Minimalist paintings are characterized by clean, simple shapes and the deliberate absence of emotional expression. If you appreciate minimalist principles in art, decor, or lifestyle, we encourage you to explore the wide array of minimalist paintings for sale on Saatchi Art. In contrast to expressionist paintings, minimalist art attempts to represent nothing external to the work itself. This results in paintings stripped of all but the essential visual elements pictorially depicted within the work. Renowned minimalist artists include Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Ryman, and Kenneth Noland.
Frank Stella, known for his minimalist “Black Paintings” series (1959-1960), is one of the most famous painters in the movement. For this series, he drew stripes and various line patterns on thick canvases painted with black house paint. Robert Ryman used a very minimal color palette, creating white monochrome works like “Untitled” (1961) that instead played with texture and scale. Agnes Martin is known for finely detailed grid paintings such as “White Flower” (1960). Other artists known for their minimal compositions include Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland, Barnett Newman, Sol LeWitt, and Yves Klein. Saatchi Art has thousands of minimalist artworks for sale from hundreds of artists worldwide.
Minimalism arose in New York in the early 1960s, when many artists reacted against the then-popular abstract expressionist movement. These artists moved away from gestural brushstrokes and emotive colors, instead focusing on minimal palettes, geometric shapes and lines, and industrial mediums. Artists sought to blur the distinction between painting and sculpture and aimed to create objects as opposed to expressive representations of their inner emotions. The movement drew from the geometric shapes of the Russian Suprematists and the iconic readymades of Marcel Duchamp, evolving into an aesthetic characterized by clean lines, few colors, and geometric forms. Artists today still create minimalist artwork inspired by the movement.
Minimalist art paintings generally exhibit simple compositions of geometric shapes, lines, and solid colors. Artists often emphasize the materiality of the work to remove signs of the artist’s touch. Early minimalist artists, for example, used industrial materials such as scrap metal and light bulbs to further remove their works from the realm of art. For minimalist paintings, artists similarly used thicker canvases to align their works more closely with sculptural objects than with expressive creations with metaphorical messages. The solid fields of color in these paintings also further distanced these works from the artists who created them.