BARNETT NEWMAN at Craig F. Starr

Barnett Newman, Untitled 3-1949 and Outcry 1958

One of the most wonderful surprises in a while is a jewel-like exhibition of Barnett Newman paintings at Craig F. Starr Gallery through December 17, 2011. Tucked away in Starr's tiny space on the ground floor of a brownstone on 73rd Street, this show features an exquisite group of small canvases mostly from the '40s and '50s, and a very nice selection of works on paper in the back room. The lighting is so low that it takes half an hour to adjust one's eyes to the darkness -- and even then, it is very hard to see the paintings. Nevertheless, these works are a real treat, and the intimate setting allows close inspection that reveals the raw directness of Newman's process. Each work seems carefully considered and quickly executed, exuding a freshness that is astonishing and a potency that transcends its small scale. One wonders how many of these little things Newman had lying around the studio. For a selection of much higher quality images, visit the gallery website.

Barnett Newman, Treble 1960 and Untitled 1-1950

Barnett Newman, By Twos 1949 and Galaxy 1949

Barnett Newman, Treble, 1960, 20 1/4 x 6 3/4, oil on canvas

Barnett Newman, By Twos, 1949, 66 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

Barnett Newman, Untitled 1-1950, 1950, 36 x 6 inches, oil on canvas