Theodoros Stamos is notable for his early use of color to explore possibilities of abstraction and form in painting. Youngest of the first generation of Abstract Expressionist painters and youngest member of the “Irascibles,” the vanguard group of American artists memorialized in Nina Leen’s 1950 photograph, Stamos developed an expressive color field process (Color Field Painting) or Post-Painterly Abstraction as Clement Greenberg referenced this painting style. Stamos, a major contributor to the Color Field Movement, was once quoted as saying:
“…my feeling was to create more infinity with color…”
Born in 1922 to Greek immigrant parents on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Stamos began his formal study of art in 1936 with a scholarship to the American Artists School. Under the guidance of his teacher, Joseph Solman, and Betty Parsons, who gave him his first solo exhibition at the Wakefield Gallery in 1943, Stamos pursued his interest in painting and began studying surrealist literature. Influenced by automatism and the work of William Baziotes, Stamos began to employ indeterminate psychosomatic forms as subjects. An Abstract Expressionist, Stamos joined the likes of Pollock, de Kooning, and Rothko to become the youngest member of The Irascible Eighteen during the late 1940s, and his work is now credited as a precursor to the Color Field movement. Stamos went on to teach at prominent institutions such as the Art Students League of New York, Cummington School of Fine Arts, and Black Mountain College. He continues to be exhibited by more than fifty major museums and institutions worldwide. He died in his father’s hometown of Lefkada, Greece in 1997.
Stamos acquired a property in Lefkada, Greece which is where his father had lived. In creating the Infinity Field Series he was reaching back into his ancestry and the questions of life and who we are. Of all the mysteries we don’t quite understand and that continue to fascinate us about life. And at the same time this series is about Nature and all the precious earthly elements such as air, fire, wind, earth, etc.
This particular Infinity Field picture has the common elements of Color Field which seem to present land and man’s markings in culture. The Red color intimates fire, warmth and a glowing sense of these elements. Stamos never wants the piece to be definable just as so much about nature is mysterious, he wants the pieces to re-enforce this feel. Each variation of these delightful works on paper is rich in feeling and expression. The best of what Color Field work has to offer, in our opinion. We are a champion of these compositions by Stamos who was always articulate and passionate about art and life.
Turske & Whitney Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Sotheby’s New York, Feb. 1989, lot 135
The Jeanne and Carroll Berry collection, Atlanta GA,. 1989 – 2020
Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, Advanced and Irascible: Abstract Expressionism from the Collection of Jeanne and Carroll Berry, Jan. 14 - Apr. 30, 2017.