Contemporary painting reveals new techniques, new materials, new pictorial forms- emerging in parallel or in sequence. It spans a range from abstraction to realism, from purist stylization to the monumentalization of trivia, from tongue-in-cheek revelations of subculture to sober and even visionary presentation of political or personal trauma.
In the USA, Pollock and de Kooning developed free abstraction to its zenith. Their abstract Expressionism has its lyrical counterpart in European informel of Tachisme. The pictorial statements of Reinhardt, Newman and Noland are determined by the quality of colour. The world the object and the metaphysical qualities of material are united in the work of Dubuffet and Tàpies to symbolistic assemblages.
Vasarély, with his decorative, rhythmic grids, is the founder of Op Art. Warhol and Lichtenstein follow on from Jasper Johns and Rauschenberg in elevating the clichés of the consumer world to the realms of Pop Art., scrutinizing them with an ironical eye. In the portraits by Bacon or in the works of Baselitz, Kiefer and Richter =, the classical painting, once declared dead, seems to find its continuation.