Barnett Newman

The Late Work, 1965–1970

Bradford A. Epley and Michelle White; With a contribution by Sarah K. Rich

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Out of Print

An enlightening study of Barnett Newman’s last works, based on a decade of exhaustive research

The work of Barnett Newman (1905–1970) has come to define the spiritual aspirations and material innovations of American painting in the mid-20th century. Best known for his zip paintings—in which thin vertical lines rise through large, bold planes of color—Newman’s work was an abrupt departure from his contemporaries’ gestural abstraction, yet anticipated Color Field painting.
During the last five years of his life, Newman worked primarily in acrylic rather than oil paint, used increasingly vibrant colors, and experimented with shaped canvases. When he died at the age of 65, he left a group of works hanging in his studio, some deemed unfinished. Centered on three of these works, this book builds upon ten years of exhaustive technical research to provide a rare glimpse of Newman’s relatively mysterious artistic process. The first scholarly publication devoted to the last years of Newman’s oeuvre, it features more than 20 paintings from this period and earlier. The authors present eye-opening analysis of these unfinished works as well as rich insight into Newman’s full body of work. This striking volume also includes photographic close-ups and scientific imaging that reveal previously unknown aspects of Newman’s mediums and techniques.

Bradford A. Epley is chief conservator and Michelle White is curator, both at the Menil Collection. Sarah K. Rich is an associate professor of art history at Pennsylvania State University.


The Menil Collection

ISBN: 9780300211764
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Publishing Partner: Distributed for the Menil Collection
144 pages, 9 3/4 x 11 3/4
79 color + 20 b/w illus.
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