From the Foreword: Abstract art has always existed, but until this century it never knew of its existence. It has become philosophies and styles, and, as such terms imply, both reflects and is in itself a way of life. The environment that the modern world chooses to accept from behind the lens of a telescope or microscope or Leica or shutter on a Hollywood lot has been found to resemble the images of modern art. But the fact that these pictures are actual should neither impress not prejudice. Painting, although a social act, is of, not from the time-just as a tree is of a meadow, and though bent by the same wind, and growing in the same earth, sunlight, and water, still has its own roots and blossoms. Seasonally, the death of abstract art is joyfully announced in certain high places. Its body is sometimes reported to be lying against the end-wall of a blind alley (you can't go any further with a white rectangle); sometimes the corpse is recognized as a suicide in a bankruptcy proceeding (young artists haven't caught fire) or a victim of overeating (young artists have burnt themselves out); a few of the more imaginative members of the wake have decided to proclaim its nonexistence (back to Cezanne!). But seasonally, too, new abstract painters appear with unfamiliar forms, created with new ideas, deriving from living traditions. That such appearances recently have been made in America, and in fact that they constitute one of this country's major contributions to contemporary culture, is the subject of this book.