Barnett Newman

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Cathedra by Barnett Newman.

Barnett Newman (29 January 19054 July 1970) was an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters.


  • Aesthetics is for painting as Ornithology is for the birds.
    • The Abuse of Beauty: Aesthetics and the Concept of Art, By Arthur Coleman Danto, p. 1, Published by Open Court Publishing, 2003, ISBN 0812695402, 9780812695403
  • Painting, like passion, is a living voice, which, when I hear it, I must let it speak, unfettered.
    • American Abstract Expressionism of the 1950s An Illustrated Survey, p. 250, Herskovic, Marika; nyschoolpress, 2003, ISBN 0-9677994-1-4
  • We feel that our pictures demonstrate our aesthetic beliefs, some of which we, therefore, list:
  1. To us art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take the risks.
  2. This world of imagination is fancy-free and violently opposed to common sense.
  3. It is our function as artists to make the spectator see the world our way not his way.
  4. We favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the nequivocal. #We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.
  5. It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. (Rothko said this is the essence of academicism.)
  6. There is no such thing as a good painting about nothing.
  7. We assert that the subject is crucial and only that subject matter is valid which is tragic and timeless. That is why we profess spiritual kinship with primitive and archaic art.
  • Does a man want to be an artist? Is it like he wants to be a priest, or a lawyer? Is the artist that kind of profession? Or, as I once actually wrote, I think every man is an artist. An artist is a matter of my birthright... what I'd like to be is a man in the world. And I paint in order to do a painting, not to... make myself into a so-called artist... I'm impelled to do something, to say something.
    • Quoted in: Caroline A. Jones (1998) Machine in the Studio: Constructing the Postwar American Artist. p. 84

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