Barnett Newman The Wild 1950

  • Not on view

Although it is just one-and-a-half inches wide, The Wild is the same height as the artist’s vast painting Vir Heroicus Sublimis. Here Newman isolated the “zip” from the larger compositional structure, making it entirely self-sufficient and giving it a sculptural presence on the wall.

Gallery label from Abstract Expressionist New York, October 3, 2010-April 25, 2011.
Additional text

An oddly shaped painting, The Wild is seven feet tall by a mere one-and-a-half inches wide (243 x 4.1 cm). Its orange coloring is, in fact, a fat zip painted onto the dark ground of the canvas, filling almost its entire surface. Because this work is so narrow and tall, it reads as a bright orange zip that not only shares the viewer’s space but also floats freely there, against the open expanse of the wall. Encountering the work, viewers are encouraged to look both at and past it. Its overall solidity and unusual shape cause it to appear as a freestanding, sculptural zip and emphasize the physical context of the wall—qualities that would influence the subsequent generation of Minimalist artists.

Additional text from In The Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting online course, Coursera, 2017
Oil on canvas
7' 11 3/4" x 1 5/8" (243 x 4.1 cm)
Gift of The Kulicke Family
Object number
© 2023 Barnett Newman Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Painting and Sculpture

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].