Alone and adrift, permeating the fullness of space with one's unshackled vitality—this is the state of being evoked by the paintings of Clyfford Still and Jackson Pollock. Their grandiosity has a peculiarly American tone, as Willem de Kooning noted in 1960. A native of Rotterdam and trained at the local academy, de Kooning cast a skeptical, European eye on his friends' efforts to elude the clutches of tradition. Painters like Pollock and Still "stand all alone in the wilderness—breast bared," said de Kooning. "This is an American idea."