Craig F. Starr Gallery is pleased to present Barnett Newman Paintings
on view October 21 through December 17, 2011.
The exhibition is the first New York presentation of Barnett Newman paintings in almost
twenty years. On view are six rarely seen paintings—all completed between 1949 and
Barnett Newman (1905 -1970) began painting in 1945, and with the exception of a brief
respite, he continued to do so until his death in 1970. In those twenty five years, he only
made approximately 120 paintings, the majority of which are now in museum collections.
The earliest works date from 1949, the year following the completion of Onement I, which
Newman himself viewed as a breakthrough and the beginning of his fully mature style. In
By Twos and Galaxy, Newman’s signature motif, the striking lines, edges, and bands, which
he called “zips,” punctuate single-hued canvases. Simultaneously these lines unite and
separate the broader areas of color establishing an overwhelming sense of wholeness in his
Understanding and highly experienced in the use of paints, brushes and tapes, Newman did
not expect these “zips” to be perfect and uniform, instead he anticipated that each would
take on its own unique character, like the wavering edges in both Untitled 3, 1949 and Untitled
I, 1950. Similar to the other works in the exhibition, the paint consistency in these
pieces is varied with some slightly thicker ridges and a varied surface sheen.
In 1958, after recovering from a heart attack and a three year hiatus from his work,
Newman painted Outcry. Measuring 82 x 6 inches and painted in broad stokes with a palate
knife on exposed canvas, Outcry has a striking sense of verticality and scale. In a smaller
work on exposed canvas, Treble (1960), Newman again applied tape vertically through the
center of the composition, painted over them, and removed them. The three paint passages
left on the surface have sharply defined inner edges and irregular outer edges.
Barnett Newman Paintings is comprised of loans from private collections across the country, and is
accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Richard Shiff, Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in
Art at The University of Texas at Austin. It is the first exhibition of Newman paintings in the United States,
since the 2002 retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
This is the gallery’s fourth exhibition of Newman’s work, which have included important loans from The
Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation and private collections. Past shows include Barnett Newman
Drawing Declares the Space, Barnett Newman Drawings 1944 - 1946, and Playing This Litho Instrument: The
Prints of Barnett Newman.
Craig F. Starr Gallery is located at 5 East 73rd Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues. Gallery hours are
Tuesday - Saturday, 11:00am to 5:30pm, and by appointment. For general information please view the gallery’s
website at www.starr-art.com.