Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

The Song of Orpheus

Artist:
Barnett Newman (American, New York 1905–1970 New York)
Date:
1944–45
Medium:
Oil pastel on paper
Dimensions:
20 x 14 7/8in. (50.8 x 37.8cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Gift of Annalee Newman, 1992
Accession Number:
1992.179.1
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
Inscription: Signed (lower center): BB Newman
the artist, New York (until d. 1970); his widow, Annalee Newman, New York (1970–92; her gift to MMA)

New York. Allan Stone Gallery. "Barnett Newman," October 23–November 17, 1962, unnumbered cat. (as "Song of Orpheus," collection Allan Stone Gallery).

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Barnett Newman," October 21, 1971–January 10, 1972, unnumbered cat. (pp. 44; lent by the estate of the artist).

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. "Barnett Newman," March 30–May 22, 1972, no. 55 (lent by the estate of the artist).

London. Tate Gallery. "Barnett Newman," June 28–August 6, 1972, no. 54 (lent by the estate of the artist).

Paris. Grand Palais, Galeries nationales. "Barnett Newman," October 10–December 11, 1972, no. 54 (lent by the estate of the artist).

Williamstown, Mass. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. "The Dada/ Surrealist Heritage," May 3–June 12, 1977, no. 5 (as "Song of Orpheus," dated 1944, lent by Annalee Newman).

Ithaca, N. Y. Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. "Abstract Expressionism: The Formative Years," March 30–May 14, 1978.

Tokyo. Seibu Museum of Art. "Abstract Expressionism: The Formative Years," June 17–July 12, 1978, no. 42.

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Abstract Expressionism: The Formative Years," October 5–December 3, 1978, unnumbered cat. (fig. 19).

Baltimore Museum of Art. "Barnett Newman: The Complete Drawings, 1944–1969," April 29–June 17, 1979, no. 11 (lent by Annalee Newman, New York).

Detroit Institute of Arts. "Barnett Newman: The Complete Drawings, 1944–1969," August 7–September 30, 1979, no. 11.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. "Barnett Newman: The Complete Drawings, 1944–1969," November 2, 1979–January 6, 1980, no. 11.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Barnett Newman: The Complete Drawings, 1944–1969," February 12–April 13, 1980, no. 11.

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. "Barnett Newman: The Complete Drawings, 1944–1969," September 8–October 19, 1980, no. 11.

Paris. Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou. "Barnett Newman: Les Dessins, 1944–1969," November 14, 1980–January 4, 1981, no. 11.

Cologne. Museum Ludwig. "Barnett Newman: Das zeichnerische Werk," February 20–March 29, 1981, no. 11 (as "Orpheus' Gesang [The Song of Orpheus]").

Kunstmuseum Basel. "Barnett Newman: Das zeichnerische Werk," May 9–July 5, 1981, no. 11 (as "Orpheus' Gesang [The Song of Orpheus]").

Newport Beach, Calif. Newport Harbor Art Museum. "The Interpretive Link: Abstract Surrealism into Abstract Expressionism, Works on Paper 1938–1948," July 16–September 14, 1986, no. 89 (lent by Annalee Newman, New York).

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "The Interpretive Link: Abstract Surrealism into Abstract Expressionism, Works on Paper 1938–1948," November 13, 1986–January 21, 1987, no. 89.

Minneapolis. Walker Art Center. "The Interpretive Link: Abstract Surrealism into Abstract Expressionism, Works on Paper 1938–1948," February 21–April 19, 1987, no. 89.

Atlanta. High Museum of Art. "Abstract Expressionism, Works on Paper: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 26–April 4, 1993, no. 27.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Abstract Expressionism, Works on Paper: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 4–September 12, 1993, extended to November 7, 1993, no. 27.

Minneapolis. Walker Art Center. "The Sublime is Now: The Early Work of Barnett Newman, Paintings and Drawings 1944-1949," March 20–May 29, 1994, no. 10.

Saint Louis Art Museum. "The Sublime is Now: The Early Work of Barnett Newman, Paintings and Drawings 1944-1949," July 1–August 28, 1994, no. 10.

New York. Pace Gallery. "The Sublime is Now: The Early Work of Barnett Newman, Paintings and Drawings 1944-1949," October 21–November 26, 1994, no. 10.

National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. "Abstract Expressionism: Works on Paper, Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," March 11–June 4, 1995, no. 36.

Madrid. Fundación Juan March. "Expresionismo Abstracto: Obra Sobre Papel, Colección The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nueva York," May 9–July 2, 2000, no. 36.

Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Barnett Newman," March 24–July 7, 2002, no. 3.

London. Tate Modern. "Barnett Newman," September 19, 2002–January 5, 2003, no. 3.

Sidney Tillim. "New York Exhibitions: Month in Review." Arts Magazine 37 (December 1962), p. 39.

Dore Ashton. "New York Report." Das Kunstwerk 16 (November–December 1962), ill. p. 71, calls it "Song of Orpheus"and dates it 1945.

Lawrence Alloway. "Notes on Barnett Newman." Art International 13 (Summer 1969), p. 35.

Thomas B. Hess. Barnett Newman. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1971, pp. 45, 47, ill. p. 44, identifies it as one of three drawings ("Gea," 1944–45, Art Institute of Chicago; "The Slaying of Osiris," 1944–45, Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch collection, Berlin) in a series which "concentrated on two themes–the new seed with its leaf–wings and the abstract landscape over which it flies"; states that its mythological title reflects the artist's shared interest in primitive art and civilizations with Gottlieb and Rothko.

Douglas Davis. "The Red, the Yellow, the Blue." Newsweek (October 18, 1971), p. 92, ill. (color).

Charles Harrison. "Abstract Expressionism II." Studio International 185 (February 1973), ill. p. 54.

Benjamin Garrison Paskus. "The Theory, Art and Critical Reception of Barnett Newman." PhD diss., University of North Carolina, 1974, pp. 67–68, dates it 1945.

Lois Fichner-Rathus in The Dada/Surrealist Heritage. Ed. Sam Hunter. Exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, Mass., 1977, p. 11, no. 5, fig. 3.

David M. Quick. "Meaning in the Art of Barnett Newman and Three of His Contemporaries: A Study of Content in Abstract Expressionism." PhD diss., University of Iowa, 1978, p. 44, fig. 1, dates it 1945.

Gail Levin in Robert Carleton Hobbs and Gail Levin. Abstract Expressionism: The Formative Years. Exh. cat., Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. Ithaca, N.Y., 1978, pp. 32, 96, fig. 19, dates it 1945.

Brenda Richardson. Barnett Newman: The Complete Drawings, 1944–1969. Exh. cat., Baltimore Museum of Art. Baltimore, 1979, pp. 54–55, 62, no. 11, ill. (color).

Barbara Cavaliere. "Barnett Newman." Flash Art nos. 96–97 (March–April 1980), p. 5, calls it "Song of Orpheus".

Alfred Pacquement in Barnett Newman: Les Dessins 1944–1969. Exh. cat., Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou. Paris, 1980, pp. 8, 32, no. 11, ill. p. 6.

Barbara Rose in Barnett Newman: Les Dessins 1944–1969. Exh. cat., Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou. Paris, 1980, p. 15 ns. 1–2.

Annette Cox. Art–As–Politics: The Abstract Expressionist Avant–Garde and Society. 2nd ed. [1st ed. 1977]. Ann Arbor, 1982, p. 74, dates it 1945.

Lily Mark. "The Relevance of Title to Form and Content in the Mature Work of Barnett Newman." PhD diss., University of Witwatersrand, 1983, pp. 141, 153, 159, 161, 166, dates it 1945.

Mollie McNickle in The Interpretive Link: Abstract Surrealism into Abstract Expressionism, Works on Paper 1938–1948. Exh. cat., Newport Harbor Art Museum. Newport Beach, Calif., 1986, pp. 53–54, 136, 195, no. 89, ill. p. 141 (color).

Paul and Yvonne Schimmel in The Interpretive Link: Abstract Surrealism into Abstract Expressionism, Works on Paper 1938–1948. Exh. cat., Newport Harbor Art Museum. Newport Beach, Calif., 1986, p. 24.

W. Jackson Rushing. "The Impact of Nietzsche and Northwest Coast Indian Art on Barnett Newman's Idea of Redemption in the Abstract Sublime." Art Journal 47 (Fall 1988), pp. 192, 194 n. 34, fig. 5, ill. on cover, connects the subject of Orpheus to Newman's interest in the Nietzschean concept of tragedy "born out of the spirit of music".

Patrick Negri. "Signs of Being: A Study of the Religious Significance of the Art of Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko." PhD diss., Graduate Theological Union, 1990, p. 51, calls it "Song of Orpheus".

Stephen Polcari. Abstract Expressionism and the Modern Experience. Cambridge, 1991, pp. 188, 191, fig. 122.

Judith E. Bernstock. Under the Spell of Orpheus: The Persistence of a Myth in Twentieth–Century Art. [Carbondale, Ill.], 1991, pp. 142–44, pl. 44, calls it "Song of Orpheus" and dates it summer 1945; states that the artist's choice of Orpheus as a subject "reflects his own intent to comprehend the inner workings and unity of nature" and that he "turned to Orpheus...shortly after having experienced an identity crisis as an artist, and in Orpheus he seems to find confirmation of the direction that he chose"; connects the organic imagery with the artist's focus on the natural sciences in the early 1940s.

Lisa Mintz Messinger. Abstract Expressionism, Works on Paper: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., High Museum of Art, Atlanta. New York, 1992, pp. 74, 78, 80, fig. 27 (color), interprets the artist's choice of Orpheus in the title as a means to convey the "divine union of man, animal, earth, and plant".

Judith E. Bernstock. "Classical Mythology in Twentieth–Century Art: An Overview of a Humanistic Approach." Artibus et Historiae 14, no. 27 (1993), pp. 156, 171, 182 n. 64, fig. 3, calls it "Song of Orpheus" in the caption, dates it 1945.

Lisa M. Messinger in "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1992–1993." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 51 (Autumn 1993), p. 75, ill. (color).

Ziva Amishai-Maisels. Depiction and Interpretation: The Influence of the Holocaust on the Visual Arts. Oxford, 1993, pp. 302, 484 n. 103.

Glen MacLeod. Wallace Stevens and Modern Art: From the Armory Show to Abstract Expressionism. New Haven, 1993, p. 152, dates it 1944.

Harold Rosenberg. Barnett Newman. 2nd ed. [1st ed. 1978]. New York, 1994, p. 49, fig. 140 (color).

Jeremy Strick. The Sublime is Now: The Early Work of Barnett Newman, Paintings and Drawings 1944–1949. Exh. cat., Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. [New York], 1994, p. 12, colorpl. 10.

Renée van de Vall. Een subliem gevoel van plaats: Een filosofische interpretatie van het werk van Barnett Newman. [Groningen, Netherlands], 1994, p. 100.

Lisa Messinger. Abstract Expressionism: Works on Paper, Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, 1995, p. 65, no. 36, ill. p. 66 (color).

W. Jackson Rushing. Native American Art and the New York Avant–Garde: A History of Cultural Primitivism. Austin, 1995, pp. 135, 221 n. 88.

W. Jackson Rushing. "Exhibition Reviews: Decade of Decision." Art Journal 54 (Spring 1995), p. 88, fig. 1.

Mollie McNickle. "The Mind and Art of Barnett Newman." PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1996, pp. 119, 150, 152–53, 156–57.

David Anfam in The Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 23, Neuhuys to Pandit Seu. New York, 1996, p. 27, calls it "Song of Orpheus," dates it 1945, and erroneously locates it still in the artist's estate.

Irving Sandler in Pintura Estadounidense: Expresionismo Abstracto. Exh. cat., Centro Cultural/Arte Contemporáneo. México, D.F, 1996, p. 50, calls it "El Canto de Orfeo" and dates it 1945.

Ann Eden Gibson. Abstract Expressionism: Other Politics. New Haven, 1997, p. 52.

Lisa M. Messinger. Expresionismo Abstracto: Obra Sobre Papel, Colección The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nueva York. Exh. cat., Fundación Juan March. Madrid, 2000, p. 87, no. 36, ill. p. 85 (color).

Ann Temkin in Barnett Newman. Ed. Ann Temkin. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 2002, p. 75 n. 158.

Ann Temkin, Suzanne Penn, and Melissa Ho in Barnett Newman. Ed. Ann Temkin. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 2002, p. 114, no. 3, ill. p. 117 (color), date it 1944 or 1945.

Heidi Colsman–Freyberger. "Catalogue Raisonné." Barnett Newman: A Catalogue Raisonné. New York and New Haven, 2004, p. 376, no. 129, ill. (color).

Suzanne Penn. "Intuition and Incidents: The Paintings of Barnett Newman." Reconsidering Barnett Newman: A Symposium at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Ed. Melissa Ho. Philadelphia, 2005, pp. 82–83, fig. 39.

Richard Shiff. "Newman's Time." Reconsidering Barnett Newman: A Symposium at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Ed. Melissa Ho. Philadelphia, 2005, pp. 167–68.

Claude Cernuschi. Barnett Newman and Heideggerian Philosophy. Madison, N.J., 2012, pp. 171, 176, calls it "Songs of Orpheus".



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