New York (Oct. 20)
The late Barnett Newman, the pioneering postwar artist, will be honored posthumously by the Museum of Modern Art with the first major retrospective of his work, opening tomorrow and running through next Jan. 10. Shortly before his death last July 4 at age 65, Newman spoke out for Soviet Jewry at a press conference announcing a petition to the Kremlin signed by dozens of prominent creative figures. Plans for the retrospective were launched in 1969. Similar tributes will be presented next year at the Tate Gallery, London; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and the Grand Palais, Paris.
Newman was born here in 1905 to emigres from Russian Poland. He learned Hebrew from his father, and ardent Zionist, and cut high school classes to visit art galleries. He began painting in the 1930s, but because of critical wrath he remained unappreciated and unsold until three decades later. In a monograph being published by the Museum in conjunction with the retrospective. Thomas B. Hess writes that Newman “produced some of the most influential and magnificent pictures of the century: grand, strong, profoundly moving.”