Barnett Newman, 'Cathedra', 1951          Photo: Peter Tijhuis


An overwhelming expanse of intense ultramarine blue is divided only by two vertical bands called zips, one white and the other sky-blue. This monumental work by Color Field painter Barnett Newman instigates the reconsideration of color as an aesthetic feature in itself. A pioneer of abstract expressionism, Newman believed that large color continuums could stimulate a spiritual experience in the viewer. For Newman, the title, Cathedra, meaning seat or throne - was linked to the biblical throne of God, and to the connection the artist felt with mystical forces of life when creating this work, fueled by his lifelong study of the mystical Jewish Kabbalah.

Acquired with the generous support of the Vereniging Rembrandt, the Theo van Gogh Stichting and N.N., 1975


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