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.

All fourteen can be seen here. Photo’s from Art & Artists (a blog by Poul Webb)

Below how they were exposed in 1966 and 2017

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