Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art
movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve
international influence and put New York City at the center of the
western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris. Although the term "abstract expressionism" was first applied to American art in 1946 by the art critic Robert Coates, it had been first used in Germany in 1919 in the magazine Der
Sturm, regarding German Expressionism. In the United States, Alfred
Barr was the first to use this term in 1929 in relation to works by Wassily Kandinsky.
The movement's name is derived from the combination of the emotional intensity and self-denial of the German Expressionists with the anti-figurative aesthetic of the European abstract schools such as Futurism, the Bauhaus and Synthetic Cubism. Additionally, it has an image of being rebellious, anarchic and highly idiosyncratic.