FROM 1947 TO 1951, more than a dozen Abstract Expressionists achieved "breakthroughs" to independent styles. 1 During the following years, these painters, the first generation of the New York School, received growing recognition nationally and globally, to the extent that American vanguard art came to be considered the primary source of creative ideas and energies in the world, and a few masters, notably Pollock, de Kooning, and Rothko, were elevated to art history's pantheon. Younger artists who entered their circle in the early fifties-the early wave of the second generation-such as Larry Rivers, Helen Frankenthaler, Grace Hartigan, Allan Kaprow, Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, and Richard Stankiewicz (to list some of the better known), were also acclaimed, but with a few exceptions, their reputations had gone into decline by the end of the fifties. In the following decade, the second generation was eclipsed by a third generation, the innovators of Pop, Op, Minimal, and Conceptual Art. (Any notion of a generation of artists is necessarily arbitrary, of course. The term "generation," as it is used here, refers to a group of artists close in age who live in the same neighborhood at the same time, and to a greater or lesser degree, know each other and partake of a similar sensibility, a shared outlook and aesthetic.)
"Acknowledgments -- Introduction -- The Milieu of the New York School in the Early Fifties -- The Community of the New York School -- The Colonization of Gesture Painting -- Frankenthaler, Mitchell, Leslie, Resnick, Francis, and Other Gesture Painters -- Gestural Realism -- Rivers, Hartigan, Goodnough, Muller, Johnson, Porter, Katz, Pearlstein, and Other Gestural Realists -- Assemblage: Stankiewicz, Chamberlain, di Suvero, and Other Junk Sculptors -- The Duchamp-Cage Aesthetic -- Rauschenberg and Johns -- Environments and Happenings: Kaprow, Grooms, Oldenburg, Dine, and Whitman -- Hard-edge and Stained Color field Abstraction, and Other Non-gestural Styles: Kelly, Smith, Louis, Noland, Parker, Held, and Others -- The Recognition of the Second Generation -- The New Academy -- Circa 1960: A Change in Sensibility -- Appendix A: First-Generation Painters, Dates and Places of Birth -- Appendix B: Second-Generation Artists, Dates and Places of Birth, Art Education, and One-Person Shows in New York, 1950-1960 -- Bibliography -- List of Illustrations -- Index -- A section of Color Plates follows page"