Abstract art began in the 1940's when artists in general were tired of realist art and were hungry for something different.
Vassily Kandisky is regarded to be the first abstract artist, although his first abstract painting was created in 1910.
He was ahead of his time.
At some point, the art world slowly came to the realization that it wasn't only art that imitated life, but that art could TRANSCEND life.
If you look at a still life or a landscape, you are drawn to the technique and overall ability of the artist.
With abstract art, the meaning of the work is left up to the viewer. It is a celebration of composition, movement, color (or lack thereof), contrast, and most importantly, emotion.
Traditional art tells you what to see.
Abstract art ASKS, "What do YOU see?"