Barnett Newman, ‘Untitled (The Cry)’, 1946, MOCA, Los Angeles

Untitled (The Cry) features a vertical band masked out from the ink wash that saturates the paper ground. This and related drawings were precursors to Barnett Newman’s Zip paintings, monochrome canvases, each of which feature a piece of masking tape placed dead center, running vertically from top to bottom. The Zip paintings were breakthrough works for the artist, who stated: “The thing I feel in relation to these paintings is that they are more removed, or most removed, from the problem of association with biomorphic or abstract shapes or any other kind of thing.”

Bequest of Marcia Simon Weisman

Image rights: © 2012 Artists Right Society (ARS), New York

About Barnett Newman

An originator of Abstract Expressionism, Barnett Newman changed the course of 20th-century American painting. Newman’s monumental color field paintings consist of rectangles of rich, often mono- or bi-chromatic color that, when viewed from close proximity, are meant to confer a powerful spiritual experience, an encounter with the sublime. Newman’s signature “Zip” paintings, the artist’s term for paintings with a narrow vertical stripe dividing planes of color, provide each painting with an architectural frame, such as in his iconic work Vir Heroicus Siblimis (1950-1951).

American, 1905-1970, New York, New York, based in New York, New York