The former art critic of the New York Times has performed a useful service in this work of criticism directed especially towards that American and European art which has flourished since the end of World War II. Seen as stemming largely from 19th century Romanticism, the ""new"" art is shown to exhibit specific influences ranging from the Mexican muralists, Rivera, Siqueiros and Orozeo -- to Existentialism, semantic-myth involvement, and the WPA projects of the '30's. Europeans like Klee, Matisse, Picasso and Glo had a sharp impact on the slowly materializing abstract-expressionist school here. This art is ""apotheosis of the intuition"", with wide latitude left to chance and ""the infinite world of experience"". Artists whose stars are brightest at this moment are preeminently sounded: Kline and Pollack; de Kooning and Motherwell; Rothko and Tobey. While arbitrary and necessarily selective, this is a good attempt to size up what artists have been concerned with since the '40's, with wide references to their often Ironic and transcendental roots. Over 40 black and white reproductions are included, in order to stress specific points made in the test, as well as specific painters. The publishers are to be commended in the format, with the illustrations facing the pages of text where they belong, instead of grouped apart.