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  • Provenance

    Galerie Lelong, Paris; Galerie Jamileh Weber, Zurich

  • Literature

    Exhibition catalogue, Sprengel Museum Hannover and Kunsthaus Bregenz, Donald Judd Colorist, Hannover, 2000, p.63 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Johannes Itten wrote in 1916: ‘Form is also colour. Without colour there is no form. Form and colour are one.’ It never occurred to me to make a three dimensional work without colour. I took Itten’s premise, which I had not read, for granted … Colour is like material. It is one way or another, but it obdurately exists. Its existence as it is the main fact and not what it might mean, which may be nothing … Colour, like material, is what art is made from. It alone is not art. Itten confused the components for the whole. Other than the spectrum, there is no pure colour … I like the colour [red] and I like the quality of Cadmium Red Light. [It has] the right value for a three-dimensional object. If you paint something black or any dark colour, you can’t tell what its edges are like. If you paint it white, it seems small and purist. And the red, other than a gray of that value, seems to be the only colour that really makes an object sharp and defines its contours and angles.”
     
    (Donald Judd, ‘Some Aspects of Color in General and Red and Black in Particular’, 1993 and as cited in J. Coplans, Don Judd, Pasadena, 1971, p. 25).
     
    The present lot, Donald Judd’s Untitled (87-29 Studer), is one of his largest and most accomplished wall-mounted sculptures from the critically acclaimed Swiss Box series. Began in 1983, the series allowed Judd, a foremost artist of the Minimalist movement, a new-found exuberance as a colourist. Previously, his palette had been largely restricted to the colours of raw metals and Plexiglas, but with such works as Untitled (87-29 Studer) Judd started incorporating the brilliant hues of industrial paints in his sculptures treating colour formally as an object.
     
    In a manner reminiscent of his German peer Gerhard Richter, Judd chose his bright paint colours from the RAL Colour Chart, a standard industrial chart of commercial paint colours, and then applied the paint to his sculptures directly from its tin unaltered. While some modules of Untitled (87-29 Studer) are left as raw unpainted aluminium and others painted plain white or black, several interspersed modules are covered in Capri blue, golden yellow and traffic orange, lending the overall composition a certain poetic flow. The composition’s rhythmic beat is further enhanced by the alternating sizes of the open boxes screwed to one another recalling the classic grids of abstract colourist painter Piet Mondrian.
     
    “Judd’s interest in color is closely connected with his mention of ‘beauty’ as an attribute that could be used as a criterion in viewing his art. With the group of horizontal, sheet-aluminum wall pieces begun in 1983, where he uses a whole number of colors, this interest took on greater importance. Here color takes on a leading role, creative role. Judd used open aluminum boxes in different formats and screwed them together to create objects up to 450 cm in length. In addition he made a number of wall pieces – some high, some two-part. For this group, Judd chose exclusively boldly colored gloss paints, which were enameled into the material by means of a relatively complicated process. Where he had previously concentrated on a maximum of two colors, now he put together complex, strongly contrasting color combinations, generally in multiples of two (4, 6, 8 etc.). In doing so, he was careful to distribute the colors so that no adjacent units were in the same shade.”
     
    (D. Elger, ed., Donald Judd: Colorist, Ostfildern, 2000, p. 27).

  • Artist Biography

    Donald Judd

    American • 1928 - 1994

    Donald Judd came to critical acclaim in the 1960s with his deceptively 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, eschewing any trace of the artist’s hand. Though associated with the minimalist movement, Judd rejected the term and did not wish to confine his practice to this categorization. 

    After moving to Marfa in 1972, he began drawing plans for the Chinati Foundation, an exhibition space which opened in 1986 to showcase his objects as well as the work of other contemporary artists and is still operating today. In 2020, his revolutionary career was celebrated in a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. 

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30

Untitled (87-29 Studer)

1987
Painted and unpainted aluminium in two parts.
Each: 30 x 360 x 30 cm. (11 13/16 x 141 3/4 x 11 13/16 in).
Stamped with signature, inscription, number and date ‘AG Donald Judd 87-29 A und B STUDER’ on the reverse of each unit.

Estimate
£600,000 - 800,000 

Sold for £735,650

Contemporary Art Evening

12 Feb 2010
London