Abstract painting

Abstract painting by Newman sold for $43 million in New York

Abstract painting by Newman sold for $43 million in New York

  • Record price at Sotheby’s for a canvas with the New York artist’s distinctive “zip”
  • The Private Room is one of six paintings created in 1953

A painting by New York abstract artist Barnett Newman sold last night for a record $43.8 million at Sotheby’s.

Onement Vi, an 8.5-by-10-foot dark blue canvas with Newman’s distinctive “zip” running through the center, was painted in 1953.

This is the last of the six pieces created by the artist for his Onement series. Four of the oil paintings on canvas are now in museums.

Big impact: Onement VI, by abstract artist Barnett Newman, sold for $43 million at Sotheby’s

The coin was expected to sell for between $30 million and $40 million at the auction held in New York.

The painting has previously been exhibited in galleries such as the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

However, it has always been privately owned. The seller had purchased the piece for a private collection in 2000.

Until yesterday, Onement V held the previous auction record for Newman. It sold for $22.4 million last year.

Born in 1905, Abstract Expressionist Newman is said to have influenced other artists including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Frank Stella.

While forging his career in the art world, Newman, who died in 1970, worked for his father’s business, making men’s clothing.

Inspirational: Barnett's sculpture Broken Obelisk on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York

Inspirational: Barnett’s sculpture Broken Obelisk on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York

In its catalog notes for the painting, Sotheby’s states, “Newman overwhelms and seduces the viewer with all of his sensuous, cascading washes of vibrant blue coexisting with Newman’s vertical ‘sign’ of human presence, his ‘zip’ iconic and revolutionary. ‘

In his later years, the artist, hailed by Sotheby’s as “one of the most independent and courageous artists of the 20th century”, produced a series of steel sculptures.

According to Bloomberg, at least five people bid for Onement VI. The prospective buyer was a telephone bidder.