Barnett Newman facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Barnett Newman (January 29, 1905 – July 4, 1970) was an American artist. He is one of the major figures in abstract expressionism, and a leading "color field" painter.

Newman was born in New York City, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland. He studied philosophy at the City College of New York and worked in his father's business making clothing. He later made a living as a teacher, writer and critic. From the 1930s on he made paintings said to be in an expressionist style. He later destroyed all these works.

Throughout the 1940s he worked in a surrealist vein before developing his mature style. This has areas of pure color separated by thin vertical lines, or "zips" as Newman called them. In the first works featuring zips, the color fields are variegated, but later the colors are pure and flat. Newman himself thought that he reached his fully mature style with the Onement series (from 1948). The zips define the spatial structure of the painting, while simultaneously dividing and uniting the composition..

Newman died of a heart attack in New York City. He was unappreciated as an artist for much of his life, being overlooked in favour of more colorful characters such as Jackson Pollock. He was not a fan of Mark Rothko, his great rival in color field painting. Some critics wrote admiringly about him, but it was not until the end of his life that he began to be taken seriously. He was, however, an important influence on many younger artists.

Images for kids


Barnett Newman Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.