Art Informel is a European artistic movement that developed in the 1950s. It is characterized by gestural brushwork, expressiveness, and an abandonment of traditional techniques and subjects. The movement began in France with artists such as Jean Dubuffet and Jean Fautrier, but quickly spread to other countries, including Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Germany.
Art Informel was seen as a reaction against the formalism of Abstract Expressionism, as well as the US-dominated art world more generally. It was also influenced by Surrealism and Existentialism. The name “Art Informel” was coined by critic Michel Tapié in 1951, who also organized the first major exhibition of the movement that same year.
While Art Informel shared some similarities with Abstract Expressionism, the two movements were ultimately quite different. Art Informel was less concerned with formal aesthetics and more focused on spontaneity, emotion, and expressive brushwork. This emphasis on expression was in part a reaction to the perceived coldness and intellectualism of Abstract Expressionism.