Donald Judd - Contemporary Art Part I New York Thursday, May 17, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Leo Castelli Gallery, New York; Dayton’s Gallery 12, Minneapolis; Collection Jane Holzer, New York; Collection Armand Bartos, New York; Collection Jan Eric Lowenadler, New York; Private collection, Los Angeles

  • Literature

    D. Del Balso, R. Smith, and B. Smith, Donald Judd Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings and Objects, 1960-1974, Ottawa, 1975, cat. no. 162, p. 186

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1964 Donald Judd abandoned painting for the minimalist free-standing and wall relief sculptures that served as devoted subject during his artistic career. The present lot, Untitled from 1969 takes its form from a work Judd first designed in 1965 which served as his prototype for the galvanized metal box with ninety degree edges. This simple rectangle, standing projected from the wall-mounted display and rendered in differing soft metal alloys, influenced his artwork in countless ways. For the artist made certain claims to his artwork, many of which have been published as statements of critical theory, and confronted the limits traditional painting has in capturing the essence of the rectangular shape, thereby justifying his departure from painting to the medium of sculpture.

    Describing these implications, Judd wrote, “The main thing wrong with painting is that it is a rectangular plane placed flat against the wall. A rectangle is a shape itself; it is obviously the whole shape; it determines and limits the arrangement of whatever is on or inside of it. In work before 1946 the edges of the rectangle are a boundary, the end of the picture. The composition must react to the edges and the rectangle must be unified, but the shape of the rectangle is not stressed; the parts are more important, and the relationships of color and form occur among them. In the paintings of Pollock, Rothko, Still and Newman, and more recently of Reinhardt and Noland, the rectangle is emphasized. The elements inside the rectangle are broad and simple and correspond closely to the rectangle. The shapes and surface are only those which can occur plausibly within and on a rectangular plane. The parts are few and so subordinate to the unity as not to be parts in an ordinary sense. A painting is nearly an entity, one thing, and not the indefinable sum of a group of entities and references. The one thing overpowers the earlier painting. It also establishes the rectangle as a definite form: it is no longer a fairly neutral limit. A form can be used only in so many ways. The rectangular plane is given a life span. The simplicity required to emphasize the rectangle limits the arrangements possible within it. The sense of singleness also has duration, but it is only beginning and has a better future outside of painting.” (D. Judd, “Specific Objects”, Complete Writings 1959-1975, Halifax, 1975).

  • Artist Biography

    Donald Judd

    American • 1928 - 1994

    Donald Judd came to critical acclaim in the 1960s with his simple, yet revolutionary, three-dimensional floor and wall objects made from new industrial materials, such as anodized aluminum, plywood and Plexiglas, which had no precedent in the visual arts. His oeuvre is characterized by the central constitutive elements of color, material and space. Rejecting the illusionism of painting and seeking an aesthetic freed from metaphorical associations, Judd sought to explore the relationship between art object, viewer and surrounding space with his so-called "specific objects." From the outset of his three-decade-long career, Judd delegated the fabrication to specialized technicians. Though associated with the minimalist movement, Judd did not wish to confine his practice to this categorization.


    Inspired by architecture, the artist also designed and produced his own furniture, predominantly in wood, and eventually hired a diverse team of carpenters late in his career.

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6 x 27 x 24 in. (15.2 x 68.6 x 61 cm).
This work is from an edition of three.

$500,000 - 600,000 

Sold for $432,000

Contemporary Art Part I

17 May 2007
7pm New York