The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection, comprising sixty-three modern paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by fifty artists, was given to the Metropolitan Museum in 2006. Its addition to the Museum's permanent collection greatly augments the Metropolitan's holdings of modern art, particularly works by the Abstract Expressionists.
The Newman collection includes the only extant grouping of Abstract Expressionist works collected at the time of their creation. Among the outstanding works in that genre are four pieces by Arshile Gorky; Franz Kline's first painting in his mature style, Nijinsky of 1950; Attic of 1949, a Willem de Kooning masterpiece; Number 28, 1950, a major example of Jackson Pollock's revolutionary work; and an early signature painting by Clyfford Still. In addition, the collection includes works by other well-known American artists as Joseph Cornell, Arthur Dove, Anne Ryan, the abstract painters Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland, and the Pop artist Claes Oldenburg. A number of fine examples of earlier twentieth-century European modernism include paintings by Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, and Juan Miró a mixed media collage by Kurt Schwitters, and a 1930 relief by Jean Arp.
This publication opens with an interview by Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Curator in Charge of the Metropolitan Museum's Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art, with Muriel Kallis Newman, in which he captures her intelligence, commitment, and charm. Comprehensive entries on all sixty-three pieces in the collection follow. Each work of art is reproduced in a color illustration, and the entries have been written by prominent art historians who are experts in their fields. Forty-five additional illustrations further enhance the texts.
The Abstract Expressionist paintings that form the heart of this remarkable collection were nearly all created in New York City. The Museum's director, Philippe de Montebello, states in his Foreword: "Her [Muriel Kallis Newman's] intelligence and her unwavering enthusiasm sparked a deep awareness and a dedicated involvement with the art and artists of her generation. Mrs. Newman in a Chicagoan, but she has always loved New York, a city she has visited often ... Mrs. Newman's gift represents a New York homecoming for a group of remarkable works of art by many outstanding New York artists of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s."