Stephen Greene first received critical acclaim for his figurative paintings in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and the following decade marked a significant change within his oeuvre. In the 1960s, he achieved a new authority with breakthrough compositions characterized by the artist’s distinctive and autographic method of abstract composition. In part inspired by the canvases of Barnett Newman, Greene sought to purge his paintings of narrative elements without sacrificing the qualities of myth and timelessness that had been his early inspirations. As gesture and hue gained in importance, he brought a new quality of light to his paintings, working through subtle layers of oil washes, and bringing a quiet drama to his nuanced orchestrations of primary and secondary colors. At the same time, he allowed certain shapes to resonate. The fragments of ladders, props, and the human anatomy, for example, all persist like latent memories. Nevertheless, Greene pointed out: “I'd say the most marvelous painting is a painting that offers nothing to anybody other than itself.”

Stephen Greene (1917-1999),  Extension , 1965, Oil on canvas, 50 x 82 inches, (127 x 208.3 cm)

Stephen Greene (1917-1999), Extension, 1965, Oil on canvas, 50 x 82 inches, (127 x 208.3 cm)

Stephen Greene’s work is in the permanent collections of the The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York; The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn; The Art Institute of Chicago; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Detroit Institute of Arts; Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, MA; Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena; Tate Gallery, London, England; amongst many others. Alison de Lima Greene is a curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The Estate of Stephen Greene is represented by Jason McCoy Gallery, New York.