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PRINT November 1994

BARNETT NEWMAN: UNTITLED

USUALLY THE WORKS that are going to matter most to one, like the people who are going to matter most, start doing so as one first sets eyes on them. The work I’ve chosen to write about is a piece I managed to live with for many years without seeing anything very special in it, and this despite the fact that it’s by a painter whose art I normally respond to so immediately that when I’m in museums I use it like a drug. I would not, though, have bothered to go on living with this particular example had it not been for the circumstances in which I acquired it.

It is a lithograph from an edition of 30 printed in 1961, one of three untitled lithographs of that year which were Barnett Newman’s first attempts at printmaking. Two years after he died, in 1970, his widow, Annalee Newman, whom I had not seen since his death, came to London at the time of his retrospective at the Tate and brought the

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