New Image Painting

(style, late 1970’s-present)

New Image Painting is also referred to as New Image Art. It is a vague term made popular in the late 1970s and is highly associated to the artworks of contemporary artists who have a strident figurative style and uses cartoon-like imagery along with somewhat abrasive handling that is mostly influenced by Neo-Expressionism.

Rhapsody Jennifer Bartlett


The term New Image Painting was given weight in an exhibition that was given the same title held at the Whitney Museum in New York in 1978.1 The New Image concept marked the return of the arts to painting after a time when a big part of the works of contemporary artists had been focused on conceptual art, installation, and performance. New Image Painting is closely related to Figuration Libre of France, Transavantgarde of Italy, Nuovi Nuovi also of Italy, and Neo Expressionismus of Germany.


New Image Painting is often times referred to as ‘Bad Painting’. This is because the abstract artists following this movement mostly discard the classical drawing methods to create their own sardonic yet humorous personal view of the world.

According to Marcia Tucker, who is an abstract art critic and curator, New Image Painting can be classified into four groups. The first group highlights illustrational styles usually coming from pop art and print sources. The second group uses animated cartoon figures or the comic strip style of drawing that also uses flat colors. The third group uses a more decorative frontal motif that emphasizes fabric support. The last group uses central simple motifs with vigorously brush grounds.2


New Image Painting is highly associated to American contemporary artists and painters. Their works displayed at the different art galleries in the US and the rest of the world exhibit their huge freedom in expressing their views, in such a way their abstract art works is seen to be the precursor to Neo-Expressionism. This art movement has greatly influenced contemporary artists based in New York, when the following of the New Image Painting increased greatly in 1978. This is the reason why many of the art galleries dedicated to New Image Painting are found in the US.

Famous Artworks

A handful of the famous artworks created by the contemporary artists of New Image painting include ‘Rhapsody’ (1976) by Jennifer Bartlett and Head and Bones (1980) by Susan Rothenberg. These two artists, who were both from the United States, have a few other abstract art and figurative paintings that exhibit the strong characteristics distinct to New Image Painting.

Head and Bones Susan Rothenberg

Famous Artists

The few other famous contemporary artists who are an avid follower of the New Image Painting movement include Nicholas Africano, Jonathan Borofsky, Neil Jenney, Robert Longo, Michael Lukas, Robert Moskowitz, and Julia Schnabel. Many of their abstract art paintings and famous artworks are displayed at the modern art galleries of the world.




New Image Painting Artists

Julian Schnabel
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Susan Rothenberg
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Michael Lukas
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Robert Moskowitz
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Nicholas Africano
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Neil Jenney
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Jennifer Bartlett
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Robert Longo
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Jonathan Borofsky
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists


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