Barnett Newman


Artist Biography:

Barnett Newman was born in 1905 in New York, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants. He is viewed as one of the major figures in Abstract Expressionism and one of the leaders of the colour field painters. Early in his career, Newman was known as a critic rather than a painter and it was only after the Second World War that he developed as an artist. Together with his contemporaries such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb and Clyfford Still, he developed a new style of painting called Abstract Expressionism. Although Newman always insisted on the rich emotional content of his work, for most of his life it met with incomprehension and charges of "emptiness". He kept nothing he made before he was nearly forty years old, and over the rest of his career produced only around 120 paintings. It was not until he was nearly sixty that he began to be recognised as one of America's foremost artists. Barnett Newman died in 1970.

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