Jan 14–Mar 1, 1965

1943–1953: The Decisive Years


Willem de KooningFranz KlineRobert MotherwellBarnett NewmanJackson PollockMark RothkoClyfford Still

The last word cannot be written about these seven painters [of this exhibition] in the decade 1943-1954: — to attempt perspective would be difficult where the consequence of all that happened in that era are not yet realized. The purpose of this exhibition is to represent a survey of the paintings which could not have been seen together at that time by the interested gallery and museum-going public. The year 1943 does not mark the beginning nor 1953 the ending of the New York School, but 1943 is the year of Jackson Pollock’s first one-man show, and by 1953 the work of these painters constituted the most important group of paintings produced in America – as well as one of the most radical movements in modern art history.
–Samuel Adams Green, Curator and ICA Director, 1963

From 1964 to 1967, Samuel Adams Green served as ICA’s first full-time director. The first exhibition he directed was 1943- 1953, the Decisive Years. He has spoken that there was great animosity amongst many of these artists featured in this exhibition as each claimed that they invented the genre of action painting. He also stated that Barnett Newman secretly curated this exhibit (Forty Years at the ICA, p 14).