Broken Obelisk – (Barnett Newman) Previous Next


Style: Abstract Expressionism

Topic: Symbols

Date: 1969

Size: 749 x 318 cm

Newman made several sculptures, but Broken Obelisk is his most monumental. Its use of heavy, rough-surfaced steel contrasts with the impression of lightness created by the inverted obelisk that almost floats above the stable pyramid. The two parts connect at a space of only two and a quarter inches, with an internal steel rod stabilizing the massive sculpture. Although ancient imagery of pyramids and obelisks are often associated with death, Newman reinvents them here to evoke life and transcendence. Several versions of Broken Obelisk exist, with one in Houston, Texas dedicated to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Barnett Newman


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