ArtLex Art Dictionary


acrylic paints - Synthetic paints, with pigments dispersed in a synthetic vehicle made from polymerized acrylic acid esters, the most important of which is polymethyl methacrylate. First used by artists in the late 1940s, their use has come to rival that of oil paints because of their versatility. They can be used on nearly any surface, in transparent washes or heavy impasto, with matte, semi-gloss, or glossy finishes. Acrylic paints dry quickly, do not yellow, are easily removed with mineral spirits or turpentine (use acetone if those don't remove enough), and can clean up with soap and water.





see thumbnail to leftSchomer Lichtner (American, 1905-), Ballerina on a Cushion, 2001, acrylic on paper. Living in Wisconsin, Lichtner is reknowned for paintings of ballerinas and dairy cows and his regionalist murals. See capital letters, negative space, and New Deal art.



see thumbnail to rightMorris Louis (American, 1912-1962), VAV, 1960, acrylic on unprimed canvas, 260.3 x 359.4 cm, Tate Gallery, London. See stain.



see thumbnail to leftMorris Louis, Alpha-Phi, 1961, acrylic on unprimed canvas, 259.1 x 459.7 cm, Tate Gallery, London.



see thumbnail to rightJules Olitski (American, 1922-), Instant Loveland, 1968, acrylic on canvas, 294.6 x 645.7 cm, Tate Gallery, London.




see thumbnail to leftKenneth Noland (American, 1924-), Gift, 1961-2, acrylic on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9 cm, Tate Gallery, London.




see thumbnail to rightKenneth Noland, Drought, 1962, acrylic on canvas, 176.5 x 176.5 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

see thumbnail to leftFrank Stella (American, 1936-), Tahkt-I-Sulayman Variation II, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 240 inches, Minneapolis Institute of Arts. See Minimalism.



see thumbnail to rightEd Ruscha (American, 1937-), Scratches on the Film, 1993, acrylic on canvas, 36 1/16 x 72 inches (91.6 x 182.9 cm), North Carolina Art Museum, Raleigh. See text.



see thumbnail to leftChuck Close (American, 1940-), Frank, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 108 x 84 inches, Minneapolis Institute of Arts. See grisaille and Photo-Realism.



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Also see American Watercolor Society (AWS), polymer, stain, and stain removal.




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