Barnett Newman (January 29 1905 - July 4 1970) was an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field / hard-edge painters.
The title 'Who's afraid of Red, Green and Blue' refers to the 1950's series 'Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue' from the American artist Barnett Newman, one of the major figures of the 'colour field painters'. He used large, hard edged areas of saturated colours punctuated by narrow coloured vertical bands. This vocabulary reduces painting to its very elements such as colours and proportions, a painting in its most pure state, freed of any figurative aspects. Moreover, Newman's works were searching for a symbolic expression in abstract art, rather than an auto-referential language of its constituting elements.
Contrary to a first rather polemic understanding, the title establishes a rhetoric question confronting the meaning and means of painting, as it directly questions the relationship in between the painting (object) and the viewer (subject).