“Art in which elements of form have been stressed in handling the subject matter–which may or may not be recognizable. Abstraction is a relative term; all artworks exist on a continuum between total abstraction and full representation. Vassily Kandinsky is generally credited with having created the first purely abstract artwork in 1910.
Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.