Newman, Barnett, 1905–70, American artist, b. New York City. A member of the New York school, Newman was one of the first to reject conventional notions of spatial composition in art. Often using monumental scale, he took abstraction to its farther reaches. In his severe Stations of the Cross series (1958–66), he divided raw canvas vertically at intervals by black or white bands of various widths. In other paintings (e.g., Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue IV?, 1969–70) Newman used large areas of saturated, sometimes primary color punctuated by narrow vertical bands of other colors that he called “zips” as the source of visual and emotional impact. Newman became known as a major painter in the last decade of his life, and his work was an important influence on the practitioners of color-field painting. He also created a number of monumental abstract sculptures.
Used with permission. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2001 Columbia University Press
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