The American artist with any pretensions to total seriousness suffers still from his dependency upon what the School of Paris, Klee, Kandinsky, and Mondrian accumulated before 1935… . All excellence seems to flow still from that vivacious, unbelievable near past which lasted from 1905 until 1930 and which not even the First World War, but only Hitler, could definitely terminate.
—Clement Greenberg, 1947
Every intelligent painter carries the whole culture of modern painting in his head. It is his real subject, of which anything he paints is both a homage and a critique, and everything he says a gloss.
—Robert Motherwell, 1951
We Americans have the technique to bring something to performance so well that the subject is left out. There is nothing we throw away so quickly as our données; for we would make always an independent...