Barnett Newman

  • Born 1905 in New York, NY, USA
  • Died 1970 in New York, NY, USA

Barnett Newman, who was part of the New York School of Abstract Expressionists, is distinguished by his extreme formal reduction and his challenging purism. He first attended classes at the Art Students League during his teenage years. It was there that he met fellow abstract artist Adolph Gottlieb (1903–1974). Newman worked for his father’s clothing company from 1927 until he became a part-time art teacher in 1932. Early in the 1940s, he abandoned art and destroyed his Expressionist works. In 1944 he began to paint again, reaching a breakthrough with Onement, I (1948), his first monochrome work divided by a vertical stripe, called a “zip,” which became a signature feature of his work. His first solo show, at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1950, was harshly criticized, but by the 1960s critics began to warm to his work. His “The Stations of the Cross” series (1958–66) was shown at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1966. Although Newman produced a relatively small body of work, he had a notable influence both on his contemporaries and on future generations of artists. Newman was also a prolific writer of reviews, magazine articles, and essays on art and music.

Artworks by Barnett Newman in the exhibition