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Newman: Notes — Marden: Suicide Notes

Barnett Newman believed that “life is physical but it is also metaphysical—only those who understand the meta can understand the physical.”[1] His work explored the dynamic tension produced by the coexistence of opposites, particularly the confrontation between his expansive fields of color and the punctuations of his signature “zips.” His writings and statements—both impassioned and erudite—turn often on apparent riddles or paradoxes: with his trademark wit, he once stated, “I’m against the object as a thing; I’m also against the non-object as a thing.”[2] Through both his work and his koan-like propositions, Newman was able to disrupt given dichotomies, privileging neither term in order to pursue what lay “beyond” such oppositions: form and content, subject and object, the art and the artist, the physical and the metaphysical.

A generation younger, Brice Marden pursued a parallel path, finding in his chosen materials (pigment, graphite, beeswax, turpentine) a link to the immaterial. For Marden, his painting is about “taking … that heavy earthen kind of thing, turning it into air and light.”[3] Though Marden, like many artists of his generation, absorbed the impact of both Newman’s art and his theories, the relationship between the work of the two artists is far from a straightforward trail of influence, but rather a network of echoes and affinities. This exhibition explores particular correspondences between the artists through the focused presentation of two discrete bodies of their work: Newman’s suite of 18 etchings, Notes (1968), and Marden’s series of ink drawings, Suicide Notes (1972-73). Though each of these series were marked stylistic departures for both artists, they share a similar formal vocabulary: small scale works on paper, articulated only with a restricted palette of black on white, centered on repeated iterations of rectangular forms. These parallels occurred independently: Newman’s series, though etched in 1968, was not published until 1978, eight years after the artist’s death and five years after Marden produced his Suicide Notes. These resemblances serve then to underline the shared motivations that produced them: namely, a restless search, in the words of Richard Shiff, “to create a new beginning.”[4] For Newman, this new beginning came near the end of his career, in the embrace of a new medium; for Marden, it marked a pivotal transition that opened up new avenues of exploration in his practice. For both artists, whose paintings were devoted to the investigation of fields and planes, it was found in the freedom of returning to the degree-zero of mark-making, the line.    

Barnett and Annalee Newman at the graphics workshop ULAE, West Islip, Lond Island, November 2, 1968. Photo by Harry Shunk. © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.

Barnett and Annalee Newman at the graphics workshop ULAE, West Islip, Lond Island, November 2, 1968. Photo by Harry Shunk. © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.

Barnett Newman, Untitled Etching #1, 1969. Etching and aquatint,

14 15/16 x 23 7/7 inches, plate; 19 3/16 x 29 3/4 inches, sheet.

Private Collection.

Barnett Newman, Untitled Etching #1, 1969. Etching and aquatint,

14 15/16 x 23 7/7 inches, plate; 19 3/16 x 29 3/4 inches, sheet.

Private Collection.

In the spring of 1968, at the age of 63, Barnett Newman began to work in etching for the first time. He was in the midst of preparing for an exhibition at the Knoedler Gallery, his first solo gallery show in ten years; it would serve as a significant debut for the unparalleled accomplishments Newman had achieved in painting during the previous decade, and it would prove to be the last one-person exhibition to take place during his lifetime. To avoid the lure of the past, however, Newman was spurred towards experimenting with new modes of expression. Earlier that spring, on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., had been assassinated in Memphis; soon thereafter, Newman agreed to contribute a print to a portfolio to commemorate the slain civil rights leader, organized by collector and Jewish Museum trustee Vera List. [5] Newman decided his submission would be an etching despite having never worked in the medium before; this work would eventually become Untitled Etching #1 (1969). Newman’s abrupt embrace of a new artistic challenge was likely aided by the encouragement of Tatyana Grosman, founder of United Limited Art Editions (ULAE), with whom Newman had previously worked to create his series of lithographs 18 Cantos (1964). Grosman and ULAE had opened an intaglio workshop in 1967 and were eager for artists to explore the medium. Thus, on June 18, 1968, Grosman and Donn Steward, ULAE’s intaglio printer, delivered several small copper plates to Newman’s Upper West Side home, demonstrating the use of the stylus and scraper. Newman soon got to work: by October, he would produce his Notes (1968), eighteen prints from twelve plates, all of which are on view here.

Barnett Newman, Treble, 1960.

Oil on exposed canvas, 20 1/4 x 6 3/4 inches.

Private Collection. This work was illustrated

on the exhibition announcement for

Newman's 1969 exhibition at the Knoedler Gallery.

 

Barnett Newman, Treble, 1960.

Oil on exposed canvas, 20 1/4 x 6 3/4 inches.

Private Collection. This work was illustrated

on the exhibition announcement for

Newman's 1969 exhibition at the Knoedler Gallery.

 

It was not just the push-and-pull antinomies of time—old and new, the familiar and the unknown—to which Newman was at this point well-attuned, but scale as well. When Newman began to etch, he was simultaneously working in his studio on his largest painting, Anna’s Light (1968), an immense twenty-foot-long field of fierce, high-wattage red. The painting was a memorial to the artist’s mother, who had passed away in 1965. Newman’s etchings were a stark counterpoint to this; his method of working through oppositions in his practice—which he developed as an “antidote” to avoid becoming “intoxicated with scale”—here reached its apotheosis, with the artist concurrently working on his largest work and his smallest, these etchings. He worked on the small plates at home, in a process akin to drawing: intimate, exploratory, provisional. In many ways, this was not distinct from his approach to painting, which he explained in a 1965 interview: “I have never worked from sketches, never planned a painting, never ‘thought out’ a painting. I start each painting as if I had never painted before.” [6] What is significant in this portfolio, however, is that, unlike in his paintings, Newman’s process remains not only observable, but its display as such motivates the work itself. In Anna’s Light, Newman—working first with a roller before turning to a brush and in acrylic rather than his typical oil—achieved a sleek finish that sought to avoid traces of the artist’s hand; in the Notes, Newman’s marks transparently reflect the physical act of scraping and etching the copper plate. As noted by Newman’s friend and frequent interlocutor, critic Thomas Hess, “it is evident from the first of his etchings that the issue he confronted in the Notes involved the nature and capabilities of the cutting tools.” [7]

Barnett Newman, Anna's Light, 1968. Acrylic on canvas, 108 x 240 inches. 

Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

Barnett Newman, Anna's Light, 1968. Acrylic on canvas, 108 x 240 inches. 

Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

As alluded to in their eventual title, Newman originally approached the Notes as preparatory work for Untitled Etching #1 before deciding to publish them, unedited, as a portfolio. Due to constant activity on a number of other projects, publication of the Notes portfolio was delayed. Steward eventually printed the small edition of seven in March 1970 for which Newman planned to write an introduction, as he had previously done for his 18 Cantos; the two projects share not only the same number of prints but also allusions to music, a passion of Newman’s throughout his life, in their titles. However, on July 4, 1970, the day he had planned to travel to the ULAE studio in West Islip to view the final proofs, Newman suffered a fatal heart attack. Ultimately, in 1978, ten years after Newman completed work on the plates, his widow Annalee Newman authorized the publication of the Notes portfolio. [8] Ordered in the sequence in which Newman worked on them, the prints allow the viewer to follow Newman’s material investigations as he himself experienced them. The process of their creation as well as the development of Newman’s own familiarity with the potentialities and limitations of etching both remain uniquely evident in their published state.

Barnett Newman, Note I, 1968. Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper, 5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate; 19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet. Edition of 7. Private Collection.

Barnett Newman, Note I, 1968. Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper, 5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate; 19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet. Edition of 7. Private Collection.

It is clear in Note I that Newman approached his plates not with a preordained end in mind, nor as an attempt to translate his work in painting to a graphic medium. Rather, the tripartite structure of the work demonstrates that Newman was led by his materials and his tools, new as they may be to him, in providing the logic and direction for his prints. Each of the three equal sections of Note I are devoted to the basic graphic element of etching, one that is absent from Newman’s mature paintings: the line. Newman’s “zips”—the vertical bands of contrasting color that structure and animate his paintings—are not lines, but thin “fields” of color, demonstrating that his play with scale occurs within his works as well as between them. Despite the absence of line from his paintings, it held theoretical importance for the artist. In his 1947 essay “The First Man Was an Artist,” line itself serves as an origin point, not merely for art or aesthetics, but, in Newman’s reading, for culture and society more generally: “Man’s hand traced the stick through the mud to make a line before he learned to throw the stick as a javelin.” [9] Note I appears to demonstrate a kind of evolution from this point: the leftmost section features short, casual, vertical strokes; the center is filled with diagonal crosshatches that retain a certain looseness; at the right, the lines have snapped into a more formal, more tightly patterned grid. If a zip is for Newman “a field that brings life to the other fields, just as the other fields bring life to this so-called line,” these linear variations accomplish a similar feat, presenting compositional possibilities and alternatives within a single structure.

Employing the same vertical format and triadic structure, Notes II-VII extend Newman’s intuitive inventory of graphic marks. Note II surrounds the central crosshatching of Note I with blank spaces on either side; Note III is looser and sketchier, with a central column of small, looping circular forms flanked on the right by hatches that are now arcing and gestural. Combinations and recombinations of these elements recur from one print to the next, not through a predetermined logic or systematic structure (methods that had quickly become common at the time among younger artists) but rather through the considered act of making itself, with Newman learning from each plate as he went. As characterized by Karoline Schliemann, “The first seven sheets, with their awkward circles, commas, and initially very crooked lines are most reminiscent of a beginner’s exercise … Newman seemed to be sounding out the limits of his mastery of the technique and investigating its effects.” [10]

The freedom and spontaneity Newman found in this kind of improvisatory mark-making had significant analogues in his thinking. Despite the non-objectivity of his works, Newman rejected outright any pretense of “formalism” that detached art from moral and political concerns, referring to artists who sought to do so as mere “decorators.” [11] He was instead an “artist-citizen,” establishing a continuity between his political commitments and his art, which he declared was an “assertion of freedom.” [12] An avowed anarchist, during the same year in which he etched and published his Notes Newman wrote the foreword for a new edition of the memoirs of the Russian anarchist Prince Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) in which he directly linked the process of working “without planning, without making sketches upon sketches from which one renders a finished product” to “the anarchist idea of social spontaneity” and the “direct formation of social communities.” [13] For Newman, the grand idea of “the end of all state capitalism and totalitarianism” could be found in the scraping and etching of a small copper plate. In Hess’s words, for Newman “the more metaphysical the vision is…the more important becomes a continuing dialectical relationship with the material, the physical, the real, in the world of the here and now.” [14]

Barnett Newman, Note VIII (State II), 1968. Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper, 2 15/16 x 5 15/16 inches, Plate; 14 x 19 7/8 inches, Sheet. Edition of 7. Private Collection.

Barnett Newman, Note VIII (State II), 1968. Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper, 2 15/16 x 5 15/16 inches, Plate; 14 x 19 7/8 inches, Sheet. Edition of 7. Private Collection.

A sharp compositional distinction exists between the first seven prints of the portfolio and the subsequent eleven, which reflects a break in Newman’s process: the artist began working on the portfolio with the six original plates and only received the second set of six when he received his first proofs for Notes I-VI. After reviewing the proofs, Newman executed Note VII as a kind of capstone of the first six; it is in Note VIII that the clear break occurs. The linear exercises of the first seven prints have been replaced here with a more controlled composition. The horizontal space of the image—Note VIII is the only horizontal print in the portfolio—is divided into three unequal sections by two contrasting black zips: on the left, a thick black band and, on the right, a single, thin line. Note VIII and the following prints much more closely resemble Newman’s paintings, and it is in this shift in emphasis that Newman began to incorporate aquatint in order to achieve evenly inked “fields” analogous to those in his paintings. Newman’s emphasis on process here becomes even more visible to the viewer, as he chose to include the various states of these plates as equal components of the overall portfolio. In the case of Note VIII, the handworked scratchiness of the leftmost zip in the first state is, with the addition of aquatint, evened out into a richer, smoother black in State II. More dramatic transformations take place in the subsequent plates: in Notes IX-XII, the high-contrast black-and-white compositions of the initial states become monochromatic tonal studies of black on black.

Barnett Newman, Shining Forth (To George), 1961.

Oil on exposed canvas, 114 x 174 inches.

Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Barnett Newman, Shining Forth (To George), 1961.

Oil on exposed canvas, 114 x 174 inches.

Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Note VIII, in particular, remains pivotal to Newman’s artistic project as a whole. The elegance of its spare composition and the clarity of its restricted palette of black ink on white paper recalls Newman’s 1961 painting Shining Forth (To George) while at the same time anticipating Untitled Etching #1. The later etching and the earlier painting are closely linked not only in their design—which, unlike Note VIII, introduces a strong, central zip flanked near either edge by thinner zips—but also in their commemorative purpose. Untitled Etching #1, as discussed above, was originally intended as a memorial to the life of Martin Luther King, while Shining Forth (To George) was created as an homage to the artist’s brother, who passed away in February 1961. Newman sank into a depression following this loss, unable to paint for months. It was Newman’s first foray into printmaking that allowed him to overcome this block; encouraged by his friend and fellow artist Cleve Gray, Newman accompanied Gray to the Pratt Graphic Art Center, where the latter was working on a series of lithographs. Newman, who, at age 51, had never attempted printmaking of any kind, “began immediately to get interested.” [15] He soon thereafter produced three untitled lithographs at Pratt, after which he was able to return to painting, completing Shining Forth later that year. [16]

In concert with Untitled Etching #1, Newman produced his final print, Untitled Etching #2 (1969). His largest etching, this work returns to the trisected vertical format of the majority of the Notes, replacing the productive provisonality of the earlier etchings with a sense of physical authority and command. This change is signaled most clearly in its symmetry, which surrounds the central black section with equal fields of white; Notes IX-XII, in contrast, toyed with the perception of symmetry, generating dynamism through near or apparent compositional balance. At the time of his death, Newman was working on a black-on-black version of Untitled Etching #2 that would have furthered the parallels between the Notes and his final etchings.

Barnett Newman, Untitled Etching #2, 1969.

Etching and aquatint, 23 3/8 x 14 5/8 inches, Plate; 

31 3/4 x 22 7/16 inches, Sheet.

Edition of 27. Private Collection.

Barnett Newman, Untitled Etching #2, 1969.

Etching and aquatint, 23 3/8 x 14 5/8 inches, Plate; 

31 3/4 x 22 7/16 inches, Sheet.

Edition of 27. Private Collection.

By the time of his death, Newman’s influence as an artist, critic, and theoretician on younger artists like Marden, Jasper Johns, and Donald Judd was readily apparent; Frank Stella recalled at the time that his generation had thought of Newman as a “folk hero figure.” [17] These artists were impacted not only by the elder artist’s pioneering paintings, but also by his printmaking, despite his limited graphic output and the late stage of his career at which he began to work in the medium. Johns featured an image of one of Newman’s Pratt lithographs (which remains in his personal collection) in an important group of his paintings in 1983 and 1984, including Racing Thoughts (Whitney Museum of American Art) and Ventriloquist (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), as well as in a number of related drawings and prints. In the mid-1980s, Judd made plans to permanently display the complete oeuvre of Newman’s prints from his collection at his Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. [18]

In 1971, a year after Newman’s death, an extensive retrospective of the artist’s work was organized by Hess and presented at The Museum of Modern Art. Marden saw the exhibition—noting that it was “just beautiful” [19]—and its impact on Marden’s painting would soon become apparent, as his investigation into the primary colors in 1973 and 1974 responded in part to Newman’s own influential series of paintings “Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue” (1966-1970). [20] Marden’s admiration of Newman’s work extended to his graphic output as well, beginning the same year as the MoMA exhibition, when Marden attempted to purchase Newman’s Untitled Etching #1. It appears that the impact of Newman’s prints on Marden only continued to grow throughout his career: in 1996, Marden noted that “Of all the etchings in the world, [Newman’s Untitled Etching #2] has influenced me the most.” [21]

Marden’s Suicide Notes (1972-73) demonstrate many of the productive parallels between the two artists. The Suicide Notes are a group of ink drawings linked by an improvisatory lack of polish, a newfound emphasis on line freed from the structure of the grid, and their shared scale and materials—many were executed in sketchbooks, one of which is now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Their collective title stems from Marden’s inscription in that sketchbook, which reads: “These are … suicide notes,” with the space between roughly inked over, redacting whatever further words might have linked the phrases together. [22] Below, separated by two strips of masking tape, Marden continues: “I don’t know what my mind means!?” While the title has been linked to “the idea of notation—that thing that’s left behind, the explanation,” the works serve more as inquiries (note the question mark that ends the inscription) than clarifications. [23] Elsewhere, in a page filled with the artist’s notes, Marden wonders if the Suicide Notes constitute a “formal search for the romantic,” a phrase that applies as aptly to Marden’s practice as to Newman’s. [24]

Brice Marden, Suicide Notes, 1972-73. 

Sketchbook with twenty-eight ink drawings, 12 1/4 x 8 1/2 x 1/2 inches.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Brice Marden, Suicide Notes, 1972-73. 

Sketchbook with twenty-eight ink drawings, 12 1/4 x 8 1/2 x 1/2 inches.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

In these works, Marden’s lines are raw, wiry, irregular, informal; they remain girded within a variety of vertical rectangular structures but find a seemingly infinite variety of paths through them, moving with improvisatory freedom through webs and hatches. The drawings most often feature these vertical forms, sometimes on their own, or conjoined in bipartite or tripartite structures; some are fully enclosed by an external boundary while others are “open” at the bottom. The interiors of these forms are articulated by Marden in a variety of ways: some remain empty or blank, or crossed by only a small handful of lines; others become nearly opaque due to the artist’s dense markings. Shifts in the size of the images occur, with some drawings featuring only a few quickly jotted lines over a small area of the paper while others encompass nearly the full surface. Though the drawings are closely linked by their varied articulations of these rectangular forms, each composition appears to have been arrived at organically rather than planned out in advance, evincing in each the fresh start promised by the blank page. As in Newman’s Notes, there is in the Suicide Notes “an attempt … to get away from materials, back to the individual mark.” [25]

Brice Marden, Untitled, 1969. 

Graphite and wax on paper, 21 3/4 x 30 1/2 inches.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Brice Marden, Untitled, 1969. 

Graphite and wax on paper, 21 3/4 x 30 1/2 inches.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

When they first appeared, the Suicide Notes “seemed the antithesis to what [Marden] represented.” [26] Marden’s monochromatic paintings of the 1960s and early 70s were concerned primarily with the planar surface, which the artist built up over time through a unique mixture of paint, turpentine, and melted beeswax. Even more than Newman’s contemporaneous work, Marden’s paintings eschewed line and internal composition; as Marden stated in 1974, “As a painter, I believe in the indisputability of The Plane.” [27] Marden’s drawings from this period extended this preoccupation, often featuring graphite planes (again frequently mixed with beeswax) that the artist created over time through a dense and labor-intensive act of layering in order to produce a rich, sensitive surface. This concern drew on Marden’s experience as a student in Paris in the early 1960s, during which the walls of the city had been undergoing a dramatic cleaning and resurfacing project: “I would just spend an afternoon watching them work down these walls.” [28] As characterized by Roberta Smith, for Marden “drawing becomes increasingly a process of obliterating the mark to achieve an even physical surface.” [29]

Not all of Marden’s drawings from this period, however, were free of line: since his student days, Marden had also created a variety of grid drawings, both in charcoal and in graphite. Despite the presence of discrete linear elements in these works, the line is not freed from the plane, but rather is put in service of articulating it. Marden has noted that he introduced the grid to “have the surface be more taut” and “make it tighter”; elsewhere he stated that, “The grids come out of the shape of the paper or the shape they define.” [30] In the words of critic Saul Ostrow, the Suicide Notes are the works that “begin to announce the demise of the plane” within Marden’s practice. [31]

If Ostrow could declare the Suicide Notes as representing a “demise” within Marden’s work, Janie C. Lee has just as accurately noted that this series of drawings “are full of exploration and new beginnings.” [32] (In response, Marden noted that he started work on the series on New Year’s Day.) Newman’s etchings offer a model for this type of Janus-faced perspective; though originally commemorative in conception, they display the radical freedom that comes from beginning again. Later in his career, Marden spoke of his attempts to avoid the “silent creative death” that would be caused by continuing to make “Brice Marden paintings”: “You get to this point where you just have to make a decision to change things.” [33] In many ways, the Suicide Notes, as signaled by their title, was Marden’s first such attempt to consciously disrupt his own practice.  As Marden has stated elsewhere, “You aren’t making what you [already] know.” [34]

Brice Marden, Untitled, 1972-73.

Ink on paper, 11 5/8 x 7 3/8 inches.

Private Collection.

Brice Marden, Untitled, 1972-73.

Ink on paper, 11 5/8 x 7 3/8 inches.

Private Collection.

Despite the excision of any external referent from his paintings and drawings, Marden was deeply responsive to his surroundings. The cityscape of New York, where Marden relocated after his time in Paris, was particularly crucial to the development of his work, particularly the structure of his grid drawings: “Living in the city, it’s all verticals and horizontals. It’s all grids. You walk down the street and look at the ground and you pass, you know, how many horizontals.” [35] However, the city also suggested a way out from the grid, in the contingencies of the “cracks in the concrete”: “Each one of those is a different line. Each line is made by two shapes meeting. It’s all out there.” [36] These cracks no longer conform to the grid, disrupting its order through unpredictable paths. In the Suicide Notes, Marden introduces an element analogous to the concrete’s cracks that had been absent from his earlier plane and grid drawings: the diagonal. The Suicide Notes, like Newman’s etchings, place a distinct emphasis on the graphic potential of the diagonal, creating “powerfully stretched energy diagrams” as they crisscross the page, at times loose and meandering, at others dense to the point of eradicating line altogether. [37] If both Newman’s Notes and Marden’s Suicide Notes represent a search for the intersection of opposites—endings and new beginnings, the material and the immaterial—it is the diagonal that allows such a connection between opposing points. In the Notes, however, Newman employed the diagonal as a discrete unit pulled from a basic inventory of graphic marks; it exists as the record of the physical act of the burin or scraper moving across the copper plate. Marden’s diagonals, on the other hand, at times serve to further the “demise” of the surface plane, suggesting for the first time in his work the rudiments of perspective and spatial depth.

Brice Marden, Untitled (Black Stripe Marble), 1987.

Oil and graphite on marble, 14 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches.

Brice Marden, Untitled (Black Stripe Marble), 1987.

Oil and graphite on marble, 14 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches.

The apertures of these cracks were widened by Marden’s first visit to the Greek island of Hydra in 1971, to which he and his wife Helen would return annually. As described by Garrels, the impact of Hydra on Marden’s work is immediate: “colors intensify, surfaces become lusher.” [38] Originally working in Hydra without a studio, Marden turned to drawing as a more mobile, less cumbersome practice: several of the Suicide Notes bear inscriptions related to the island, including Hydra and Hydra Roof. [39] This approach was aided as well by his “discovery” of Montblanc fountain pens; as Marden noted, “They’re very good pens—it was like a blessing. They were very portable, which meant you could work with high quality pens anywhere, and you could take a notebook anywhere, so you always had your supplies with you to set up.” [40] The freedom of movement afforded by the portability of the medium as well as the fluidity of the ink line—a distinct shift away from the materiality of graphite and charcoal Marden had used in his drawings to this point—are both evident in the Suicide Notes themselves. The sinewy lines first found in the Suicide Notes anticipate significant developments in Marden’s practice, from his engagement with the branching veins of the marble fragments he encountered in Hydra and eventually employed as supports in his marble paintings to his calligraphic paintings of the late 1980s.

Rife with linear fractures, the forms of the Suicide Notes recall doors and windows rather than the walls of his earlier works, suggesting portals like those found in the post-and-lintel structures of classical Greek architecture. [41] Making their first substantive appearance in these drawings, the idea of thresholds like doors and windows would preoccupy Marden in the following decade. His ambitious multi-panel painting Thira (1979-80) takes its title from the Greek word for door; during the same period, he worked on a commissioned project to design stained glass windows for the Basel Cathedral. Though ultimately never realized, the project allowed Marden to work through a new set of formal problems relating to light and transparency and he returned to the diagonal: “When I was doing the windows … I started using diagonals … Suddenly there’s perspective, a completely different kind of space.” [42]      

Brice Marden, Thira, 1979-80. Oil and beeswax on canvas,

eighteen panels assembled in three parts, overall 96 x 180 inches.

Centre Pompidou, Paris. Musée national d'art moderne/Centre de création industrielle. 

Brice Marden, Thira, 1979-80. Oil and beeswax on canvas,

eighteen panels assembled in three parts, overall 96 x 180 inches.

Centre Pompidou, Paris. Musée national d'art moderne/Centre de création industrielle. 

Marden animates the frame-like forms of the Suicide Notes through the use of the diagonal to create a sense of irresolution in the drawings. The presence of the plane is no longer “indisputable” but neither is it discarded. Rather, the plane exists in tension with the image, with neither taking precedence: the line is at once present on the surface of the paper and receding into it. The conjoining of these opposing terms into a single phrase—“plane image”—has been a recurring motif in Marden’s practice, serving at various times as the name for his studio and archives, as well as the title of his 2006 MoMA retrospective. Without discounting the significance of Marden’s achievements in his early monochrome paintings and grid drawings, it is through the emancipation of the “individual mark” in the Suicide Notes that the plane and image first achieved their precarious equilibrium.

One way in which Marden’s semblance of depth remains so productively tenuous is that, if his rectangular forms suggest windows or doors, it remains unclear which should be read as open and which as closed. Those that are heavily inked may be read as a shadowy interior, but the opacity of the ink keeps the eye aware of its presence on the surface of the paper. Similarly, the “blank” surfaces demarcated but not disrupted with lines or hatchings could indicate an openness beyond the drawn frame, but also reveal the blunt facticity of the paper itself. These alternate readings flicker in and out of focus, generating a dynamic uncertainty in the drawings that relates back to Newman’s Untitled Etching #2—the etching which “has influenced” Marden the most—and its clearest precursor among the Notes, Note XI. Both of these works feature a central black field flanked by areas of white; Untitled Etching #2 achieves a rigid symmetry, while Note XI is looser, more clearly handworked, with the black strip positioned slightly to the right. In these works, Newman achieves similar effect as Marden though without the representational associations: at times the black appears assertive, almost projecting out from the image, at others it seems a passage into Newman’s “beyond.” State II of Note XI achieves a similar effect through the subtle opticality of Newman’s black-on-black composition. [43] The accomplishment of this effect through contrary means—the stark opposition of black and white, and the near uniformity of shades of black—illustrates another of Newman’s dichotomies, that of separation and interconnection. In 1965, Newman stated that he hoped his work “has the impact of giving someone, as it did me, the feeling of his own totality, of his own separateness, of his own individuality, and at the same time of his connection to others, who are also separate.” [44] Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe identified a kindred belief at the core of Marden’s work, from the joinings of his multi-panel paintings to the post-and-lintel “windows” of the Suicide Notes: these discrete units “are united in our perception through their physical separation, they connect through being distinct.” [45] It is thus, for both Marden and Newman, that the line and the field, the formal and the romantic, the physical and metaphysical, can be linked, for, in Marden’s words, “The rectangle, the plane, the structure, the picture are but sounding boards for a spirit.” [46]

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Barnett Newman, Note I, 1968

Barnett Newman

Note I, 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note II, 1968

Barnett Newman

Note II, 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note III, 1968

Barnett Newman

Note III, 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note IV, 1968

Barnett Newman

Note IV, 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note V, 1968

Barnett Newman

Note V, 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note VI, 1968

Barnett Newman

Note VI, 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note VII, 1968

Barnett Newman

Note VII, 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note VIII (State I), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note VIII (State I), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

2 15/16 x 5 15/16 inches, Plate

14 x 19 7/8 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note VIII (State II), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note VIII (State II), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

2 15/16 x 5 15/16 inches, Plate

14 x 19 7/8 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note IX (State I), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note IX (State I), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note IX (State II), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note IX (State II), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note IX (State III), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note IX (State III), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note X (State I), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note X (State I), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note X (State II), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note X (State II), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note XI (State I), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note XI (State I), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note XI (State II), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note XI (State II), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note XII (State I), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note XII (State I), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note XII (State II), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note XII (State II), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Treble, 1960

Barnett Newman

Treble, 1960

Oil on exposed canvas

20 1/4 x 6 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Inquire
Brice Marden Untitled, 1973-1974

Brice Marden
Untitled, 1973-1974
Ink on paper
13 3/4 x 16 3/4 inches

Private Collection 

Inquire
Brice Marden Masking Drawing 4 (Red Drawing #4), 1984

Brice Marden
Masking Drawing 4 (Red Drawing #4), 1984
Oil, ink, gouache, and pencil on Rives BFK paper

14 3/4 x 12 5/8 inches
Private Collection

Inquire
Brice Marden, Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Brice Marden

Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Ink on paper

11 5/8 x 7 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Inquire
Brice Marden, Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Brice Marden

Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Ink on paper

11 5/8 x 7 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Inquire
Brice Marden, Untitled (Suicide Note), 1972

Brice Marden

Untitled (Suicide Note), 1972

Ink on paper

11 1/2 x 7 5/8 inches

Private Collection

Inquire
Brice Marden, Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Brice Marden

Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Ink on paper

11 5/8 x 7 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Inquire
Brice Marden, Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Brice Marden

Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Ink on paper

11 5/8 x 7 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Inquire
Brice Marden, Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Brice Marden

Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Ink on paper

11 5/8 x 7 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Inquire
Brice Marden, Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Brice Marden

Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Ink on paper

11 5/8 x 7 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Inquire
Brice Marden, Untitled (Suicide Note), 1972

Brice Marden

Untitled (Suicide Note), 1972

Ink on paper

11 1/2 x 7 5/8 inches

 Private Collection

Inquire
Brice Marden, Suicide Note, 1972-73

Brice Marden

Suicide Note, 1972-73

Ink on paper

11 1/2 x 7 5/8 inches

Private Collection

Inquire
Brice Marden, Suicide Note, 1972

Brice Marden

Suicide Note, 1972

Ink on paper

11 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Inquire
Brice Marden, Untitled, 1972-73

Brice Marden

Untitled, 1972-73

Ink on paper

11 5/8 x 7 3/8 inches

Private Collection

Inquire
Brice Marden , Untitled (Suicide Note), 1972-73 

Brice Marden 

Untitled (Suicide Note), 1972-73 

Ink on paper 

11 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches 

Private Collection

Inquire
Brice Marden, Suicide Note, 1972-73

Brice Marden

Suicide Note, 1972-73

Ink on paper

11 1/2 x 7 5/8 inches

Private Collection

Inquire
Barnett Newman, Note I, 1968

Barnett Newman

Note I, 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note II, 1968

Barnett Newman

Note II, 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note III, 1968

Barnett Newman

Note III, 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note IV, 1968

Barnett Newman

Note IV, 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note V, 1968

Barnett Newman

Note V, 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note VI, 1968

Barnett Newman

Note VI, 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note VII, 1968

Barnett Newman

Note VII, 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note VIII (State I), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note VIII (State I), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

2 15/16 x 5 15/16 inches, Plate

14 x 19 7/8 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note VIII (State II), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note VIII (State II), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

2 15/16 x 5 15/16 inches, Plate

14 x 19 7/8 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note IX (State I), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note IX (State I), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note IX (State II), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note IX (State II), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note IX (State III), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note IX (State III), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note X (State I), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note X (State I), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note X (State II), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note X (State II), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note XI (State I), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note XI (State I), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note XI (State II), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note XI (State II), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note XII (State I), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note XII (State I), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Note XII (State II), 1968

Barnett Newman

Note XII (State II), 1968

Etching, printed in black on Italia white wove paper

5 15/16 x 2 15/16 inches, Plate

19 7/8 x 14 inches, Sheet

Edition of 7

Private Collection

Barnett Newman, Treble, 1960

Barnett Newman

Treble, 1960

Oil on exposed canvas

20 1/4 x 6 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Brice Marden Untitled, 1973-1974

Brice Marden
Untitled, 1973-1974
Ink on paper
13 3/4 x 16 3/4 inches

Private Collection 

Brice Marden Masking Drawing 4 (Red Drawing #4), 1984

Brice Marden
Masking Drawing 4 (Red Drawing #4), 1984
Oil, ink, gouache, and pencil on Rives BFK paper

14 3/4 x 12 5/8 inches
Private Collection

Brice Marden, Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Brice Marden

Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Ink on paper

11 5/8 x 7 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Brice Marden, Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Brice Marden

Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Ink on paper

11 5/8 x 7 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Brice Marden, Untitled (Suicide Note), 1972

Brice Marden

Untitled (Suicide Note), 1972

Ink on paper

11 1/2 x 7 5/8 inches

Private Collection

Brice Marden, Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Brice Marden

Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Ink on paper

11 5/8 x 7 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Brice Marden, Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Brice Marden

Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Ink on paper

11 5/8 x 7 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Brice Marden, Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Brice Marden

Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Ink on paper

11 5/8 x 7 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Brice Marden, Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Brice Marden

Untitled, 1973 [from the set of twenty drawings]

Ink on paper

11 5/8 x 7 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Brice Marden, Untitled (Suicide Note), 1972

Brice Marden

Untitled (Suicide Note), 1972

Ink on paper

11 1/2 x 7 5/8 inches

 Private Collection

Brice Marden, Suicide Note, 1972-73

Brice Marden

Suicide Note, 1972-73

Ink on paper

11 1/2 x 7 5/8 inches

Private Collection

Brice Marden, Suicide Note, 1972

Brice Marden

Suicide Note, 1972

Ink on paper

11 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches

Private Collection

Brice Marden, Untitled, 1972-73

Brice Marden

Untitled, 1972-73

Ink on paper

11 5/8 x 7 3/8 inches

Private Collection

Brice Marden , Untitled (Suicide Note), 1972-73 

Brice Marden 

Untitled (Suicide Note), 1972-73 

Ink on paper 

11 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches 

Private Collection

Brice Marden, Suicide Note, 1972-73

Brice Marden

Suicide Note, 1972-73

Ink on paper

11 1/2 x 7 5/8 inches

Private Collection

Additional Captions:

1. Brice Marden, Untitled (Suicide Note) (detail), 1972-73. Ink on paper, 11 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches. Private Collection. 

2. Installation view, Newman: Notes — Marden: Suicide Notes, Craig F. Starr Gallery, March 3 - April 16, 2022. 

3. Installation view, Newman: Notes — Marden: Suicide Notes, Craig F. Starr Gallery, March 3 - April 16, 2022. 

Notes:

[1] Barnett Newman quoted in Richard Shiff, “To Create Oneself,” in Barnett Newman: A Catalogue Raisonné (New York and New Haven: The Barnett Newman Foundation and Yale University Press, 2004), p. 3.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Brice Marden, quoted in Pat Steir, “Brice Marden: An Interview,” in Brice Marden: Recent Drawings and Etchings (New York: Matthew Marks Gallery, 1991), n.p.

[4] Richard Shiff, “Introduction,” in Barnett Newman, Selected Writings and Interviews (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990), p. xv.

[5] Newman later withdrew from the project when it changed to poster reproductions rather than original works of art. Ann Temkin, ed., Barnett Newman (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2002), p. 296.

[6] Barnett Newman, “‘Frontiers of Space’ Interview with Dorothy Gees Seckler,” in Selected Writings and Interviews, p. 248.

[7] Thomas Hess quoted in Gabriele Schor, The Prints of Barnett Newman 1961-69 (Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany: Verlag Gerd Hatje, 1996), p. 28.

[8] The seven complete editions of the Notes are held by the following collections: the Museum of Modern Art, Harvard University, the Art Institute of Chicago, the collection of Jasper Johns, the Donald Judd / Chinati Foundation, the Kunstmuseum Basel, and a private collection.

[9] Barnett Newman, “The First Man Was an Artist (1947),” in Selected Writings and Interviews, p. 159.

[10] Karoline Schliemann, “Barnett Newman’s Prints,” in Barnett Newman: Drawings and Prints (Bielefeld, Germany: Kerber Verlag, 2015), p. 55.

[11] Barnett Newman quoted in Richard Shiff, “Introduction,” in Selected Writings and Interviews, p. xv.

[12] Barnett Newman, “Frontiers of Space,” in ibid., p. 251.

[13] Barnett Newman, “‘The True Revolution Is Anarchist!’: Foreword to Memoirs of a Revolutionist by Peter Kropotkin,” in ibid., p. 51.

[14] Quoted in Schor, The Prints of Barnett Newman, p. 28.

[15] Cleve Gray quoted in ibid., p. 7.

[16] These three untitled prints are catalogue numbers 202, 203, and 204 in Barnett Newman: A Catalogue Raisonné (New York and New Haven: The Barnett Newman Foundation and Yale University Press, 2004), pp. 454-56.

[17] Frank Stella quoted in Richard Shiff, “Whiteout: The Not-Influence Newman Effect,” in Barnett Newman (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2002), p. 90.

[18] “Later it was planned that the complete prints of Barnett Newman would be permanently shown”; Donald Judd, “Marfa, Texas” (1985), in Donald Judd Writings, p. 429. “Later the possibility arose, thanks to Annalee Newman, of installing the complete prints of Barnett Newman, which will eventually be accomplished by my foundation”; Donald Judd, “Statement for the Chinati Foundation/La Fundación Chinati” (1987), in Donald Judd Writings, p. 489. https://juddfoundation.org/index-of-works/note-ii-from-notes-1968/

[19] Oral history interview with Brice Marden, 1972 Oct. 3. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution:

 https://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-brice-marden-11908#transcript.

[20] Gary Garrels, “Beholding Light and Experience: The Art of Brice Marden,” in Plane Image: A Brice Marden Retrospective (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2006), p. 19.

[21] Jeremy Lewison, Brice Marden: Prints 1961-1991 (London: Tate Gallery, 1992), p. 29; Brice Marden quoted in Gabriele Schor, The Prints of Barnett Newman, p. 34.

[22] This page on which this inscription appears serves as the cover image for an artist’s book devoted to the Suicide Notes, which was published in 1974. Brice Marden, Suicide Notes (Lausanne: Editions des Massons, 1974).

[23] Saul Ostrow, “Brice Marden,” in Bomb, no. 22 (January 1, 1988). https://bombmagazine.org/articles/brice-marden/

[24] Marden, Suicide Notes, p. 40.

[25] Roberta Smith, “Brice Marden,” in Artforum (January 1975).

[26] Ostrow, “Brice Marden.”

[27] Brice Marden quoted in Jennifer Licht, Eight Contemporary Artists (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1974), p. 45.

[28] Marden quoted in Garrels, “Beholding Light and Experience,” p. 19.

[29] Smith, “Brice Marden.”

[30] Janie C. Lee, “Interview with Brice Marden,” in Brice Marden Drawings: The Whitney Museum of American Art Collection (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1998), p. 13; Marden quoted in Ostrow, “Brice Marden.”

[31] Ostrow, “Brice Marden.”

[32] Lee, “Interview with Brice Marden,” p. 14.

[33] Brice Marden quoted in Robert Mahoney, “Brice Marden,” in Flash Art International, no. 155 (November-December 1990).

[34] Brice Marden quoted in Richard Shiff, “Force of Myself Looking,” in Plane Image: A Brice Marden Retrospective (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2006), p. 40.

[35] Brice Marden quoted in Garrels, “Beholding Light and Experience,” p. 18. Marden also noted the quality of the light, something that had captured Newman’s interest as well: “It’s a really beautiful light in New York, which is very important for painters. Newman used to say that Matisse had to come to New York in order to discover what light was about.” 

[36] Ibid.

[37] Herman Kern, “Brice Marden: Painter and Graphic Artist,” in Brice Marden: Drawings 1964-1978 (Munich: Kunstraum München, 1978), p. 9.

[38] Garrels, “Beholding Light and Experience,” p. 19.

[39] See Marden, Suicide Notes, pp. 65, 67, and 68.

[40] Lee, “Interview with Brice Marden,” p. 15.

[41] The parallel is noted directly in one of the Suicide Note drawings, which Marden inscribed at the bottom Window for Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina. The reference is to Godard’s 1965 film Alphaville in which Karina starred; Marden featured a still from the film in the announcement card for a 1972 exhibition of his work. Marden stated that he “always used” such announcement cards as “a key, a code” to his works. Ostrow, “Brice Marden.”

[42] Brice Marden quoted in John Yau, “An interview with Brice Marden,” in Brice Marden (Zurich: Daros Services, and Zurich, Berlin, and New York: Scalo, 2003), pp. 51, 54.

[43] Newman had planned to execute a corresponding second state of Untitled Etching #2 at the time of his death.

[44] Barnett Newman, “Interview with David Sylvester,” in Selected Writings and Interviews, p. 257.

[45] Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, “Brice Marden’s Painting,” in Artforum (October 1974).

[46] Brice Marden, “Statements, Notes & Interviews (1963-1981)’’ in Brice Marden: Paintings. Drawings and Prints (London: Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1981), p. 54.