Dan Flavin - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 4, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Marisa Del Re Gallery, New York
    Private Collection, London
    Christie's, New York, 11 November 2004, lot 335
    Private Collection
    Sotheby's, New York, 12 November 2014, lot 510
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Paris, Galerie Nikki Diana Marquardt, Dan Flavin: Hommage à Leo Castelli, 1957-1987, May - June 1987 (another example exhibited)
    Musée d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, Collection Panza: Dan Flavin, June - September 1989 (another example exhibited)
    Cologne, Galerie Tanit, Dan Flavin: eine Auswahl neuerer Arbeiten, November 1989 - January 1990 (another example exhibited)
    Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Un Choix d'art minimal dans la collection Panza, July - November 1990, pp. 48-49, illustrated in colour (another example exhibited)
    New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Dan Flavin, September 1995 - January 1996 (another example exhibited)
    Osaka, Gallery Yamagucki, Untitled (to Don Judd, colorist), October - November 1996 (another example exhibited)
    North Adams, Museum of Contemporary Art, Test Site, May 1999 - April 2000 (another example exhibited)
    London, Serpentine Gallery, Dan Flavin, August - September 2001, pp. 16-17, illustrated in colour (another example exhibited)
    New York, Home Alone 2 Gallery, Jimmy Desana and Dan Flavin, September – October 2013
    St Ives, Tate St Ives, Artist Rooms: Dan Flavin, 23 May - 27 September 2015 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    Catherine Francblin, "Dan Flavin", Art Press, no. 116, July - August 1987, p. 80
    Maiten Bouisset, "L'Espace au neon de Dan Flavin", Beaux Arts, no. 90, May 1991, p. 73 (another example illustrated)
    Dan Flavin: The Architecture of Light, exh. cat.,Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1999, pp. 82-83 (another example illustrated)
    "Fluorescent Light Being Installed", Independent, London, 23 August 2001, p. 1 (another example illustrated)
    Frank Whitford, "New Lamps for Old," Sunday Times, London, 2 September 2001, Sec. 9, pp. 14-15 (another example illustrated)
    Catherine Croft, "Floor Show," World of Interiors, February 2004, p. 79 (another example illustrated)
    Michael Govan and Tiffany Bell, Dan Flavin The Complete Lights 1961-1996, New York, 2004, no. 487, p. 363 (illustrated diagram)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Untitled (to Don Judd colorist) 5 is a mesmeric light sculpture that perfectly encapsulates Dan Flavin’s practice. Created in 1987, it is also a touching dedication to his long-time friend and fellow Minimalist progenitor Donald Judd. Flavin exclusively used fluorescent lighting as a medium in his mature works, echoing the propensity for industrial, mass produced materials that characterised the influential sculptures and writings of preeminent artists such as Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt and of course Judd.

    By using fluorescent bulbs, Flavin extended the scope of his media beyond that of his contemporaries - light transcends the material constraints of physical substances, becoming an immaterial yet prevailing medium in itself that could saturate its environment and illuminate its audiences. This sculpture is liberated it from the materiality, gestures, symbols and allusions that demarcated the Abstract Expressionist and Surrealist movements of previous generations. Any wall on which Untitled (to Don Judd colorist) 5 is installed immediately dissolves into the effulgent aura of pink and green that emanates from the beaming light fittings, causing the work’s setting and substance to fuse as one. As the viewer approaches, they too become enveloped by the work’s lambent atmosphere, entering into it as both spectator and component. The bulbs themselves are arranged in a manner that introduces a rigid geometry to the composition, with the vertical green bars and cruciform pink atop them. However, the way that the light bleeds from one colour to the other between these forms disrupts this rigidity, as does the involvement of the viewer, blurring the boundaries of the artwork itself.

    In Untitled (to Don Judd colorist) 5, Flavin has used near-opposing pink and green; from these, he has also conjured a range of other colours, which occupy the in-between zones. The title indicates that colour was clearly on Flavin’s mind at the time, as it had been on Judd’s during this period. Throughout the 1980s, Judd had paid an increasing attention to the use of colour in his sculptures; indeed, one posthumous monograph was even entitled Donald Judd: Colorist. Here, Flavin appears to be referencing and responding to this shift in his friend’s works. ‘Color, like material, is what art is made from,’ Judd said. ‘It alone is not art’ (D. Judd, `Some Aspects of Color in General and Red and Black in Particular’ 1993, in D. Elger (ed.), Donald Judd: Colorist, exh.cat., Ostfildern-Ruit, 2000, pp. 110-14). In Untitled (to Don Judd colorist) 5, Flavin has demonstrated his own parallel perspective on the use of colour.

  • 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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Untitled (to Don Judd colorist) 5

pink and green flourescent tubes, metal fittings
133 x 122.9 x 10.2 cm (52 3/8 x 48 3/8 x 4 in.)
Executed in 1987, this work is number 2 from an intended edition of 5 of which only 3 were fabricated and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

£80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £118,750

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Henry Highley
Head of Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 5 October 2016