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Abstract Expressionism & The American Experience: A Reevaluation
Edited by Raphael Rubinstein
In association with the School of Visual Arts
8x10, 220pp., 24 color plates
In 1970, Irving Sandler published The Triumph of American Painting: A History of Abstract Expressionism, a book that quickly became the definitive account of the movement. Now, after a 50-year career as one of America's most distinguished and influential critics and art historians, Sandler focuses on two new aims: first, to present his own fresh insights and conclusions about Abstract Expressionism, but also, to counter what he sees as the distorted interpretations of the movement that have been offered by some younger art historians.
This new work focuses on the decade (1942–1952) when the Abstract Expressionists matured as artists and created their most important works, and newly stresses the distinctly American character of Abstract Expressionism, in particular the painters Sandler sees as the movement’s most important figures: Jackson Pollock and Clyfford Still. Emphatically a personal history, Sandler lays particular stress on the impact of World War II and the early Cold War years on this generation of painters—their work a direct response to the global crisis of the time. Drawing on his own experience of that era, as well as firsthand knowledge of most of the movement’s leading figures, he examines precisely how the Abstract Expressionists developed their art in the face of unprecedented violence and conflict.
Published in association with New York’s School of Visual Arts, where Sandler will give a major talk in April, Abstract Expressionism and the American Experience: A Reevaluation is certain to join its predecessor volume as required reading in the field of postwar art.