Curated Abstract Black and White Art
Explore our curators' selection of abstract black and white artworks from the LUMAS portfolio. Shop our collection, and discover abstract black and white prints of photographs, paintings, drawings, and more.
Abstract Black and White Art for Your Walls
In modern art, abstract art and a black and white color palette have gone hand in hand. As a movement away from the representational in art, abstract art began in the early 20th century, as a series of practical meditations on subject matter, color, and line in art. Modern abstract artists like Piet Mondrian and Wassily Kandinsky pried open what they perceived to be a stultified world of art theory, and reconceived the aims of traditional painting, bringing elemental shapes, lines, and geometry into the foreground, and seeing color itself as a potential subject matter - or, as it were, something completely outside of a traditional subject-object relationship presuppossed by representational painting.
Black and white art was largely borne out of these contemporary tendencies to abstraction, as a kind of zero point of reduction, similar in spirit to monochrome art. The black and white color scheme was also taken over from the world of graphic illustration, and especially photography as an art and as a method for documenting reality. Black and white photography has been so dominant among the various artistic mediums in terms of the use of black and white color schemata, that even black and white paintings and drawings are instantly reminiscent of photography and film in the years before color photography.
In mid-century art, the availability of art as part of people's home decor concepts stole away some of the autonomy of high art, drawing popular artistic taste closer to what was functional and practical in one's personal life. Black and white abstract art became relevant in its own right as a kind of widely available geometrical, patterned art which one could acquire as a print, as wallpaper, or on art and design objects which featured popular art or art specifically produced for home or office interiors. Above all abstract black and white art became one of the chief styles of minimalist art, the heyday of which began in the 1950's.
As part of one's home design, this artistic style maintains some of the relevancy it had in the scope of these earlier trends. The kaleidescopic city photography by Lu Wengpeng combines the pleasing patterning of black and white with the curiosity-inducing quality of abstract art more generally. Works by Lu Wengpeng and by architectural photographer Beomsik Won are friendly to a minimalist design. While consensus holds that abstract black and white artworks are amenable to most decor concepts, and can be featured in most rooms, our curators recommend taking the following considerations into account:
- Black and white art is typically not distracting, but also not invisible.
- Abstract art which is patterned, geometrical, or non-representational can be soft on the eyes.
- Concept art may feature bolder or more suggestive themes, which are hard for an observer to ignore.
- Abstract black and white art, while in some ways being one of the simplest or most reductive styles, also has specifically intriguing patterned and machinic associations, which often make it appear to be a kind of palimpsest hiding deeper imagery.
- Different rooms have different needs. Colors and styles are not always in natural harmony with each other, or with a given room.
- A hallway may be a good place for the mixture of sophistication and aesthetic simplicity provided by a black and white scheme.
- The walls of living rooms and dens often already feature other furnishings, pictures, or artworks, while walls of rooms like bathrooms are often more spare but smaller.
- The home office may simply be a space taken over temporarily and already have postcards, sticky notes, or whatever else. This room likely requires art which is more flexible in terms of color scheme and motif.