French art movement of the late 19th century that, inspired by scientific knowledges about the physical compositions of colours, tried to render them in an exact as possible way. To this purpose the impressionists went into nature (plein-air-painting), to catch their subjects as they were. The surrounding light conditions let contours blur and the visual impression prevails (Atomization of the objective world).
Abstraction refers to art unconcerned with the literal depiction of things from the visible world, not excluding the referring to an object or image which has been distilled from the real world. Artwork that reshapes the natural world for expressive purposes is called abstract; that which derives from, but does not imitate a recognizable subject is called nonobjective abstraction. In the 20th century the trend toward abstraction coincided with advances in science, technology, and changes in urban life, eventually reflecting an interest in psychoanalytic theory. Later still, abstraction was manifest in more purely formal terms, such as color, freedom from objective context, and a reduction of form to basic geometric designs.