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Roy Newell, 92, noted abstract painter

NEW YORK -- Painter Roy Newell, one of the original American abstract expressionists and a favorite of artist Willem de Kooning, died of cancer last month in Manhattan, his wife said. He was 92.

Mr. Newell, a Manhattan native, was renowned as a perfectionist who would spend decades creating a single painting. His layered approach to making irregular geometric-pattern paintings would sometimes result in a canvas covered with paint an inch thick.

He met de Kooning at the New York Public Library in the 1940s, and the two became friendly. They were both among the founders of the Eighth Street Artists' Club, which featured such other famous painters as Arshile Gorky, Franz Kline, and Phillip Pavia.

But he was a deliberate worker who rarely displayed his paintings. In a career of almost 70 years, he created fewer than 100 paintings.

His wife, Anne Cohen, was a schoolteacher who supported Mr. Newell's career. The son of Eastern European immigrants, Mr. Newell was a self-taught artist who drew much of his work from the paintings of Cezanne, Kasimir Malevich, and the Nabis painters.

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