BUT IT HAD ITS ROOTS IN EUROPE
Abstract Expressionism owed a great deal to the European Modernist tradition. The interest in spontaneous, automatic, or unconscious forms of creativity was a direct inheritance from Surrealism. At the same time, the works of Pablo Picasso were widely seen as the gold standard to which the Abstract Expressionists aspired. The US, of course, has a long history of immigration from Europe, and Abstract Expressionism was no different: painter Hans Hofmann was born in Germany; Willem de Kooning trained in the Netherlands. Even the term itself—Abstract Expressionism—was first used in Germany in 1919 to describe German Expressionism, and only came to be applied to the new wave of US artists in 1946.