Arts / Sculpture gifted to galley to honour retiring director

Barnett Newman’s, “Broken obelisk”, 1963-67-2005, weathering steel. Supplied by The Barnett Newman Foundation.

A MONUMENTAL sculpture loaned to the National Gallery of Australia earlier this year by the Barnett Newman Foundation, has now been gifted to the gallery in honour of the director of the institution, Gerard Vaughan, who retires this Sunday.

According to executive director of the Barnett Newman Foundation, Heidi Colsman-Freyberger, the gift honours Dr Vaughan’s “commitment to the study of art and to museum leadership”.

“Broken Obelisk” exists in four manifestations, at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, at the University of Washington in Seattle, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and now at the National Gallery of Australia.

Placed at the front entrance, the technical work features an inverted obelisk with a broken shaft balancing on a pyramid.

Barnett Newman was a prominent figure in Abstract Expressionism and “Broken Obelisk” is considered the signature piece among his sculptures.

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