Dan Flavin - 20th C. & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Wednesday, November 13, 2019 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2000

  • Exhibited

    Munich, Galerie Heiner Friedrich, three near-square cornered installations from Dan Flavin, November 3 - 31, 1970 (another example exhibited)
    New York, Leo Castelli Gallery, In Three Dimensions, September 21 - October 12, 1974 (another example exhibited)
    Austin, Laguna Gloria Art Museum, drawn along the shores, 1959-1976 by Dan Flavin, November 17, 1979 - January 13, 1980 (another example exhibited)
    Los Angeles, Margo Leavin Gallery, Dan Flavin: spanning corners, June 14 - July 19, 1984 (another example exhibited)
    New York, Sean Kelly Gallery, Remarks on Color, June 1 - July 26, 2002 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    Lazlo Glozer, "Quadrat im Lichthof", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, November 21, 1970, p. 9 (another example mentioned)
    "Der Galerie-Verein", Süddeutsche Zeitung, January 10, 1979, p. 29 (another example illustrated with incorrect orientation)
    Corrina Thierolf, Amerikanische Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts in der Pinakothek der Moderne, Ostfildern-Ruit, 2002, p. 131 and back cover (another example illustrated)
    Michael Govan and Tiffany Bell, Dan Flavin: The Complete Lights 1961-1996, New York, 2004, no. 229, p. 285 (another example illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Few artists have defined a particular medium as Dan Flavin, whose pioneering work from the early 1960s until his death in 1996 almost entirely consisted of light in the form of commercially available fluorescent tubes. untitled (to Bob and Pat Rohm), 1969-1970, is an important early work that perfectly encapsulates Flavin’s groundbreaking innovations. Dedicated to Flavin’s friends Bob Rohm, an artist, and his wife Pat Rohm, the present work is the sister work to the 8-foot version that Flavin created the year prior. It is testimony to the significance of the series that Flavin gifted an edition of the first example to his close friend and fellow artist Donald Judd. More housable than the first iteration, the present work consists of a 4-foot window-like structure that hovers mid-air within a corner – drawing the viewer into a suffused space of pure light and color. While Flavin conceived of this work in an edition of five, only three were fabricated, with one edition notably residing in the collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

    untitled (to Bob and Pat Rohm) was created six years after Flavin achieved his artistic breakthrough of employing the industrial readymade to create installations of light and color, or “situations,” as he preferred to call them. Striving to strip art from its reliance on illusionism, allegory, and narrative, and reduce it to its most essential form, Flavin conceived of the groundbreaking idea to make sculptures incorporating electric light in 1960. Within the course of just three years, he gave form to this idea by initially juxtaposing light onto monochromatic canvas and then radically removing the canvas altogether with his seminal May 25, 1963 (to Constantin Brancusi). Despite Flavin's deep awareness of the historical and religious symbolism of light in art and his often personal dedication of his untitled works, he resolutely re-fused to attach any symbolic or narrative significance to his work. In this he was importantly joined by his close friend Donald Judd, with whom Flavin became known as one of the progenitors of “Minimal Art”, the term coined by Richard Wollheim in 1965 to describe this new tendency, though Flavin and his colleagues opposed this label.

    untitled (to Bob and Pat Rohm) epitomizes Flavin’s favored construction for what he called the “near squares placed across a corner” (Dan Flavin, quoted in Michael Govan and Tiffany Bell, Dan Flavin: The Complete Lights 1961-1996, New York, 2004, p. 255). It has two yellow and green vertical 4-foot lamps on each side that face into the corner, and two horizontal red 4-foot lamps facing out. In doing so, Flavin has effectively created a frame-like structure with a sly nod to the discourse regarding the pictorial space inside a frame, and the real space of Minimalist sculpture. Drawing the viewer in with its suffused fluorescent glow that shimmers in red, green and yellow, untitled (to Bob and Pat Rohm) beautifully epitomizes Flavin’s pioneering phenomenological investigation of color and light that would forever alter the course of art making.

  • Artist Biography

    Dan Flavin

    American • 1933 - 1996

    Dan Flavin employed commercially-sold fluorescent light tubes in order to produce what he liked to call "situations" or installations. His minimalist approach transcended simplicity through his use of neon colors and thoughtful compositions. With straight-edged light beams, Flavin would often create dynamic arrangements reminiscent of Fred Sandback's work with yarn.

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Property from a Distinguished Private Collector


untitled (to Bob and Pat Rohm)

red, yellow and green fluorescent light
48 x 48 x 4 in. (122 x 122 x 10.2 cm.)
Executed in 1969-1970, this work is number 3 from an edition of 5, of which only 3 were fabricated, and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $275,000

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th C. & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 13 November 2019