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© ARS, NY and DACS, London 2021. Photo credit: Tate

Moment 1946

Barnett Newman (1905–1970)


(b New York, 29 Jan. 1905; d New York, 4 July 1970). American painter (and latterly sculptor), one of the leading figures of Abstract Expressionism and one of the initiators of Colour Field Painting. During the 1930s he had a hard time financially: the Depression almost ruined his father's clothing business (which Newman ran for a while), and unlike most American painters of the time he did not work for the Federal Art Project, being unwilling to accept state handouts. Part of his living came from teaching art in high schools. He destroyed most of his early work and stopped painting in the early 1940s, but he began again in 1944, and in the second half of the 1940s evolved a distinctive style of mystical abstraction—he considered ‘the sublime’ to be his ultimate subject matter.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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