Whether you're a fan of the style or someone looking to invest, you'll likely want to learn more about what makes abstract art appealing to buyers. While some aspects of art will always be about personal taste, we can look at history and trends to establish what does and doesn't motivate people to acquire items. Before you take your next trip to an abstract art gallery, think about these four aspects of the artworks that are available for sale.
The Abstract Sublime
One thing that often distinguishes abstract art from other forms is its ability to make spaces feel immense in a way that we normally only see in landscape paintings. Art historian and critic Robert Rosenblum gave this concept a name, "The Abstract Sublime." The works of painter Barnett Newman are commonly cited examples of the abstract sublime in play. While compositionally simplistic, often with not much more than a background color and one or two contrasting lines, Newman's work evokes space by way of strategic deployment of the limited forms and colors.
An Identifiable Style
The ability to look at a piece of art and instantly recognize it by who created tends to make it more collectible. Adolf Hölzel, for example, created works that favored extensive movement and the use of many colors at once. Consequently, a Hölzel tends to look like a Hölzel.
Thematic consistency can also play a role in making abstract art desirable. The works of Georgia O'Keeffe, for example, repeating themes associated with the close of the American West. Flowers and bones, in particular, stand out in her art to such an extent that O'Keefe's name is often a byword for abstract versions of both.
Walking into an art gallery and being hit with a sense of immediate physical bigness in a work is always hard to ignore. We think of works like Picasso's Guernica fitting this model where ideas demand massive canvases. That tradition in abstract composition is carried on today by artists like Julie Mehretu, who frequently creates heavily layered works that can take up the entirety of a wall.
Association with a Movement
From the first cubists to the movements of today, the narrative value of being associated with like-minded individuals continues to make works desirable. One of the longest still-running movements is the ZERO movement in Europe that focuses on distinct themes, such as monochromatics, serialization and even fire.