In the years following the end of World War II, a small group of American painters living in New York seized the spotlight of artistic innovation--which for the past century had focused primarily on Paris--and rose to preeminence in the national and international art world. "Rebel Painters of the 1950s" highlights those artists--among them Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, Adolph Gottlieb, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still_who challenged the aesthetic establishment and created the style of painting known today as Abstract Expressionism. In addition to these individuals and other artists in their circle who comprised the first generation of the New York School, "Rebel Painters of the 1950s" also provides portraits of the critics and writers, notably Clement Greenberg, Harold Rosenberg, and Thomas Hess, who articulated the significance of this artistic movement, and the dealers, such as Peggy Guggenheim, Betty Parsons, Charles Egan, Samuel Kootz, and Sidney Janis, who afforded patronage and public access to the work. Like any historical phenomenon, Abstract Expressionism defies precise definition. Even the term itself is subject to debate. "Action painting," "American-type painting," and the "New York School" are phrases often used synonymously, although for most scholars and the public, Abstract Expressionism remains the most convenient and instantly recognizable umbrella under which to discuss the collective qualities of advanced American art at the midpoint of the twentieth century. Moreover, while the artists subsequently labeled Abstract Expressionists frequently resisted categorization and often stressed the philosophical and formal distinctions among themselves, there is nevertheless a consensus among scholars that Abstract Expressionism was a cohesive intellectual and artistic experience. It possessed a geographical center--New York; the individuals affiliated with it knew each other and frequently interacted; and, most important, they shared a common approach to making art, even though the appearance of their paintings varied widely, from the intensely gestural to the highly restrained.