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The painting is a testimony of the inconceivable Abstract Expressionism and the Shoah (Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Frank Stella)

Przegląd Nauk Historycznych. 2017;16(1) DOI 10.18778/1644-857X.16.01.07


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Przegląd Nauk Historycznych

ISSN: 1644-857X (Print); 2450-7660 (Online)

Publisher: Lodz University Press

Society/Institution:  Instytut Historii Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego

LCC Subject Category: History (General) and history of Europe: History of Poland | History (General) and history of Europe: History (General)

Country of publisher: Poland

Language of fulltext: Polish, English

Full-text formats available: PDF



Eleonora Jedlińska (Uniwersytet Łódzki, Wydział Filozoficzno-Historyczny, Katedra Historii Sztuki)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 19 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The history of Europe of 1933–1945 was very important and had a significant influence on painting of American artists of American abstractionism. This term – American abstractionism or New York abstractionism, although inexact and somewhat confused, currently is a constant term in the terminology of history of art. Taking this kind of art into consideration from the time between 1933 and 1945, recalling the special titles of art works and the context when they were created: Mark Rhotko’s numbered, gray, brown and black murals which he painted for Manhattans Seagram Building in the fifties or his black and brown pictures for Huston Chapel in Texas form the seventies as well as Barnet Newmen’s fourteen canvas titles The Stations of the Cross: Lema Sabachthani and Frank Stella’s minimalist canvas titles Arbeit macht frei (1958), The Polish Village Series and the cycle of twenty four paintings which he created in his adolescence time, considering their comments and biography we have to understand this art as the historical art. These three artists of American expressionism – Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Frank Stella, whom this article is devoted to – refer in some pictures to the catastrophe of Shoah. They give evidence of this cruel time by the image, ostensibly without formal coincidence, they attempt to express unimaginable. They want, to some extent, to force us to imagine what the hell of Shoah was like.