Barnett Newman: Stations of the cross

Subtitle: Lema Sabachtani (Why hast thou forsaken me?)

A meaningful ensemble of fourteen paintings (i.e., to be seen together, a kind of mental re-col-lection), made between 1958–1966. The title came to Newman during the process of painting. These paintings mark both the end of painting and the (new) beginning of Newman as a painter. After the crisis of the Shoah, life & art could not simply ‘continue’ as if nothing had happened. For Newman this meant a return to basics (the ‘matter’ of painting, rediscovered through the material craft of painting itself). Characteristic for his paintings became the ‘zip’, a constant reminder that there is a ‘crack’ in everything, ànd – perhaps as important – it is not necessarily there where the light gets in, as sometimes is suggested. Look at the fourteen stations of the cross and you know it, feel it.

Photo’s from Art & Artists (a blog by Poul Webb)

First seen in 1966: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York)
Last seen in 2017: National Gallery of Art – East Building (Washington)