History And Context
Theodoros Stamos was the youngest of the first generation of abstract expressionist painters. Like some of his colleges, Stamos used his art as an outlet for his emotions toward the unprecedented death and distraction of World War II; however, unlike his fellow artists, his work was not reactionary, but rather regenerative. Though somber in color, Stamos looked for ways for the world to heal itself. His work during the last five years of the 1940s, including World Tablet, painted in 1948, reflected this notion that the world could repair itself and be born again.In World Tablet, Stamos uses abstract, biomorphic shapes that interact together in a womb-like environment. His palette is relatively subdued, with earthy blues, greens, and reds, evoking a peaceful and grounded mood.
World Tablet was among the first works by Stamos that Duncan Phillips purchased from Betty Parsons in 1949. Phillips recognized Stamos's spiritual and stylistic ties to Arthur Dove, and he immediately exhibited them together, writing to the artist in 1949, “The three oils are hanging together now along with paintings by Arthur Dove and I wish you could see how well they look.” In Stamos, he detected the legacy of Dove expressed in an individual, freshly modern manner.