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Defining Illlusionism
Barnett Newman
Acrylic on canvas
106 x 112 1/2 inches (269.2 x 285.8 cm)
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
Purchased with the participation of Basile & Elisa Goulandris, 1986.
Photograph by Bruce White, Courtesy of the Barnett Newman Foundation.
 By the mid-1960s the "cool" look of the Minimalist and Pop art of the sixties had opened the public's eyes to Newman's spare yet powerful paintings. Amid this fresh appreciation, Newman continued to evolve as an artist. This is the period in which he adopted the word "zip" to describe the vertical bands in his canvases. He downplayed the contemplative element of his art, and gave his paintings hard edges and smooth surfaces that deemphasize the artist's touch. Working with paint straight out of the tube, Newman created bold paintings in primary colors, using the newly popular medium of acrylic paint to full advantage as he strove for even, saturated coats of color. This approach is exemplified by the magnitude and intensity of red in the largest painting of his life, Anna's Light (named for the artist's mother). Newman also experimented with new shapes, painting Chartres and Jericho on triangular canvases that were inspired by the preparation of the pyramidal base for his sculpture Broken Obelisk.
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