Barnett Newman is known for his abstract expressionist style and vertical sculpture. He was born in 1905 in New York. He studied art at the Art Students League under John Sloan and Adolph Gottlieb. He also studied Philosophy and botanics and ornithology. Early in his artistic career Barnett Newman painted in the Surrealist style. Not satisfied with where his work was going, he destroyed most of his paintings completed before 1930.
He was passionate about the idea that art should be more then just decoration but instead should be an expression from personal meditation. This thinking lead him to the Minimalist movement. In 1948, Barnett Newman created his first stripe painting incorporating thin vertical bands or “zips” as Newman called them with broad fields of color. In the beginning, the zips were variegated, but as this them matured the zips became flat and more pure. Barnett Newman then experimented with shaped canvases that included a zip on a very narrow and long canvas.
Originally his work was untitled, but Newman later gave works names that hinted at specific subjects, often with a Jewish theme, being addressed. Barnett Newman is often described as an Abstract Expressionist, but really he was a pioneer to post painterly abstraction and the minimalist movement. Newman died in New York City of a heart attack in 1970.