The Stations of the Cross
and the Subjects of the Artist
Newman did not begin these paintings with The Stations in mind. The first two paintings were done early in 1958 in Brooklyn Heights, where he lived from 1956 to 1958. There was some question in his mind of titling them so that they might constitute a pair, such as Adam and Eve, but he decided against this. Then, as he has said, "I knew I would do more" and in 1960 he painted two, the same size, also in pure black on raw canvas, with comparable phasing of the vertical bands. All four have a solid black left edge and a modulated band, rather more than two-thirds across the canvas, to the right. In the first, plumes of dry brush marks expand around a narrow band; in the second a narrow band is outlined in black and set off-center in a wider grey band; in the third a narrow solid and a narrow plumed band adjoin; and in the fourth a narrow band, freely contoured, is set in a flowing black band. It was after the fourth that he realized the number and meaning of the work on which he was engaged. In December 1961 he exhibited what is still the first painting of the Stations as a single work under the title of Station. The work was subsequently reproduced as The Series, 1,1. but there can be no doubt that the Stations theme was now a definite project in Newman's mind.
The discovery of a subject that proposed fixed limits did not mean that Newman could now work easily by filling in a given schema. In 1962 he produced two more paintings, the Fifth and Sixth, in 1964 three paintings, in 1965 three, and the two final paintings were begun____________________