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Artists Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman Photo

Barnett Newman

American Painter

Movements and Styles: Abstract Expressionism, Color Field Painting, Action Painting

Born: January 29, 1905 - New York, New York

Died: July 4, 1970 - New York, New York

Barnett Newman Timeline

Quotes

"The image we produce is the self-evident one of revelation, real and concrete."
Barnett Newman
"It is our function as artists to make the spectator see the world our way not his way."
Barnett Newman
"There is no such thing as a good painting about nothing."
Barnett Newman
"I prefer to leave the paintings to speak for themselves."
Barnett Newman
"I hope that my painting has the impact of giving someone, as it did me, the feeling of his own totality, of his own separateness, of his own individuality."
Barnett Newman
"The problem of a painting is physical and metaphysical, the same as I think life is physical and metaphysical."
Barnett Newman

"I hope that my painting has the impact of giving someone, as it did me, the feeling of his own totality, of his own separateness, of his own individuality."

Barnett Newman Signature

Synopsis

Newman shared the Abstract Expressionists' interests in myth and the primitive unconscious, but the huge fields of color and trademark "zips" in his pictures set him apart from the gestural abstraction of many of his peers. The response to his mature work, even from friends, was muted when he first exhibited it. It was not until later in his career that he began to receive acclaim, and he would subsequently become a touchstone for both Minimalists and a second generation of Color Field painters. Commenting on one of Newman's exhibitions in 1959, critic Thomas B. Hess wrote, "he changed in about a year's time from an outcast or a crank into the father figure of two generations."

Key Ideas

Newman believed that the modern world had rendered traditional art subjects and styles invalid, especially in the post-World War II years shadowed by conflict, fear, and tragedy. Newman wrote: "old standards of beauty were irrelevant: the sublime was all that was appropriate - an experience of enormity which might lift modern humanity out of its torpor."
Newman's pictures were a decisive break with the gestural abstraction of his peers. Instead, he devised an approach that avoided painting's conventional oppositions of figure and ground. He created a symbol, the "zip," which might reach out and invoke the viewer standing before it - the viewer fired with the spark of life.
He thought that humans had a primal drive to create, and one could find expressions of the same instincts and yearnings locked in ancient art as one would find in modern art. He saw artists, and himself, as the creators of the world.

Biography

Barnett Newman Photo

Childhood

Barnett Newman was born in 1905 to Jewish parents who had immigrated to New York from Russian Poland five years earlier. Barney, as his family and friends called him, grew up in Manhattan and the Bronx with three younger siblings. He started drawing at the Art Students League during high school, continuing to take classes there while earning a philosophy degree from City College of New York. It was at the Art Students League that he would meet and befriend Adolph Gottlieb, who would introduce him to important New York artists and gallery owners.

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Barnett Newman Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Barnett Newman
Interactive chart with Barnett Newman's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Alberto GiacomettiAlberto Giacometti
Piet MondrianPiet Mondrian
Kazimir MalevichKazimir Malevich

Personal Contacts

Immanuel KantImmanuel Kant
Johann Wolfgang von GoetheJohann Wolfgang von Goethe
Georg  HegelGeorg Hegel
Karl MarxKarl Marx
Clement GreenbergClement Greenberg

Movements

Pre-Columbian ArtPre-Columbian Art
Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism
Color Field PaintingColor Field Painting
SurrealismSurrealism

Influences on Artist
Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman
Years Worked: 1923 - 1940, 1944 - 1970
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Frank StellaFrank Stella
Carl AndreCarl Andre
Donald JuddDonald Judd
Dan FlavinDan Flavin
Kenneth NolandKenneth Noland

Personal Contacts

Clement GreenbergClement Greenberg
Thomas B. HessThomas B. Hess
Harold RosenbergHarold Rosenberg

Movements

MinimalismMinimalism
Color Field PaintingColor Field Painting
Pop ArtPop Art

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Content compiled and written by Rachel Gershman

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Rachel Gershman
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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