Barnett Newman’s ‘glimpses of the sublime’ are a bargain at any price

Barnett Newman is well worth $43.8m. Great art is essentially priceless. The highest price paid by the most well-heeled collector is only a fraction of its true value.

And Newman is a great artist.

The price put on greatness at Sotheby’s in New York this week, where works by Francis Bacon and Jeff Koons failed to sell but Newman soared, is the $43.8m paid for his Onement VI.

If you are going to buy a Newman, this is the kind of Newman you should buy: a powerful example of his ineffable style at its height of confidence and magic.

A single white line divides a flat expanse of blue: it seems to rip open the universe, a crack in space and time. Versions of this vertical line appear again and again in Newman’s paintings, sometimes alone as in his 1946 work Moment in Tate

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