Love him or hate him, admire him or revile him, there is no doubt that Clement Greenberg was the most influential critic of modern art in the second half of the twentieth century. His championing of abstract expressionist painters such as Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, and David Smith helped to put the United States on the international art map. His support for color-field painters Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland dramatically accelerated their careers. The intellectual power of Greenberg's sometimes polemical essays helped bring about the midcentury shift that saw New York replace Paris as the art capital of the Western world; his aggressive personality and fierce involvement in the New York art scene triggered a backlash so potent that one critic termed it a "patricide."
Florence Rubenfeld was the East Coast editor of the New Art Examiner for many years. She lives in Washington, D.C.