. Many artists have adopted this form of art in building their creations, but you will also find a lot of similar works made for various purposes as well.

For instance, metal geometric sculptures are among the most common forms of geometric abstract art. You will find many such sculptures made for various purposes ranging from designer furniture to sculpture galleries. But even away from the sculptures, some people still prefer to take part in building their own forms of geometric abstract art, ranging from paintings to posters as well. We hope that you now have a better understanding of geometric abstract art.

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