Art informel describes a variety of abstract painting styles from the 1940s and 1950s, emphasising improvisation and highly gestural techniques.
Art Informel emerged as a response to the atrocities and traumas of World War II. Artists associated with this movement rejected previous traditions of naturalistic, figurative, and geometric art. Instead, they embraced anti-compositional forms, gestural techniques, and a Surrealist-inspired spontaneity and irrationality. Coined by critic Michel Tapié, Art Informel served as an umbrella term for a range of styles and artists who valued individualism over adherence to artistic movements. It included European, American, Dutch, and Japanese artists, reflecting an international reaction to the global events of the time.
While Art Informel's diversity makes it challenging to define, and it was somewhat overshadowed by Abstract Expressionism, its various styles, including Art Brut, Lyrical Abstraction, Tachisme, Matter Painting, CoBrA, and Gutai, have had a lasting influence on subsequent art movements. These include Neo-Expressionist painters, Post-Minimalist sculptors, and the broader field of Performance Art.